With the institution of a new pilot program, students hoping to gain Yale credits during the summer may be able to venture outside the Elm City.
Based on the success of the three summer courses taught abroad last year — intermediate Kiswahili in Mombasa, Kenya; tropical field ecology in Jalisco, Mexico; and the music of Schoenberg in Moedling, Austria — the University will offer three more classes this summer in international settings. The new courses include advanced French in Paris, all levels of Russian in St. Petersburg, and a course in Berlin on the city’s history and culture.
“Yale students have always been interested in summer programs abroad, so we wanted to offer something unique,” Director of Summer Programs William Whobrey said. “These are Yale classes, offered by Yale University in an international setting. They offer opportunities that would not be possible during the school year.”
The courses, all taught and designed by Yale faculty, will range from four to eight weeks in length. Tuition, at $1600 per credit, will be the same as for all other summer courses. Students will be responsible for transportation and housing, although the summer programs office does make housing recommendations.
The policy for financial aid will also be the same as other Yale summer classes, Whobrey said. Students who demonstrate financial need will be able to apply for a scholarship that cuts tuition in half. Last year, the summer programs office distributed $169,700 among approximately 200 students.
German professor Cyrus Hamlin, who will teach the Berlin course this summer, said cost should not be an issue for students.
“I don’t think there is much extra cost,” Hamlin said. “Tuition and cost of living would be no more than being in New Haven. I think the really important point here is the concept of having courses taught abroad count for Yale credit. That’s something brand-new.”
Anthony Ramirez ’04, who is deciding whether to study Chinese in Taiwan or Russian in St. Petersburg this summer, said credit will be a significant factor in his decision.
“The fact that I get credit [by going to Russia] is a big advantage over going to Taiwan,” Ramirez said. “In Taiwan, it’s difficult to get credit because they evaluate you on a different scale. But with Russia, my credits transfer directly.”
Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead said the combination of Yale academics and an international setting could provide students with a rewarding experience.
“It’s quite interesting because when you learn a language for one hour a day, your opportunities for improvement outside the classroom are limited,” Brodhead said. “But if you could connect the academic study of a language with the daily experience of being in that country, you could learn the language in a much more real way.”
The Schoenberg class, for example, will be taught in the Arnold Schoenberg Center, which occupies the composer’s former house. Music professor Allen Forte, who taught the class last summer, said such cultural amenities are central to the program.
“We were right on the spot where some of the music was composed, so that created a really interesting atmosphere,” Forte said. “And right near the house was one of the paths where Beethoven used to take walks. So [the program] has lots of historical value.”
The Paris program, which focuses on current events, will use many different forms of French media, including newspapers, magazines and television programs, French professor Francoise Jaouen said.
“It’ll be a hands-on approach to the study of language and culture,” Jaouen said. “The idea is to have students develop an idea of the subtle cultural differences, since Western Europe and the U.S. are very similar. That’s something that might be a little hard to achieve at Yale.”
Whobrey said he hopes to expand the program next year, although there are no concrete plans yet.
“We’re starting small, but we hope that in the future, other departments will be interested in offering similar opportunities,” Whobrey said. “We’re interested in expanding the selection, but we’re not interested in establishing a summer program.”