Yale, IARU schools to offer summer study abroad

Yale is among a consortium of 10 internationally renowned research universities that will be opening their doors to students at member schools for intensive summer study-abroad programs, the Yale Summer Session office announced this week.

The participating institutions in the International Alliance of Research Universities have launched a “Global Summer Program” exchange to allow their students to take specialized summer classes concentrating on global leadership. The courses, which in several cases were designed specifically for the program, will be open only to students at the 10 IARU universities, Summer Session Director and Yale College Assistant Dean William Whobrey said.

“What makes this unique is that it’s an attempt to organize and provide students with the opportunity to study in places they wouldn’t study at otherwise and in ways they wouldn’t study in otherwise,” he said.

Of the 10 IARU members, only six — the Australian National University, the National University of Singapore, Cambridge University, Oxford University, the University of Tokyo and Yale — will offer courses this summer. The other four — ETH Zurich, Peking University, the University of California Berkeley and the University of Copenhagen — will offer courses starting next summer, Whobrey said.

Right now, around 50 spaces in total are available for Yale undergraduate in the 15 Global Summer courses offered this summer, Whobrey said.

Available courses range from “Sustainability Down Under” at the Australian National University to “History, Politics and Global Leadership” at Oxford. Yale will be offering “Moral Foundations of Politics,” taught by political science professor Ian Shapiro, in New Haven.

In addition to the basic coursework, students on the program will have the opportunity to go on field trips in the area and take part in group activities. The “Southeast Asia in Context” course offered at the National University of Singapore, for example, features a week-long trip to Thailand and Cambodia.

“These are courses that the students may or may not be able to take at Yale,” Whobrey said. “But combined with the extracurricular emphasis on leadership and travel, they’re something more than just a course you would take at another university.”

The courses, which will all be taught in English, will be kept to a relatively small size, Whobrey said, and students will be housed on campus. Yale, for example, is capping its course at 20 students, with two spaces available for students at each of the 10 participating institutions.

Several of the universities — such as Oxford and Cambridge — have specifically created their courses for the global summer program because they do not have institutionalized “summer-session” programs, Whobrey said.

Although many of the courses are not cheap — tuition, room and board for the Oxford course comes to about $6,000 — Yale students on financial aid may apply an International Summer Award toward the program’s costs. Yale is also providing full tuition scholarships to all the students selected to participate in the University’s summer course, although students will still have to pay for their own housing.

Most of the global summer-program courses are not guaranteed to provide Yale credit, Whobrey said. Although the Yale and Singapore programs have been preapproved for Yale credit, he said, students enrolled in the other courses must individually petition the appropriate director of undergraduate studies or the International Education and Fellowship Programs office.

Natasha Lall ’09, who has applied for the “Southeast Asia in Context” course at the National University of Singapore, said she hopes to use the experience to understand what college life is like in Asia while using her ISA to offset the cost.

Most of the half-dozen students interviewed said the courses sounded intriguing, but many others said they had already made summer plans. Still, most said they would look into the program for subsequent summers.

“I might be interested in taking them in the future,” said Jaymie Potteiger ’09, who added she would be particularly drawn to any courses focusing on the global aspects of public health.

But Kiersten Tyler ’08 said the costs of many programs could prevent students from considering them, especially given that the prices quoted on the IARU’s Web site do not include figures for international flights.

“The cost would be prohibitive,” she said. “It’s kind of expensive, because flying is so expensive. Plus, you have to pay for the program.”

Yale is a founding member of the IARU, which was formed two years ago to promote collaboration among some of the world’s leading research universities.

As part of the partnership, the University has offered office space to any member institution that wishes to send a representative to Yale. Last month, the University of Copenhagen — the third university in the alliance to take Yale up on its offer — opened an office on campus.

The deadline for applications to all global summer programs is March 25.

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