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Global Classroom

Adrienne Fama spent her junior year touring pyramids in Teotihuacán near Mexico City, visiting Monet's house and gardens in Giverny and exploring the Confucian temple in Shanghai, China. And when she wasn't sightseeing, the Spanish and education major studied the effects of globalization in the three countries she visited — Mexico, France and China.

In the new Global Cities study abroad program, Fama and 17 other students from Northwestern, the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City and the Institut d'Études Politiques (or Sciences Po) in Paris studied together for a quarter at each of the universities and spent two weeks in Shanghai. Throughout the year the students examined issues of urbanization, migration, economics, environmental degradation and preservation of history and culture in three globalization-focused classes, taught in English. They also took Spanish or French language classes.

"Living and studying with students from other countries meant you were not just in an American bubble abroad," said Fama, a senior from McLean, Va. "For example we had a debate in Mexico about the state of the Mexican democracy. To have the Mexican perspective as well as the perspective from foreigners was invaluable."

Fama plans to become a teacher and said her experiences abroad will directly impact her future classroom.

Sciences Po student Pauline Malet appreciated the opportunity to get to know new cultures. "The thing we like most in the program is really discovering the people we live with and their language," she said.

This is one of the unique aspects of the program, said Dévora Grynspan (WCAS76, G83), Northwestern's assistant to the president for international programs and director of the Office of International Program Development. She said she knows of no other program that allows students to spend an entire year traveling and attending classes with peers from other countries.

"They seemed quite engaged, and they seemed to become a really close-knit group, which is the idea of the program," Grynspan said.

Global Cities won't be offered during the 2008–09 academic year while the hosts look for ways to make the curriculum more coherent among the three schools, Grynspan said. However she said the program will likely be offered again in the future.

— Anne Martin (J09)

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Global Cities scholars stop for a photo in front of a pyramid in Teotihuacán.
Students pose in front of the Shanghai skyline. The students from Northwestern, Sciences Po and the Universidad Panamericana studied for a quarter on all three campuses and spent two weeks in Shanghai.
The landscape that inspired Monet in Giverny