Resources and Programs > Experiential Learning
Experience--the first line on your resume: The Four Pillars at Holy Cross
Experience is what employers want most. It forms moral character and imagination. It develops self-confidence, courage, and leadership. It is what stays in your memory long after theorems, equations, and memorized facts have faded away. Holy Cross is unique in that, in order to graduate with a four-year degree, every student must complete our special experiential program that we call The Four Pillars.
Pillar One -- The Service Learning Experience:
You might build a home for a family displaced by a storm, distribute food baskets at Thanksgiving, teach literacy on an Indian Reservation in Montana, or teach children at an orphanage how to play basketball. Every Holy Cross graduate has a story to tell about how much they did to improve someone's life in their volunteer work, and how much more they gained from these emotionally moving, remarkable experiences.
Pillar Two -- The Global Experience:
Where in the world will you find yourself as a Holy Cross student? Following the footsteps of thousands of slaves in coastal towns of Elmina and Cape Coast in Ghana? Riding the rails of India's infamous train system? Climbing the ruins in the Sacred Valley of Incas in Peru? Wandering the rainforests of the Amazon in Brazil? Ask anyone who has taken one of these excursions and they'll tell amazing stories of their adventures living and working alongside the Brothers of Holy Cross in remote villages and major urban areas. It all begins with a four-credit global perspectives sequence that will give you a chance to explore the complexity of global issues locally and abroad, and ends with a short experience with an international community in the United States. More global perspectives experiences are a part of the Through the Eyes of Faith programs that are open to students through a competitive application process. Opportunities with other faculty-led short-term study abroad programs are available as well as semester study abroad programs in partnership with Saint Mary's College.
Pillar Three -- The Professional Internship:
Through the Lilly Center for Discernment and Preparation, every Holy Cross student takes a future career for a "test drive" before they graduate. Our students have been placed in Washington DC as congressional aids, in large hospitals as health-care assistants in multi-national corporations as marketing assistants, and in television stations as assistant producers. There is no better way to demonstrate your employability than to prove yourself in the real world.
Pillar Four -- The Capstone Presentation:
What have I learned? How have my experiences changed me? Where will I be going in life? These are some of the questions Holy Cross seniors explain to their audiences as they present the Holy Cross experience in their own 45-minute multi-media presentation. The Capstone may take many forms and include the topics of your choice. Listening to your experiences, your audience may be moved to tears, laughter, and every emotion in between, but when you have finished presenting yourself to an audience of peers, faculty, community business leaders, and family, you will know that you are fully prepared for graduation and your next step in life.