Columbia College Chicago

Faculty-led Programs

Many academic departments at Columbia have created study abroad and domestic off-campus programs that offer courses within their concentrations. These programs usually run in the J-session and summer and are open to all Columbia students. To find out more about these programs, reference the information below and contact the program managers directly.


Writing Abroad: Paris

Writing Abroad | 55-4413J | 3 credits
Writing Abroad | 55-5413J | 3 credits

While exploring the work of writers such as Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, Gertrude Stein, David Sedaris and others, and through deep interaction with the city of Paris and its rich literary heritage, students have the opportunity to experience firsthand life as a creative writer abroad, to see their work in the context of other writers’ works, and to examine the personal and social contexts for creativity. Class time and specific writing assignments will be supplemented by cultural field trips exploring the literary history of Paris.

Site visits: include a city tour and walking tour of Hemingway's Paris, including lunch at a literary cafe, a trip to the famous Pere LeChaise cemetery (final resting place of Jim Morrison, Balzac, Colette, Richard Wright, Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde and many more), a visit to the Carnavalet museum of Paris history and Victor Hugo’s house, and a jazz club outing.

Dates: January 4-18, 2015
Instructor/Contact: Kathie Bergquist, Philip Hartigan

Mexican Culture and the Arts

Mexican Culture and Arts: Study in Mexico | 51-1390 | 3 credits | GA HU
Spanish levels I-IV and Spanish for Heritage Speakers | 4 credits

Mexican Culture and Arts: Study in Mexico is an interdisciplinary humanities course in the rich and diverse contribution of the art, music and literature and film of Mexico, to be held in Cuernavaca at the Kukulkan Educational Community. The arts of Mexico have been acknowledged worldwide, and Cuernavaca, located one and one half hours from Mexico City with its many museums, provides an ideal setting for fostering an appreciation of Mexican history, literature, music, dance, folklore and film. Students will learn the terminology essential to describe, interpret, and explain these arts in the context of Mexican culture and will enrich their cultural knowledge through living with host families.  You do not need to know Spanish to take part in this program.  If you choose to take Spanish ,you will be placed at the appropriate level after you take a placement test on-line and an oral test on arrival.

Dates: January 4-24, 2015
Instructors/Contacts: RoseAnna Mueller and faculty from the Kukulcan Spanish Educational Community
Additional Contact:  Oscar Valdez

Writing Abroad: Rome
Topics in Writing Abroad: Rome | 59-4150J (undergrad) | 3 credits
Topics in Writing Abroad: Rome | 59-5150J (graduate) | 3 credits

This J-session course offers an intensive two-week immersion in Rome's literature, art, history, and culture. Students read fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by noted authors; visit major sites, including the Colosseum, Vatican, Roman Forum, Pompeii, churches, museums and places associated with noted authors; and participate in writing workshops at Lorenzo d' Medici.  Journal entries and reading responses lead to an extended story, essay, or digital project, which may be done in collaboration with students from the Business and Entrepreneurship Department. The course applies to the spring schedule and is open to all students.  It also counts for Global Awareness credit.

Dates: January 5-16, 2015
Instructor/Contact: Randy Albers

Rome Studies: Exhibition Management

Special Topics: Exhibition Management: International Perspectives | 28-4178J (undergrad) | 3 credits
Special Topics: Exhibition Management: International Perspectives | 28-5178J (grad) | 3 credits

In this J-session, students spend two weeks in Rome, Italy, investigating exhibitions and cultural sites in and around Rome. Through first-hand observation, research, and reflection, students analyze differing approaches to curatorial direction, exhibition design and production, interpretative methodologies, use of technology, and marketing and communication strategies. Particular attention is paid to developing exhibitions for multinational, multicultural, and multilingual audiences as well as similarities and differences to American exhibition models.

Site visits include museums such as the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel, Capitoline Museum, Borghese, Gallery,the National Rome Museum; Macro: Museum of Contemporary Art; the Keats-Shelley Memorial House and cultural sites including the Roman Forum, Colosseum and Palatine Hill; Pompeii; Cinecitta film studio; churches and historic sites.

Dates: January 5-16, 2015
Instructor/Contact: Robert Blandford

Puerto Rico: Arts and Cultural Management

Puerto Rico: Arts and Cultural Management | 28-5250J  (grad) | 3 credits
Puerto Rico: Arts and Cultural Management | 28-4250J  (undergrad) | 3 credits

This course is designed for graduate and advanced level undergradate students and allows students to experience and investigate the performing, visual, and festival arts and culture scene in San Juan Puerto Rico. Visits to art galleries, theaters, and the San Sebastian Festival  —  the largest music, dance, and artisan crafts festival in the Caribbean   —  give students the opportunity to observe, research, and reflect upon the various strategies, leadership styles, and cultural policies of our Caribbean neighbors. Visits to other cultural institutions and sites, such as the Puerto Rico Film Commission, will further immerse students in the country’s cultural scene, leading to a deeper understanding of the value of diversity in the arts, entertainment, and media, how business and the arts converge, and the impact on culture both locally and in the United States.

Dates: this 2 week program is held in January, 2016 dates TBD
Instructor/Contact: Mary Filice at

Journalism: Ireland

Covering Europe: Ireland | 53-4621J (undergrad)  | 3 credits
Covering Europe: Ireland | 53-5621J (grad)  | 3 credits

Students will immerse themselves in a Dublin neighborhood and provide a variety of news and feature stories; photo essays; and/or interactive media for an already existing online site in Ireland. Students also will produce content from Ireland for a U.S.-based publication, online site or other media outlet of their choosing. Students will meet some of the country's leading journalists and visit such historic sites as Glasnevin Cemetery and Kilmainham Jail, where leaders of the 1916 uprising were executed. There will be time for optional trips to Western Ireland.

Dates: January 3-20, 2015
Instructor/Contact: Suzanne McBride at and John O'Neill at

Fashion In the Global Economy: India
Fashion In the Global Economy: Traditional crafts and textiles of Rajasthan, India | 27-1936J

This J-Term course provides students a unique opportunity to study various textiles and crafts of Rajasthan—such as block-printing, tie-dye and traditional embroidery. Students will not only get to travel and experience these crafts first-hand, they will also understand how they can design and incorporate such craft techniques towards developing their own fashion collections and products.  

Contact: Arti Sandhu at

Topic in Advertising: New York City

Topic in Advertising: New York City | 54-1672J | 1 credit

This course is designed to give aspiring young students a taste of what life might be like working at an advertising agency in New York City. Students visit a wide variety of influential, cutting edge firms and get exposure to some of the most innovative trends, students will develop a sense of where the industry is headed. Besides being the center of the Advertising Industry, New York City is the world’s capital for culture. Students will have exposure to museums, monuments and an opportunity to attend a Broadway play and explore the numerous neighbourhoods within the city.

Check out our YouTube video:

Dates: January 4-19, 2015
Instructor/Contact: Peg Murphy, Craig Sigele at

Writing Abroad: Prague

Dreams and Creative Writing: Prague
Critical Reading and Writing: Kafka and European Writers

4-8 undergraduate credits; 3-6 graduate credits

The Creative Writing Summer in Prague program offers students the opportunity to live as writers abroad in one of Europe’s most beautiful, complex, and fascinating cities. Students will expand their horizons and world view through literary and cultural encounters, while walking the same cobblestoned streets once trod by Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera, and other renowned, and distinctively Czech, writers and artists. Excursions, tours, and field trips complement the course and students are allowed ample time to explore the city on their own and pursue their own stories.

Site visits include: The Franz Kafka museum and the Museum of Communism, a city tour, a tour of the Jewish Ghetto, and a Kafka walking tour, and excursions to the Terezin concentration camp, the silver-mining town or Kutna Hora and the nearby Bone Church, and the fairytale-like southern Bohemian village of Cesky Krumlov.

Dates: May 24- June 28, 2015
Contact: Kathie Bergquist

Photography Studies Abroad: The Netherlands

Photography Studies Abroad: The Netherlands | 23-2717 (undergrad) | 3 credits
Photography Studies Abroad: The Netherlands | 23-6792 (grad)  |  3 credits

This is an intensive course, designed for students with a sense of adventure and a commitment to international exploration. Students will spend approximately three weeks creating a portfolio of work in the Netherlands. Once arriving in the Netherlands the group will spend two weeks of photography tuition under the guidance of Columbia College and Fotovakschool faculty. Students will have the opportunity to work with their Dutch colleagues as they learn about location photography skills in the port city of Rotterdam and art center of Amsterdam. Students will also learn about Dutch historical and contemporary photography practice at such institutions as Foam Gallery and Netherlands Fotomuseum. Students will also take side trips to Belgium cities of Antwerp and the medieval center of Brugg.

Acceptance is based on student’s submission of an application. Pre-requisite Foundations of Photo, 23-1111, or comparable experience. Students who have not taken 23-1111, contact Peter Fitzpatrick.

Dates: May 27- June 13, 2015
Instructors: Peter Fitzpatrick
Contacts: Laura Bauknecht at

Marketing Communication: Prague

Courses include: 54-2550: Global Marketing, this six-credit program will count as department or College electives, and satisfies the Global Awareness requirement.

The Marketing Communication Department is once again excited to offer a study abroad program during Summer 2013 where students learn to apply marketing principles to real life situations. Students will have the unique opportunity to work on a marketing strategy project for an existing client of DraftFCB Prague, a Chicago-based advertising agency.

In addition to working with the ad agency, students will attend a workshop at Diplomatic Academy taught by Diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, network with Czech marketing professionals, Partner with students from the University of Economics in Prague to work on a local non-profit marketing campaign and visit many multinationals located in Prague like Microsoft and AXA Insurance Company. They may have a chance to acquire future internships through the Prague program networks. You will also visit several culturally significant sites to learn about the history and experiences of the Czech citizens.

The program is a five-week marketing and cultural study course taught by Columbia College faculty with many international guest speakers. This six-credit program can count towards a department elective or College elective, and satisfies the Global Awareness credit requirement.

Students and Faculty stay in a four star Hotel Clement in the city centre close to cultural, historic and tourist sites. Please attend an informational meeting offered several times during the Fall and Spring semesters for more details and follow us on Facebook.

Dates: 4 week program in May/June, 2015 dates TBA
Instructors/Contacts: Tom Hamilton and Sandra Kumorowski

African Diaspora: If Your Hands Are in the Dish

Study Abroad students focus on the history and significant Ghanaian cultural groups (e.g. Akan, Guan, Ga, and Ew) prior to organization into pre-selected course clusters in Ghana (Arts and Craft, Culture and History, and Music and Dance.) Each group will be partnered with arts and/or specialists from their selected emphasis. Local historians, drummer, dancers, weavers, and other artists will work hands on with Study Abroad participants at each regional site. Course includes four (4) mandatory in-class sessions before the trip. Participants present final project in Ghana, West Africa.

Dates: 2015 dates TBA
Instructor/Contact: Robert Hanserd

Photography Studies Abroad: Germany

Envisioning German Culture and Metropolis: Cologne and Berlin  | 23-4796 (undergrad) | 3 credits
Envisioning German Culture and Metropolis: Cologne and Berlin  | 23-5796 (grad)  | 3 credits

This course introduces German culture, history, and photography through a detailed investigation of two distinctive and contrasting German metropolises: Cologne and Berlin.  While exploring the art, archives, and city centers students will trace the course of history and photography from the Weimar Era to modern day Germany. Both cities bear witness to the tumultuous history of Germany in the modern era, and both maintain an individual character.  The vibrant cultural scenes in the two regions play a crucial role in both their sense of identity and their interpretation of historical context and significance.
Cologne offers a glimpse of the “traditional” European urban cultural framework as well as unique insights into the early industrial era. Berlin offers a contrasting “history-less” model of a metropolis in its central but ambivalent role as capital, industrial center, and arts magnet. Today, both cities celebrate a central cultural role in their respective regions, and offer distinct approaches to the maintenance of a historical awareness.

Contact:  Bryan Steiff at  and Phillip Cabeen at

International Theatre Workshop: Stratford, Ontario, Canada

International Theatre Workshop: Stratford, Ontario, Canada  | 0-1 credit

Five day trip to Stratford Festival in Ontario Canada.  Students see 6 plays covering a range of dramatic time periods and styles including Shakespeare, experience three different theatre spaces, tour costume warehouse and Stratford archives, and meet with actors, directors, and designers.  Provides an introduction to a long running theatre festival based largely on a modified repertory system where actors throughout the season play several roles, allowing students to appreciate their ability to present different characters.  Open to all interested students.  Students will be responsible for reading the plays being seen, keeping a trip journal, and writing a final paper analyzing and summarizing the experience.  0 credit option available to graduating seniors only.

Course Dates: This five day program will take place in mid to late May (after Spring semester ends) and will coincide with the Stratford Film Festival.  The 2015 festival dates have not yet been set.
Contact:  Caroline Latta at or 312.369.6138

Are you a faculty member interested in proposing a new international program? Visit the International & Domestic Study Abroad Programs page in IRIS for proposal forms, guides, and budget workbooks.