Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs 2020

Many School of World Studies students and alumni describe studying abroad as one of their most exciting and influential college experiences. Studying abroad will help you gain a greater degree of intercultural understanding, a higher level of foreign language proficiency and a competitive edge in an increasingly globalized market. The global and international focus of the School of World Studies is ideally suited to and enhanced by studying abroad.

With many study, intern and research abroad choices available, it's easier than ever to pick an experience abroad best suited to your degree at an affordable price with the help of scholarships. To determine which study abroad options will work with your academic goals refer to your major advising sheet. Speak with your SWS academic adviser and VCU’s Education Abroad Office. Study Abroad First Advising Sessions (FAS) are at 12:30 p.m., Monday - Friday, no appointment needed.

School of World Studies has several faculty-led study abroad programs listed below; all have an application deadline of March 2, 2020.


Italian Language and Culture in Perugia: A Taste of Italy

In conjunction with the Università per Stranieri di Perugia, Italy, this innovative summer study abroad program offers an exceptional opportunity to immerse yourself in Italian language and culture. Participants gain classroom language instruction from Italian natives, as well as a lectures, cooking classes, tours, weekend excursions and traditional Italian activities.

Paleoanthropology and the Legacy of Human Evolution: Johannesburg, South Africa

This is a unique opportunity for students to engage with and experience South African natural, evolutionary and social history. Students will work to excavate a paleoanthropological site in the cradle of humankind in order to truly grasp the influences that have shaped the people and cultures living there today.

Spanish Language in Cuernavaca: Cuernavaca, Mexico

An intensive four week program on Spanish language, culture, literature, topics and business courses in Mexico in conjunction with the native Spanish instructors and associate professors at Universidad Internacional in the spectacular city of Cuernavaca. There are excursions on weekends to historical and interesting sites such as Teotihuacan pyramids, Cacamahuilpa caverns, Mexico City, etc.

Vienna, Austria: Language and Culture

In conjunction with the Universität Wien Sprachenzentrum (University of Vienna Language Center), this intensive German language and Austrian cultural immersion opportunity takes place in iconic Vienna, Austria. Several day trips and a cultural activities are included.

Lebanon: Media, Politics and Culture

Offered on the campus of Lebanese American University (LAU), this summer program immerses students in Beirut’s traditional and pop culture while exploring issues of social justice. Students will volunteer with NGOs and refugee camps as well as visit LAU’s second campus in Byblos, an ancient seaport. Please note that Lebanon currently has a State Department Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory.

Excavating Tel Hazor, Israel

Archaeological field school opportunity outside of Jerusalem, Israel. Students explore firsthand the history of the Middle and Late Bronze ages (approx. 2000-1550 BCE) of ancient Israel through field archaeology, lab work, supplemental classroom lectures and regional tours to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and more. The goal of the excavation is to understand the relationship between domestic and urban archaeology, especially as it relates to Canaanite city gates and Egyptian and Mesopotamian influences.

Please note that there is a current U.S. State Department travel warning for Israel.

Guatemala: Contemporary Issues Facing Indigenous Religions in a Neo-Colonial Context

This program will explore the interaction between the Indigenous world view and Christianity in a colonial and neo-colonial context. Critical questions will be examined concerning the impact of European world views and the Indigenous historical response. Contemporary service-learning, mission and international development will be analyzed with local Indigenous experts sharing their perspectives on best practices. Students will participate in both hands-on public health infrastructure projects in partnership with rural Indigenous Maya communities and hear lectures from leading Indigenous intellectuals and human rights activists. We will be travelling with an NGO that was founded by a Maya woman and her husband who have spent years cultivating relationships with other Maya activists and will have the opportunity to dialogue with professors from other universities who will be there on their own listening tour.

Spain: Spanish Language and Migration Studies on the Camino de Santiago

This program will highlight the historical and cultural heritage of the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), the famous pilgrimage route that for centuries has brought people from all over the world into contact and shaped modern Spain as we know it. It will also explore the present day dynamics of growing immigration. Based in charming Logrono, capital of Spain's wine country and a major stop along the Camino, the program offers morning Spanish language classes at the University of La Rioja and afternoon lectures, site visits and even two short hikes along the Camino. Most of the lectures will be delivered by the program director, Professor R. McKenna Brown. Other lectures will be given by the faculty from the University of La Rioja and other institutions depending on availability. The program starts with three days in Spain's exciting capital, Madrid, to visit museums and other cultural sites and social projects. Weekend options within two hours travel include Pamplona for the running of the bulls, the beaches of Saint Sebastian, bustling Bilbao and lively Biarritz, France.

Italy: VCU at The Sant'Anna Institute

The program offers an exceptional opportunity to take classes in a wide range of academic disciplines, all taught in English or Italian, while living in historic Sorrento, Italy. Sant’Anna’s academic building overlooks the picturesque Bay of Naples on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, allowing students to experience the unique culture and customs of southern Italy in a walkable, cosmopolitan setting. You can get a sense for what life in Sorrento is like by checking out Sant'Anna's YouTube channel.

VCU will have three faculty teaching classes at Sant'Anna throughout the summer 2020: Daphne Rankin, associate vice provost for strategic enrollment, will teach SOCS 340: Human Sexuality, Sydney Conrad, assistant professor of Italian and international studies, will teach INTL/WRLD 203: Transnational Migration, and Zachary Hilpert, interim director of interdisciplinary studies, will teach UNIV 391 Special Topics: American Science Fiction Futuring.