Postcard from…Geneva

Resident Director Carla Rachman talks about the BU Study Abroad program.

Greetings from Geneva,

BU Study Abroad has been running a program in Geneva since 2005. We have about 130 students a year, and we host both regular semester-long programs as well as shorter summer courses which serve a mix of graduate and undergraduate students.

Our spring and fall semesters offer two internship programs, in Law/International Relations and Public Health. Students take two required classes in these areas and also take an elective, often but not always French language. All of these classes are taught by local faculty, and all except for the language instructors hold doctorates. The syllabi are always approved by the curriculum committee on campus and carry BU course codes. In addition to the academic classes, students will also spend four days a week for 8 weeks working as interns in an international organisation or NGO. These placements are arranged through EUSA, a partner company. In order to get academic credit for the internships, students have to produce two pieces of written work, which are graded by faculty on site.

We work in partnership with the University of Geneva, where our students are all registered and are able to use the libraries, social facilities, and so on.

We run our own dorm, in a centrally located building near the lake, and we also have offices and classrooms nearby, although the majority of our classes are taught in the modern and well-appointed classrooms at the main University of Geneva building. In addition, we have a Physics program which runs only in the spring semester. These students take their science classes in French together with the home students at Geneva University, and are also assigned to research projects at CERN. These projects are mentored by physicists working on site and count for academic credit at BU.

In the summer, we run two short programs. The first, Conflict Resolution, is a two-site program which starts in late May, with a month in Geneva, and then transfers to the BUSA London base for the second month. This class also includes a visit to the EU headquarters in Brussels. The second, Global Governance, is an internship program which runs for 10 weeks over the summer and is accompanied by a 4-credit class taught by a visiting member of faculty from BU.

This is still a relatively young and growing program, and we are eager to work with all parties on campus to build on our position as the leading study abroad program in Geneva. We welcome contact with faculty and departments at all levels, so if you are planning to come to Geneva or are interested in developments here, please make sure to contact me and to visit the program.

Global Programs seeks postcards from any long- or short-term overseas BU employees. Please send postcards to jcostell@bu.edu.

Top photo of student interns at the World Health Organization in Geneva with Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, submitted by Carla Rachman, BU Study Abroad Geneva Director.