Learning Abroad in American Studies

Learning Abroad in American Studies

You can take American Studies courses in a university in Germany, Great Britain, Australia, or Ireland, accelerate your language skills in Mexico, France, or Italy, view the world from a Japanese perspective in Tokyo, or study world cultures in Italy. Study abroad programs offer an array of American studies and related courses as well intensive language study and internships. The possibilities are limitless! With proper planning study abroad can help you prepare for your professional and civic life in today's global context.

Learning Abroad Process

Familiarize yourself with the Learning Abroad Process. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the Department of American Studies before beginning your study abroad research.

Choose your study abroad experience wisely

American Studies students are encouraged to study abroad at any time during their undergraduate years (though it is often easiest to arrange during your sophomore and junior years). Early planning allows for greater flexibility in program choice and leaves open the possibility of additional learning abroad opportunities. Advance planning with the undergraduate adviser will facilitate a study abroad experience that fulfills major elective requirements. The process of selecting a study abroad program is similar to selecting your major or minor.

In addition to general factors in Choosing a Program, keep in mind the following suggestions specifically from the American Studies Program.

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

Work on your American studies major

Many universities in other countries offer courses similar to those taught in American Studies, though they may vary in both method and content. The key is to identify courses that have a social, cultural, or media content that would allow pre-approved learning abroad courses to fulfill American Studies major requirements. Though each course is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, please consider the following recommendations before starting your research:

Learning abroad courses receive tentative pre-approval from the undergraduate adviser prior to leaving for your learning abroad experience. Upon your return, you must submit to the undergraduate adviser a detailed syllabus and, if available, class materials from the learning abroad course for final approval toward your major.

Consider timing and length

Seek cultural immersion

Pay special attention to program type

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Once You Have Selected a Program

While You Are Abroad

After You Return

Programs

Africa and the Middle East

Ghana

SIT Ghana—Origins of African Identity

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based on Cape Coast, a modern educational center that was once a major port for the slave export trade. Includes field trips to other parts of Ghana and to Benin.
  • Includes a good deal of Diaspora content highly relevant to American studies, as well as an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an indigenous Ghanaian language is required. Fall or spring semester.

Kenya

MSID—International Development in Kenya

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Provides interesting insights into US role in Third World.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, refugees
  • 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
  • Rabat-based program focused on factors driving internal and international migration, particularly in Morocco and elsewhere in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Useful for comparative study with US.
  • Includes structured field experiences locally, field trip to meet Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands, visit to the Morocco-Spain border zone, and an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic, Berber, or French is required. Fall or spring semester.

Senegal

MSID—International Development in Senegal

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Provides interesting insights into US role in Third World.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, youth projects, women’s groups, orphanages, health clinics, community centers, and many more.
  • 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
  • Academic program built around structured service placements in Cape Town townships or other disadvantaged settings. Includes classroom work, community-based research, language study.
  • South Africa is a fascinating place to reflect on the relationship among race, language, class, and political and economic power. Comparison can teach much about role and meaning of race in US.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester.

University Study in South Africa: University of Cape Town 

  • Program type: University Study
  • Still struggling to emerge from the nightmare of apartheid, South Africa is a particularly interesting place to study for students with a focus on the civil rights era in the US.
  • One of the country’s top research and teaching institutions, UCT offers courses in a broad range of humanities and social science disciplines.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Americas

Argentina

Study Abroad in Buenos Aires

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Bargain-priced UofM program open to all but aimed especially at students interested in Latin America but with insufficient Spanish language skills to take courses taught in Spanish.
  • Argentina’s economic collapse in the 1990s foreshadowed US crisis a decade later; similarities and differences are instructive. Curriculum offers language, area studies, and service-learning.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

Brazil

CIEE Brazil—Salvador da Bahia

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (mostly)
  • Salvador da Bahia is the pulsating capital of Afro-Brazilian culture. The setting and the curriculum alike make this program invaluable for comparative perspectives on African American experience.
  • Five-week pre-session to strengthen your Portuguese (or convert your Spanish into Portuguese) precedes 15-week semester of language and special CIEE courses plus university option.
  • Instruction is in Portuguese; 2 semesters of prior Portuguese or 4 of prior Spanish are required. Fall semester, spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Ecuador

MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Provides interesting insights into US role in Third World.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, fishing or handicraft cooperatives.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (available through Exchange in Ecuador)

  • Program type: University Study
  • The University of Minnesota selects one student annually for this scholarship, which covers tuition and fees, room and board, and health insurance—virtually all expenses except airfare.
  • USFQ offers an American Studies minor, some of whose courses are delivered in English.
  • Most instruction is in Spanish; at least two years of prior language study or equivalent are required. Academic year only. Similar scholarships offered annually for China, Germany, Iceland.

Nicaragua

SIT Nicaragua—Revolution, Transformation, & Civil Society

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential Managua-based program that includes extensive field study, field trips to other Nicaraguan locations and El Salvador, and a research project.
  • Useful as a source of insights into the US role in Central America.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Arabic or French is required. Fall or spring semester.

Asia and Oceania

Australia

Study & Internships in Sydney

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program with a multidisciplinary array of courses focused on Australia. Curriculum is nicely designed to generate comparative insights into US society and culture.
  • 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 semester, spring semester, or summer.

University Study in Australia: University of Melbourne

  • Program type: University Study
  • One of Australia’s largest and most prestigious universities, Melbourne offers an American Studies major housed in the School of Historical Studies.
  • Although history is the dominant discipline among the American studies offerings, there are also courses in such fields as film and literature.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

University of in Australia: University of Sydney 

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located on the edge of downtown, the University of Sydney is an old and traditional institution by Australian standards—something of an Australian counterpart to an Ivy League school.
  • American Studies program consists of a core seminar plus cross-listed US-content courses from other departments, especially English and History.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

China

CIEE China—Shanghai: China in a Global Context

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Language and area studies program with a strong emphasis on contemporary China. Courses are offered in Asian studies, economics, history, international relations, political science, many more.
  • Sample course titles: Values of Mythic Proportions: Cultural Currencies of China & the West; Issues in Chinese Society; China’s Macroeconomic Impact; and China’s International Relations.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Chinese is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Japan

IES Japan—Tokyo Society & Culture

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (and University Study)
  • Multidisciplinary language and area studies program that includes extensive experiential learning opportunities such as field trips, cultural events, volunteer opportunities, and field placements.
  • With instructor’s permission, students may also take courses in English offered by Kanda University of International Studies.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Japanese is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

  • Program type: University Study
  • New Zealand’s largest university, located in its largest city. About one out of every three New Zealanders lives in Auckland, a subtropical city on the North Island.
  • Although there is no American Studies program per se, a number of US-focused courses are offered in history, plus a smattering in other fields such as art history, English, political studies.
  • Instruction is in English, although some Maori studies courses are taught in Maori instead. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

University of Canterbury (available through IFSA-Butler New Zealand)

  • Program type: University Study
  • University of Canterbury lies near the east edge of New Zealand’s South Island just outside Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city (population 350,000).
  • Canterbury’s American Studies program, by far the strongest in New Zealand, focuses primarily on contemporary American culture.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

South Korea

University Study in South Korea: Yonsei University

  • Program type: University Study
  • Yonsei, located in Seoul, teaches many courses in English as a strategy to position Koreans for the global workforce; therefore, participants are able to study alongside Korean students.
  • Strong multidisciplinary curriculum not only in Korean studies but also in Asian studies more broadly.
  • Most instruction is in English; no prior Korean is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Thailand

MSID—International Development in Thailand

  • Based in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Provides interesting insights into US role in Third World.
  • Contribute through an internship or research project with a nonprofit organization
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Thai required

Europe

Czech Republic

CIEE Czech Republic—Central European Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Multidisciplinary area studies program offering special courses at Prague’s Charles University in a broad range of humanities and social science fields.
  • Sample course offerings: Collective Identity in a Totalitarian Regime; Contemporary Czech Culture; Europe and the United States: Transatlantic Relations Past and Present; and Internship.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Czech is required. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Denmark

Study Abroad in Denmark

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Copenhagen-based DIS, one of Europe’s largest and academically strongest study abroad programs, offers a wide variety of courses and study tours to Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
  • More than a hundred courses offered in dozens of academic disciplines. Thematic concentrations include European Culture & History, and European Politics & Society. Extensive use of field trips.
  • 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; mixing possible)
  • Permits a mix of special language and culture courses for international students and regular Université Paul Valéry courses, in a proportion suitable to each student’s language proficiency.
  • Although the university has no American Studies department, it does offer many US-focused courses in literature and history and some in other departments. Internships are also available.
  • Instruction is in French; one year of prior French is required 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
  • Having been on the front lines of the Cold War and a major focal point of US foreign policy during the 20th Century, Berlin is a fascinating city to experience as it seeks to become whole again.
  • Program includes strong field study and internship opportunities. Students with advanced German fluency may also take regular courses at universities in the former West and East alike.
  • Instruction is in German; two years of prior college language study or equivalent are required. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University of Freiburg

  • Program type: University Study
  • Courses in the English/American Studies department, ranked among Germany’s best, are taught in English; most focus on literature, although there are others in film studies and cultural studies.
  • Additional US-focused courses, taught in German, are available in such disciplines as history, political science, and sociology.
  • Instruction in most of the university is in German. Spring semester or academic year.

Ireland

University College Dublin (available through Arcadia Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located on the outskirts of the Irish capital, UCD is one of Ireland’s strongest universities and its top institution in American Studies. (Look under Arts & Humanities in online catalog.)
  • Sample course offerings: Visualizing Americanization; Globalization & American Lit; Ireland & the US; Race, Class, & Gender in the US; Religion in the Americas; War & US Society.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Italy

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

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Bologna, the oldest university in Europe and arguably the most prestigious in Italy, offers several relevant courses in American literature and in American Indian studies.
  • The BCSP program supplements UB courses with courses designed for US students. A pre-session intensive Italian course strengthens students’ language skills before UB classes begin.
  • 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.)

Norway

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

  • 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. Fall semester

Spain

Study & Intern in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • UofM program located in Spain’s former capital and one of Europe’s most picturesque cities—a living museum of medieval and Renaissance architecture.
  • Strong curriculum in humanities and social sciences includes not only courses on Spain but also some on Europe as a whole or on Latin America. Internship and service-learning options as well.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

United Kingdom—England

Study & Intern in London

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program offering a multidisciplinary array of course offerings, some on Europe as a whole, most specifically on Britain.
  • 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, or summer.

University of East Anglia (available through IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • East Anglia arguably has the best American Studies program in the UK. Program core is literature and history. Many courses focus on ethnic minorities, civil rights, and inter-group relations.
  • US-focused courses are also offered in art history, cultural studies, ethnic studies, film studies, gender studies, international relations, music, and political science, and others.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

United Kingdom—Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Democracy & Social Change (HECUA)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program that brings students in direct contact with people on all sides of the conflict. Half-time, 8-credit internship complements classroom and field study.
  • Anyone interested in inter-group peace and conflict within the US will return from this program on the strife in Northern Ireland armed with powerful new insights and analytical tools.
  • Instruction is in English. Spring semester.

University of Wales, Swansea (available through Arcadia Wales)

  • Program type: University Study
  • This University of Wales campus offers a strong American Studies program, with a multitude of courses in such areas as literature, history, cultural studies, media studies, and ethnic studies.
  • A few additional US-focused courses are available in such departments as English, History, and Media & Communication Arts.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

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

  • Consider a study abroad program that includes structured experiences outside the classroom such as 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 study abroad.

Student Experiences

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