The sun never sets on BU
By Tim Stoddard
Geneva is an ideal destination for college students looking to work and study in a safe, English-friendly city abroad. The Swiss city, after all, is a hub for global diplomacy and business, as well as for scores of international humanitarian organizations in need of interns.
Next spring, BU’s study abroad empire is expanding to offer a new internship program in Geneva, as well as a language and liberal arts program in Burgos, Spain. The new programs add to an already diverse menu of international programs supported by the University in 18 different countries. Among universities with study abroad programs, BU is best known for its internships programs, which combine classroom learning with professional experiences in a variety of fields, such as the arts, journalism, business, and law. “We guarantee that students will get an internship with us,” says Chris Russell, associate director of marketing and recruitment for BU’s Office of International Programs. “It will be a project-based internship, and it will be customized to the students’ language skills, their work experience, and their career aspirations.”
On the shores of Lake Geneva
Language barriers won’t be a problem for students interested in studying in Geneva, where local Francophones switch to English to conduct business (and to spare Anglophones from mangling the French language). “This is the only study abroad program on mainland Europe where you can do your course work and have an internship in English,” says Carla Rachman, who taught art history courses through BU’s London Internship Program for 15 years before moving to Geneva to direct BU’s new program there. “We’re hoping that we’ll get students who already have some French, which is the domestic language here,” she says, “but we can provide French tuition as needed so that they’ll be able to buy bus tickets, order in restaurants, chat with people, and so on. But their academic work and their professional experience will be in English.”
Students will live in dormitories at the University of Geneva, located in the old city among cobbled streets and near the cathedral of St. Pierre. They’ll take three academic courses designated for BU students, all taught in English by Swiss professors. “But they’ll also be matriculated into the system at the university,” says Rachman, “and entitled to attend any lectures or courses that interest them.”
The University of Geneva is only minutes from numerous headquarters for international organizations, where BU students can be placed in internships. They will find placements at humanitarian organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the International Red Cross, and at other NGOs, such as the International Olympic Committee and the World Trade Organization. Switzerland is also a center for international banking and finance, and students interested in interning at a Swiss bank will find many opportunities to do so. There will be internships available as well in Geneva’s hospitality industry, which supports a heavy influx of diplomats, business professionals, and tourists.
Geneva is currently facing a housing shortage, Rachman says, and this spring, there is room available for only 11 BU students. But starting in the fall, that will increase to 20 or more students.
Pursuing purer Spanish
The city of Burgos offers something unusual in Spain: a respite from English. Two hours from Madrid, where English-speaking tourists roam the streets, Burgos is quieter, slower, and more traditional than cosmopolitan cities in Europe. “If a student is looking for an experience in a totally Spanish environment,” says Amalia Pérez-Juez, coordinator of the program in Burgos, “and is looking for a total immersion in Spanish culture, this is the place. The Spanish spoken in Burgos is probably the best in Spain.” Pérez-Juez should know. She is a native of Burgos, where the Castilian language is believed to have originated. In addition to coordinating the new program, she is assistant director of BU’s Madrid programs and codirector of the University’s Menorca Archaeological Field School, held during the summer.
Students may spend a semester or the academic year studying at the University of Burgos, a medieval complex of buildings that was once part of the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James, the route pilgrims follow to Santiago de Compostela. The first four weeks of the program include an intensive cultural immersion course of language classes, and background on contemporary Spanish history and literature. Pérez-Juez will lead day trips to nearby cities in central and northern Spain. BU students will share double rooms with Spanish students in the university’s residence halls.
Pérez-Juez will present an information session on the Burgos program at the Office of International Programs on Monday, October 4, at 4 p.m. Students may get in touch with her directly at email@example.com. Rachman will visit the Charles River Campus on Thursday, October 7, to talk about the Geneva program with students at the French House, 153 Bay State Road, at 6 p.m. Students may contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.