Wade Spees // The Post and Courier

Chernor Sulaiman Bah will be one of the first graduates of the College of Charleston’s fast-growing international studies program.

The first two international studies majors will graduate Saturday from the College of Charleston.

Ninety-two students have selected international studies as their major, making it the fastest-growing major at the college, Director Doug Friedman said. The new program was launched at the start of the school year.

Students today know they will need to compete on the international level, Friedman said. "More students these days are looking outward rather than just inward, the way Americans used to."

Even though the program is new, a variety of courses from various disciplines count toward the major, which is why the two students already are graduating Saturday.

The two international studies students are among thousands who will graduate from area colleges and universities this weekend. In addition to the College of Charleston, Trident Technical College, South Carolina State University, The Citadel,

Charleston Southern University and the American College of the Building Arts are holding commencement ceremonies.

Chernor Sulaiman Bah, 26, will graduate from the College of Charleston with a double major in international studies and political science. And in July, he will complete the registered nursing program at Trident Technical College. Bah was born in Liberia, and has studied in Morocco.

He plans eventually to attend law school, then work for an international organization focusing on health or international law.

The international studies program gave him knowledge and insight into other cultures, he said, and it blended well with political science courses.

"The professors have diversity in their ways of thinking," he said. And they are open-minded so they can teach about beliefs that are not part of mainstream America.

Hudson Hamrick, the other student graduating in international studies, said he's always been interested in travel and other cultures. The new major gave him the opportunity to take courses from several different disciplines, he said. He likes variety, and also will graduate with a major in art history and a minor in Japanese studies.

Hamrick has lived and studied in Mexico and Japan, and plans to spend time working on organic farms in China and Thailand after he graduates.

Friedman said the major requires students to study a foreign language for three years. It also has a study-abroad requirement. Students who enroll tend to be some of the best students with high grade-point averages, he said.

And new students are enrolling at the college specifically because they can major in international studies, he said. He knew the major would grow over time, but didn't expect the growth to be so rapid. "It was quite shocking actually," he said.