Program Allows Students To Visit 4 ‘Global Cities’

Julie French

By Julie FrenchContributing Writer

Northwestern students have a new study abroad option next year – and it starts in Evanston.

The Global Cities study abroad program recently announced by NU’s Office of International Program Development will send students to Chicago, Mexico City, Paris and Shanghai to study globalization’s effect on cities.

Students from Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City, Sciences Po in Paris and Northwestern will spend their first quarter in Evanston, then move on to Mexico City in winter and Paris in spring. They also will spend two weeks in Shanghai.

“These cities all have problems in common but also have a distinct culture to explore,” said Devora Grynspan, the director of International Program Development.

The program focuses on urbanization, migration, economic change, environmental degradation and preserving history and culture – themes shared by all global cities. It is limited to five to 10 students from each country.

Although they will be required to study either French or Spanish, all other courses will be taught in English. In countries where they don’t speak the language, students will have to rely on one another to navigate daily life.

“They will be hosting each other, and then everybody will be at a total loss in Shanghai,” Grynspan said.

Even if they don’t speak the language, students interested in working abroad need to feel comfortable living and working in any country, she said. Students who can thrive in any foreign culture are more attractive to international employers, she said.

McCormick senior Sharla Rent studied at Universidad Panamericana last summer as a part of the Public Health Program, and she said she now feels prepared to handle medical issues in foreign cultures.

“It gave us a really broad spectrum certainly not specific to Mexico,” she said.

Rent said she enjoyed the program so much that she decided to study global healthcare technologies in South Africa this spring through another International Program Development-sponsored program.

“If I had another year here, I would definitely apply for (the Global Cities program),” Rent said.

Weinberg sophomore Adrienne Fama also said she was considering applying. In addition to the opportunity to practice her Spanish, she said she liked the idea of traveling with a small group of international students and the possibility of a trip to China.

Students will live in dorms on the Evanston campus and in homestays in Mexico and France. The cost will be similar to that of a year at NU.

Spending that first quarter in Evanston also made the program more viable for Fama because, as a transfer student, it is harder for her to meet the residency requirement.

“I was originally only looking at quarter programs,” Fama said, “but the fact that this is a unique program might make a difference.”

Reach Julie French at [email protected]