COLA Connections Newsletter: Summer 2017

Faculty-Led Study Abroad Trips in 2017

Many students come to RIT with the desire to participate in a study abroad experience.  In addition to RIT’s international campuses in Dubai, Kosovo, Croatia and China, students have the ability to travel the world as part of a Faculty-Led Study Abroad program.  These faculty-led programs allow students to travel as part of an RIT group, receive RIT academic credit, and study a particular topic or theme.

Professors Trent Hergenrader & Sandy Baldwin- Portugal

Professor Hergenrader is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English. He teaches a variety of creative writing classes, including Worldbuilding and Game-Based Fiction, as well as courses in literature and media studies. Dr. Hergenrader, along with Dr. Sandy Baldwin, Associate Professor of English, will lead a study abroad class to Portugal in July for a six-credit experience where students take two courses: Digital Literature and Worldbuilding. Students will attend the Electronic Literature Organization’s annual conference and serve as docents for the electronic literature exhibit. Dr. Hergenrader says, “This is a very unique opportunity to work one-on-one with digital artists and participate in an established global conference.” For the Worldbuilding course, students will choose a fictional genre—it could be steampunk, cyberpunk, zombie apocalypse, or whatever they choose—and create a fictional version of Porto. The course requires them to do some urban exploring to find unique and interesting places that can be brought into their fiction. The students will then write short stories set in that alternate Porto which will reflect the locations, history, and culture unique to the city.

Dr. Hergenrader adds, “Overall students should come with an open mind and expect to have a life changing experience. Both of the courses really establish the importance of seeing the world from different perspectives, and it’s a unique opportunity for students to experience this first-hand in a foreign country with its own rich and fascinating history.” Dr. Baldwin adds, “Most people who travel to Europe will go to Paris, Rome, Berlin, or another big city. Portugal is a bit off the beaten path. We’ll be there for a month, which gives students some time to really settle in and get to know the local scene, like finding their favorite place to grab an espresso and learn the rhythms of a different culture.”

 Professor Stephanie Godlinski – Croatia

Dr. Godlinski is an Assistant Professor of Psychology who teaches classes in developmental and abnormal psychology along with research methods and statistics. She is leading the Summer Psychology in Croatia program which comprises of two classes: Positive Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. While in Croatia, students will visit labs and conduct research. In addition, students will go on a weeklong trip to visit other major cities in Eastern Europe such as Vienna, Austria and Munich, Germany.

 “The program allows students to be able to see a really interesting perspective by being in another country, as well as being able to take two particularly interesting classes that can be applied towards their Psychology Immersion,” Dr. Godlinski says. This helps students not only gain a broader perspective on the history of psychology, which has roots in Eastern Europe, but also learn about the kinds of research conducted in different countries. Students will have the opportunity to take classes with a psychologist who did clinical work in Croatia, demonstrating the practical applications of psychology in another country. Outside of the classroom, students will have long weekends and be able to travel, not only around RIT’s campus in Zagreb but also to the campus in Dubrovnik. Students will be staying in the heart of Zagreb, the capital of city of Croatia, which houses several museums at a walking distance, including the famous Museum of Break-Ups.

Professor Jessica Lieberman – Ecuador, Cuba and Jamaica

Dr. Lieberman is a professor of Visual Culture in the College of Liberal Arts. Professor Lieberman is leading a multi-pronged Arts, Media and Technology study abroad program. It started with a semester long summer course in Sweden, and will continue with a study abroad program in Ecuador in the summer of 2018, and a two two-week programs in Cuba and Jamaica, which are currently being created. The two-week courses will be part of a Fall semester class and will take place prior to the beginning of the semester whereas the summer courses are standalone. These classes count for multiple minors, general Education credits and Honors credit. The courses are open to any interested students and have no prerequisites. Professor Lieberman’s course is entirely field trip based and is an exploration of space and place. Students will keep a blog during the trip that serves as a travelogue and a critical analysis of their trip. Dr. Lieberman says, “What’s different about our programs is that we do them co-curricularly, which means our courses count for credit not only at RIT but also at the universities abroad. Half the class is our students and the other half is theirs, so it is a full immersive co-curricular experience.” The Cuba program, due to political reasons, cannot be fully co-curricular; however, professor Lieberman is working with faculty there who are allowed to make it a part of their class. This is one of RIT’s first study abroad programs to Cuba that partners with the universities there and creates a fully immersive experience.  Dr. Lieberman says that curriculum-wise, this Cuba trip is truly groundbreaking.

In order for the trip to be fully immersive, students will live with a host family. While in Ecuador, students will start in Quito, but travel to indigenous communities and to the Galapagos. While in Cuba, students will stay in Casa Particulars, which are the Cuban versions of Bed & Breakfasts, with a host family in Havana. There is also a trip to the city of Trinidad, which according to Dr. Lieberman is one of the most incredible cities in the world. Dr. Lieberman’s fully immersive co-curricular program allows students be part of the culture they are learning about. This program “will provide students a sophisticated understanding of how their own work applies in a global market place. The only qualification for these programs is that you have to be outdoors and ready for exploration.”