A different kind of summer school

By Lauren Kelly

Every year, Columbia has many opportunities for students to increase their global awareness by traveling to different countries through study abroad programs. This summer, there are three main international programs, sponsored by the Office of Academic Initiatives and International Programs.

The largest program, which takes place June 25 to July 25 in Florence, Italy, offers six classes from different departments through the Lorenzo de’ Medici school.

Students are encouraged to take two classes in the program, worth a combined six to seven credit hours. The courses offered include: Travel Writing; Cinematic Art in the Land of Leonardo; Language, Culture & Education; Fiction Seminar; Fashion in the Built Environment; and Italian Art, Literature and Music.

Journalism Department faculty member Teresa Puente, who will be teaching the Travel Writing class, said students in the course will create a travel blog detailing their trip, to act as a guide for other potential college travelers interested in exploring the city.

“It’s an opportunity for students to actually do travel writing,” she said.

A class with a different approach to international study-Language, Culture and Education-will take a sociological view of education and how cultural norms and visual culture relate to schooling methods, said Angela Fowler, instructor and Early Childhood Education coordinator.

Fowler said Florence was a good setting for her class in particular.

“Italy was a natural choice for us when it came to study abroad because the approach we have in the Early Childhood Education Department is based on an approach of education from Italy,” she said.

In recent years, Columbia’s study abroad programs have expanded and now include trips to more countries and provide opportunities for students of many different majors.

The study abroad program “challenges your thinking,” said Gillian Moore, executive director of International Programs. “Many students who have returned from being away say its one of the best experiences of their entire education. It’s very important for an artist or someone working in the media to be able to express themselves and expand their thoughts and be able to discuss their work with other


Moore said the office of Academic Initiatives and International Programs has cultivated relationships with many arts and media institutions throughout the world to provide opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, collaborative projects and joint symposia. Cities with established partnerships include Dublin, London, Paris, Florence and Shanghai. Other relationships are starting to be developed in cities such as Sydney, Haifa, Israel and Lucerne, Switzerland.

A second program, to take place in Prague, is a collaboration between the Fiction Writing and Marketing Communication departments. The trip, now in its ninth year, consists of two sessions offered for students: one starting in late May, the other in July. Registration for the second program is still open for students, who don’t have to be studying fiction or marketing to apply.

Liz Yokas, fiction writing coordinator for the trip to Prague, said students are encouraged to take independent day trips to explore the city and experience the culture. She said the backdrop of Prague provides an interesting setting to study fiction because of the many famous writers that have been centered in the city, namely Franz Kafka.

The third main program, sponsored by the Arts, Entertainment and Media Management Department, will be held in Cannes, France. Students will explore international music business and marketing in the summer program and will attend MIDEM, the world’s largest international music market. Students will research the international music market and different companies who attend MIDEM.

In addition to the Columbia-sponsored trips, there is an Independent Study Abroad program in which many students participate that is provided through external organizations. Students are able to transfer credits earned through this program to apply toward their degree.

For more information on summer Study Abroad programs, visit Colum.edu/Admini strative_offices/Academic_Initiatives.