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Students Go Global This Summer with CIS Study Abroad

Final exams are over, commencement celebrations are winding down and many OU students are leaving campus to embark upon summer adventures. Though campus is quiet from May to August, summer at CIS is anything but dull. That’s because this time each year, we send hundreds of OU students off on study abroad programs all over the world. From Peru to Tanzania to Israel to Italy and more, for two weeks to a month we offer the chance to taste another culture. These Journey Programs and others are often students’ first experience abroad, and many return with a changed perspective — and an appetite for more travel.

To us, there are few things more magical than these summers spent learning and growing abroad. Read on for a roundup of this year’s exciting CIS-sponsored programs, departing between now and July. Bear in mind that this is just a small sampling of the programs OU has to offer — many other departments host fascinating programs of their own.

Journey to Peru, 2016

Journey to Peru, 2016

Journey to Latin America – Peru

When: June 3 to July 3

What: Students will spend time in the three major geographies of Peru, beginning on the coast in Lima, where students with live with a host family. Next, they will explore the Andes Mountains, including the UNESCO Heritage Sites Machu Picchu and Cuzco, and the program concludes with a stay in the Amazon rainforest.

Courses: The program requires two courses, History and Politics of Peru with Professor Charles Kenney and Indigenous Peoples in Contemporary Peru with Professor Laurel Smith.

Journey to the Middle East: Israel and Palestine

When: May 15 to June 3

What: Students on this program will explore several important cities and sites within Israel and Palestine, including cultural and heritage sites. These include stays in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as visits to Jericho, the city of Ramallah and the Dead Sea.

Course: This program requires two courses, International Relations of the Middle East with Professor Joshua Landis and History, Politics, and Society of Israel and the Palestinians with Professor Gershon Lewental.

Journey to Italy, 2016. Photo by Ryan Jones.

Journey to Italy

When: June 4 to July 2 & July 3-31

What: Based in Arezzo, home of one of OU’s study centers, these programs include visits to Venice, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, Florence and Rome. Students will explore cultural and historical sites as well as some of the world’s greatest art museums.

Course: Students will enroll in two courses, Art and Culture in Italy with Professor Kirk Duclaux and Western Art, Music and Italian with Professor Sarah Ellis (June) / Intercultural Communication with Professor Sunny Lee (July).

Italy 2.0, 2017. Photo by Maura McAndrew.

Italy 2.0

When: May 23 to June 2

What: Students will travel throughout the southern Italian region of Campania and the island of Sicily. In Campania, they will visit Naples, Pompeii and the beautiful Amalfi Coast, including the isle of Capri. In Sicily they will visit Mount Etna, The Valley of the Temples and other historic sites. The group will also have the unique opportunity to meet with activists and nonprofits working on social issues in the area, like the migrant crisis and the mafia.

Course: This program requires one course, Art History and Travel Writing with Professors Robert Bailey and Maura McAndrew.

Exploring Happiness: Religion & Politics in Bhutan

When: May 24 to June 8

What: After centuries of political and cultural isolation, the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas is poised at a turning point. Seeking to balance the desire for innovation with respect for tradition, the Bhutanese people face questions about what they value most, and how those values should translate into public policy and practice. These issues and their relation to the concept of “Gross National Happiness” are central to this program. Students will explore Himalayan monasteries, museums, markets and parks; hike to Taktshang Goemba (Tiger's Nest), a Buddhist monastery perched on a cliff; witness Bhutan's third national parliamentary election; and get acquainted with Bhutanese students at Royal Thimphu College.

Course: Students on this program enroll in one course, Exploring Happiness: Politics and Religion in Bhutan with Political Science Professor Michael Givel.

Journey to Brazil, 2015. Photo by Kendall Brookins.

Adventure Awaits: Exploring Brazilian Culture

When: June 9-24

What: On this program, students will explore Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — home of OU’s third study center — as well as several cities in the neighboring state of Minas Gerais, visiting popular sights, museums and participating in cultural activities and events. Notable activities will be visits to Sugarloaf and the Christ the Redeemer statue, as well as Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.

Course: This program requires one course, Brazilian Culture with Professor Paulo Moreira.

The Cuisine, Arts and Culture of Mexico

When: July 2-23

What: On this program, students study the history of food at OU’s study center in Puebla, Mexico, participate in hands-on cooking lessons and take field trips to local markets and restaurants. They will explore Mexico City and visit a pueblo mágico to discover foods and traditions in indigenous communities, and also have the opportunity to meet with young entrepreneurs in the Puebla food industry. This program will be conducted in Spanish, and students are strongly encouraged to speak only Spanish.

Course: This program requires two courses, Intermediate Spanish with Professor Dana Loy or Spanish Conversation with Professor Jose Juan Colin and Mexican Cuisine and Culture with Professor Colin. The latter course includes hands-on cooking classes!

Journey to Tanzania, 2016. Photo by Amy Freeman.

Journey to Africa: Tanzania

When: June 23 to July 14

What: This program will begin with a few weeks in the city of Arusha, an international diplomatic hub at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Midway through, the students will take a multi-day safari to the Ngorongoro Crater, and their journey will conclude with a trip to Zanzibar, where the group will attend a film festival and explore the history of the spice trade.

Course: Students on this program will enroll in two courses, Postcolonial African Cinema with Professor Rita Keresztesi and Africa and a History of “Helping” with Professor Andreana Prichard.


We can’t wait to see these students’ adventures unfold, and we’re wishing each and every student an enlightening, challenging — and yes, even fun — experience of a lifetime.

Interested in studying abroad, either next summer or during the school year? Visit our website to get started.

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