New international programs aimed at all majors

by David A. Bumpus / Beacon Staff • February 12, 2015

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Jerry Lanson Addressed Students at the France info session in Common Ground, Walker building
Jerry Lanson Addressed Students at the France info session in Common Ground, Walker building

Emerson is introducing five new faculty-led international programs this year in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Greece, and Mexico, creating the largest number of international opportunities for students ever offered at Emerson.

 The five new programs were all proposed and organized by faculty members since last March, and will bring the total number of international programs at Emerson to 13.

 Anthony Pinder, assistant vice president for academic affairs for internationalization and global engagement, said when he came to Emerson last March, he noticed that there was no process in place for expanding Emerson’s international programs.

“We had no real vision about where we wanted to be in the world or where we wanted to expose our students to,” Pinder said.

Pinder said he and the Office of Academic Affairs put together a process for faculty interested in leading study abroad programs to apply and have the office review their proposed programs.

Pinder said after about six months, he was pleased with all of the proposals that the faculty had created. He said next year, he hopes to double the amount of trips open to Emerson students.

“We want to have a broad array of programs trying to appeal to as diverse, and as many of, Emerson students as we can,” Pinder said.

Jerry Lanson, associate professor of journalism and associate chair of the journalism department, is the faculty director of the trip to France, and will be leading students to Aix-en-Provence to learn the French language and culture.

Lanson has completed two sabbaticals in Aix-en-Provence and said he wanted to find a way to expose students to the culture of the city. 

“It’s a wonderful, vibrant, lively city. It’s got 140,000 people. It has history, movies, libraries, parks, cafes, markets seven days a week,” Lanson said. “It’s a wonderful cultural center.” 

Lanson wanted to use a short two-week schedule for his trip to create a more intensive learning environment.

 “College is too often defined by being in a building, sitting in a seat, and taking a course for fourteen weeks,” Lanson said. “Sometimes I think that students can get a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience by doing something intensively over two or three weeks.”

Pinder said that many students at Emerson don’t study abroad because they are either trying to take classes at the Boston campus or they have job responsibilities and can’t go away for a whole semester or summer.

“We wanted to be consistent with the trend of education abroad across the country in that shorter term programs are increasingly more appealing among college students across the country,” Pinder said. 

The students in Lanson’s course will be matched with families in France, where they will live for the two weeks in Aix-en-Provence, and will be doing a mix of classroom work and field trips while they are in the city. 

“It’s an exciting way to learn, because you’re really part of the culture,” Lanson said. “It’s a way of learning a language and a culture that is very different from getting your French textbook and doing the exercises in the back.” 

IS Aix-en-Provence, a school in the city, will provide the classrooms and teachers for the classwork. Lanson said he will grade the students’ written work and teach them about the city and its different cultural places of interest. 

Lanson said his course is open to any students interested in learning about the language and culture of France, and not geared toward one major. Students must have some experience speaking French, and Lanson said the course will fulfill the participants’ Global Perspective requirement toward their degrees. 

 Most of the new trips are open to all majors, Pinder said, except the Netherlands trip, which focuses on Anne Frank and Dutch writing, and is geared toward writing, literature, and publishing majors.