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Summer sojourns abroad offer semester alternative

Photo by Bailey Berg, staff photographer

Drake University prides itself on its ability to send students overseas and now two new opportunities are being added to that repertoire. The first is a chance for students to immerse themselves in the art of Florence, Italy, while the second is an opportunity to live with a family in Madrid, Spain.

Like other summer programs, the trips are directed by faculty and allow students to travel while earning course credit. The trips to Italy and Spain join the list of other summer study seminar programs with destinations of Egypt, Uganda, South Africa and China.

According to the Drake study abroad website, the trip to Florence, Italy is a “five-week course, based on an integration of studio art and graphic design, will explore the visualization of information and narrative and how it applies to human experience.” Students will take a mapping course through Drake, as well as an art class through the Studio Arts Center International.

Professor Benjamin Gardner, assistant professor of art and design, will be accompanying the students on this trip overseas.

“I think that being somewhere other than what you know is a tremendous opportunity for students, and the format of my class deals directly with how students process being abroad and how they experience an entirely new culture and region of the world,” Gardner said.  “Even in a place like Florence, one that I would argue people think they have an idea about, or understand in some ways — already -— there are lots of unexpected adventures that can take place, new ways of living and many things to explore.”

The second trip to Madrid, Spain will be lead by professor Brian Adams-Thies, an assistant professor of anthropology. The trip is a six-week trip that allows students to live with Spanish families and visit Barcelona, Sitges and Sevilla. While traveling, students will be completing a six-credit course called “Social Space and Social Life in Spain.”

Gardner discussed why he believes students should study abroad.

“Students will learn new ways of reflecting on their experiences and not be afraid to take chances, visit new places and see the value in visualizing or verbalizing their reactions and thoughts.  I also hope that the class sticks with students long after they’ve graduated,” Gardner said. “An international study seminar also changes how a student looks at the world.”

Sophomore Hannah Powers plans on going abroad in the near future.

“I have always loved traveling, and both my parents say that their biggest regret in college was that they never studied abroad,” Powers said.

Interested in going abroad? You can learn more about these opportunities and others by visiting http://www.drake.edu/international/study-abroad/. If you have further questions about study abroad options, contact Jen Hogan at jen.hogan@drake.edu.


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