University of Minnesota
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Campuses:

Learning Abroad Center
Learning Abroad in Urban Studies

Learning Abroad in Urban Studies

“As an Urban Studies student you know about a sizable Midwestern city. Get out there and explore. You’ll never see home the same way again.”
—Judith Martin, Professor, Urban Studies Program

“I can't tell you how many times I have had conversations with people about my trip to China. As a student I did not recognize how often I would be relating my experiences abroad to others. It has had a profound impact on my ability to relate and discuss with others my personal experiences and thoughts on topics ranging from traveling internationally to regional cuisine. I hope everyone has an opportunity to travel abroad. I am so happy I did.”
—Josh, China Architecture and Urban Planning Seminar, May 2004

“I realize that we truly have nothing to complain about. I appreciate the good life we all have here after seeing the hardships of a developing and unjust society.”
—Matt, Study Abroad in Mexico, 1999

“From the moment I stepped into the escort van that took me out of Zia International Airport and into the hustle and bustle of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city, I knew that my world would never be the same. In conversing with villagers I came to see that people were dealing with issues that I couldn’t even imagine. I have an up-close and personal realization that the petty issues that I worry about here really mean very little in the grand scheme of things.”
—Nate, HECUA Bangladesh, 2005

“Go where no one else you know is going, go somewhere you know nothing about and do everything that you always wanted to do. You will appreciate your experience much more if you stretch yourself as far as you can stretch.”
—Tasha, NSE, Tennessee, Fall 2006

Study Abroad Process

This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the Urban Studies Program before beginning your study abroad research.

Choose your study abroad experience wisely

Align study abroad with your personal, academic, and professional goals

Consider timing and length

Pay special attention to program type

Seek cultural immersion

Look for a program that provides insights into another urban region

Choose courses to fulfill your Urban Studies requirements

Conduct fieldwork for your senior project

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Develop or improve second language skills

Once You Have Selected a Program

While You Are Abroad

After You Return

Programs

The Urban Studies Program has identified the following programs as examples of options of potential interest to its majors and minors. These are for illustration only, and you need not confine your search to those on the list.

Africa and the Middle East

Israel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (also University Study)
  • Jerusalem (population 0.8 million), holy city of Islam and Judaism alike, provides a fascinating case study of an ethnically divided city.
  • Participants study in the Rothberg International School. Course offerings include Historical Geography of Jerusalem and Jerusalem Through the Ages: Historical Geography & Archaeology.
  • Instruction at the Rothberg School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students fluent in Hebrew may also take regular courses. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Kenya

MSID Kenya (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program based in Nairobi (population 3 million) and built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Past internship placements include women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, environmental issues, urban education, urban community development.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Swahili is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Morocco

SIT Morocco– Migration & Transnational Identity

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Program based in Rabat (population 1.7 million) and focused on factors driving internal and international migration, particularly in Morocco and elsewhere in North and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Includes structured field experiences locally, field trip to meet urban immigrants from Morocco in the Netherlands, visit to the Morocco-Spain border zone, and an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic or French is required. Fall or spring semester.

Senegal

MSID Senegal (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program based in Dakar (population 2.5 million) and built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, youth projects, women’s groups, orphanages, health clinics, community centers, urban education, urban community development.
  • Instruction is in French. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

South Africa

CIEE South Africa Service-Learning

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Cape Town (population 3.6 million) provides an excellent vantage point to view how post-Apartheid South Africa deals with issues of race and inequality in an urban setting.
  • Program combines classroom work on the University of Cape Town campus with community service in marginalized townships on the outskirts of the city.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester.

University of Cape Town (available through Arcadia South Africa)

  • Program type: University Study
  • The University of Cape Town is one of Africa’s leading research and teaching institutions, located in a stunning setting on the slopes of Table Mountain overlooking a spectacularly beautiful city.
  • The university’s Department of Environmental and Geographical Science and its School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics both offer courses focused on urban issues.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Americas

Argentina

Universidad de Buenos Aires (available through CIEE Argentina–Liberal Arts or IES Argentina–Buenos Aires Advanced Spanish or IFSA-Butler Argentina)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Huge, prestigious institution in the Argentine capital (population 14 million), one of South America’s great port cities. Opportunities also for urban internships or community service.
  • Sample courses offered in the past: Urban Geography; Land Use & Planning; Urban Politics; Urban Sociology; Urban Anthropology—The Modern City, the Post-Modern City.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 5 semesters (Butler) or 6 semesters (CIEE) of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Bolivia

SIT Bolivia– Latin American Revolutionary Movements & Conflict Resolution

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based in La Paz (metropolitan population 2.3 million) with field trips to other areas in Bolivia and bordering regions of Argentina and Brazil.
  • Focus is on revolutionary movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including urban conflicts such as the anti-globalization “water wars” in Cochabamba.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish, Aymara, or Quechua is required. Fall or spring semester.

Brazil

Pontificia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (available through CIEE Brazil– São Paulo Liberal Arts)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • PUC, with 19,000 undergraduates, is located in the economic capital of Brazil and the largest city in South America, São Paulo (metropolitan population 20 million).
  • Sample course offerings at the Universidade Católica: Urban Geography; Organization of Space in São Paulo; Urban Planning; Tourism & City Administration; Tourism and Sustainable Cities.
  • Intensive pre-session helps students improve their Portuguese skills or convert their Spanish into Portuguese. CIEE also offers a language course and a Brazilian survey course, both required.
  • Instruction is in Portuguese. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Dominican Republic

CIEE Dominican Republic– Santiago Service-Learning

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around structured service placements in or near Santiago, a trade and agricultural services center and the Dominican Republic’s second largest city (population 1 million).
  • Includes classroom work, community placement, community-oriented research, and additional Spanish instruction. Excellent option for students interested in urban social realities.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall pr spring semester. Students wishing to study for a full year may combine this service-learning program with another CIEE program in Santiago or Santo Domingo.

Ecuador

MSID Ecuador (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program based in Ecuador’s capital, Quito (population 1.4 million), and built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, community environmental conservation, urban education, urban community development.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Peru

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (available through CIEE Peru–Lima Liberal Arts or ISFA-Butler Peru)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Located on a campus in Lima (population nearly 9 milion), PUCP is Peru’s oldest private university. Both CIEE and ISFA-Butler supplement university courses with 2 required center courses.
  • Curriculum includes offerings in urban geography and urban sociology. For course descriptions in the online course catalog, look under Sumillas
  • Instruction is in Spanish; five prior semesters of Spanish required for both ISFA-Butler and CIEE. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Asia and Oceania

Australia

Study & Internships in Sydney

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program located in Australia’s largest city (metropolitan population 4.5 million). Multidisciplinary curriculum includes Analyzing & Exploring the Global City: Sydney.
  • Program centerpiece is an outstanding internship option (6 credits in semester program, 3 or 6 credits in summer program), for which an astounding variety of placements is possible.
  • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year, or summer.

University of Melbourne

  • Program type: University Study
  • One of Australia’s most prestigious universities, located in the country’s second largest city (population 3.6 million).
  • Sample course titles: City in History; Shaping the Metropolis; Urban Economic Geography; City Cultures—Urban Stories; Inside the City of Diversity; Marvelous Melbourne—A Cultural History.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

India

MSID India (Minnesota Studies in International Development)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program based in Jaipur (population 3.2 million) and built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Past internship placements include women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, environmental issues, urban education, urban community development.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Hindi is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Japan

IES Japan– Tokyo Society & Culture

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Multidisciplinary language and area studies program for students with little or no Japanese language background, located in world’s largest metropolitan area (population 34 million).
  • Course offerings include History of Tokyo; Contemporary Urban Society in Japan; Architecture, Urban Planning, & Development. Rich field learning opportunities supplement classroom work.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Japanese is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

New Zealand

University of Auckland

  • Program type: University Study
  • New Zealand’s largest university (28,000 students), located in its largest city (metropolitan population 1.4 million). Auckland is home to one out of every three New Zealanders.
  • Urban studies courses are available in a number of departments, including Geography, Planning, Sociology, Urban Design, and even Spanish.
  • Instruction is in English, although some  Maori studies courses are taught in Maori instead. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year

Europe

Denmark

Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Located in Denmark’s capital and largest city, Copenhagen (population 1.9 million), DIS offers an astounding variety of courses on Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
  • Sample courses include: Copenhagen—History & Contemporary Urban Issues and European Urban Design Theories. Extensive field trips in Denmark and other parts of Europe.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

France

Study Abroad in Montpellier

  • Program type: University Study and Study Abroad Center (two tracks)
  • This U of M program in Montpellier (population 250,000) permits a mix (tailored to language proficiency) of center courses, regular Université Paul Valéry courses, and internships.
  • University offers urban courses in several departments, notably Geography. Sample course titles: Geography of Cities & Geography of the Mediterranean; Urban Development & Urban Policies.
  • Instruction is in French; one year French prerequisite for center track, two for university study track. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.

Germany

IES Germany– Berlin Language & Area Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Program combining center courses, university courses, rich field study opportunities, and internship offerings in Berlin (population 4.2 million). Field trips to other Central European cities.
  • Sample courses: Multicultural Berlin; History of Modern Berlin; Berlin in Literature, Literature in Berlin; Germany and European Unification.
  • Instruction is in German; two years prior college language study required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

IES Germany– Berlin Metropolitan Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Berlin (population 4.2 million) is trying to become whole again after a half century with two different economic and political systems and urban policies.
  • Broad curriculum looks at city from perspective of many different social science and humanities disciplines. Field trips to Paris and St. Petersburg provide comparative context.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior language study required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Italy

IES Italy– Rome

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Rome (population 2.7 million) is a living museum of 25 centuries of urban development. Program is strongest on the ancient city. Internships available to students with at least 4 semesters of Italian.
  • Sample course offerings: Roman Architecture & Urban Design; Culture & Urban Change in Contemporary Italy; Rome as a Living Museum.
  • No prior Italian is required. Instruction for most courses is in English; some center and university courses alike are available in Italian. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Universitá di Bologna (available through Bologna Consortial Studies Program, BCSP)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Bologna (population 380,000) is a city full of marvelous medieval and Renaissance architecture. The university is the oldest in Europe and arguably the most prestigious in Italy.
  • Courses on Italy designed for US students supplement. UB curriculum offers urban courses in such departments as architecture, geography, history, political science, and sociology.
  • Instruction is in Italian; at least two prior years of language study are required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. (Academic year option highly recommended.)

Netherlands

CIEE Netherlands– Amsterdam Social Sciences

  • Program type: University Study
  • Based in Amsterdam (metropolitan population 2.2 million), this program is for advanced undergrads with a strong social sciences background and who seek coursework with a research component.
  • Most coursework is in Dutch universities. Sample courses: Urban Anthropology; Urban Tourism & City Marketing; Framing the Latin American City; The Local & Global Complexity of Prostitution.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Dutch is required. Still more courses available to students proficient in Dutch. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Norway

HECUA The New Norway: Globalization, National Identity, and the Politics of Belonging

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Based in Oslo, the program uses a carefully integrated field study, classroom study, and volunteer placement to explore the program themes.
  • The New Norway affords an excellent opportunity to learn about Scandinavian grassroots citizen involvement, as well as state support of health care, education, and economic security.
  • The New Norway includes comparative field study elsewhere—in selected regions of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Norwegian is required. Offered fall semester.  

Spain

International Program in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Toledo (population 83,000), a quiet hilltop city less than an hour south of Madrid (metropolitan population 5 million) is one of Europe’s best-preserved examples of medieval urban morphology.
  • Wide array of courses offered on Spain, Europe, and Latin America in business, the social sciences, the humanities, Spanish language, plus internship and service-learning options.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of language study or equivalent knowledge are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

United Kingdom

HECUA Democracy & Social Change in Northern Ireland

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Examines historical, political, economic, and religious roots of conflict in Northern Ireland and progress being made toward peace. Provides keen insights into the dynamics of a divided city.
  • Highly experiential pedagogy brings students in direct contact with people on all sides of the conflict. Half-time, 8-credit internship complements classroom, field study, and Ireland excursion.
  • Instruction is in English. Spring semester.

Queen Mary University of London

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in the multicultural East End of London (metropolitan population 12 million), QM is unique among the traditional London colleges in that its buildings are all on one campus.
  • Geography and History departments both offer a range of courses with an urban focus.
  • Academic year (summer also available through ISFA-Butler).

Study & Internships in London

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • U of M area studies program located in the heart of London and offering a multidisciplinary array of course offerings, some on Europe as a whole, but the majority on Britain or specifically London.
  • Special features include a 6-credit course-internship combination (3 credits in the summer) and a 6-credit service-learning course (semester only).
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

Additional Options to Consider

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Work on your CLA language requirement or on a language minor while immersed in the language.
  • Complete two, three, or even four semesters of language in a semester or a summer.

Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
  • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

Freshman Seminars

  • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
  • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
  • Seminars are designed specifically for first year students as an introduction to study abroad.

Student Project for Amity Among Nations (SPAN)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Summer research abroad preceded by spring semester preparation and followed by fall semester project write-up; ideal vehicle for overseas research toward a senior project.
  • Faculty adviser helps students prepare, accompanies each group during the summer, and assists as the thesis is written.
  • Locations vary from year to year; two to four destinations offered annually. No language prerequisite for most sites. Summer.

Work, Intern, Volunteer, and Research Opportunities

  • The Urban Studies program encourages study abroad programs offering experiences outside the classroom such as internships, service-learning, or research opportunities.
  • Don’t confine your search to study abroad; check out non-credit online WIV or teaching English first step modules.
  • Consider combining a WIV experience with a study abroad experience.

Student Experiences

Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.

Twin Cities Campus: