Foreign study programs began in 1932 with “Junior Year Abroad,” which offered students interested in French or German language and literature an opportunity to spend the third undergraduate year studying in Paris or Munich under the auspices of an American Director. The program ended with the advent of World War II. In the mid-1960s Brown, as a member of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, allowed students to spend their junior year at the Center, which was staffed by classical philologists from cooperating institutions.
Professor Duncan Smith negotiated Brown’s first formal foreign study exchange. The German Exchange Program began on September 14, 1979 when President Swearer and Wolfgang Brauer, rector of William Pieck University in Rostock in the German Democratic Republic, signed an agreement establishing the first scholarly exchange between an American and an East German university. In 1971 an agreement had been made to exchange books and periodicals. The agreement for exchange of faculty and students came after eight years of negotiation between Professor Duncan Smith and the officers of William Pieck University. Duncan Smith had been a visiting professor at William Pieck and Hans-Joachim Bernard of that university had come to Brown in the spring of 1978. In 1982 the University entered into a formal agreement with Nanjing University in China for the exchange of faculty and students. The University presently sponsors Brown Abroad Programs in Barbados, Brazil, Britain, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Sweden, and Tanzania.