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Skidmore College
Off-Campus Study & Exchanges

Skidmore Faculty-Led Travel Seminars

Each year, Skidmore sponsors a number of faculty-led travel seminars to locations around the world (see list below). Travel seminar courses must offer a carefully structured, focused, and challenging learning experience. These programs allow students to accompany one or two faculty members as they explore a focused topic that uses the destination as a classroom. To apply for any of these programs, please login to our online student portal (applications for 2020 will be available in Fall 2019).


*Pending Curriculum Committee review and approval

Tropical Field Ecology and Conservation

March 7 - 15, 2020 (inclusive of travel days)

Professor:Monica Raveret Richter (Biology)

Tropical forests are the Earth's most species rich and complex ecosystems. This travel seminar is a field-based introduction to tropical ecology and conservation in Costa Rica, with weekly on-campus meetings to prepare for and reflect upon the field experience.  Costa Rica’s climate, varied topography, location between two continents and conservation programs have contributed to the generation and persistence of the incredible species richness that we will observe and enjoy.

Monteverde, the base for the program in Costa Rica, is bordered by three cloud forest preserves. The pronounced temperature and moisture gradients on the slopes in this region give rise to varied, biodiverse habitats that are home to over 450 species of orchid and more than half of Costa Rica's 850 bird species.  Students will experience and investigate these forests, exploring their habitats and inhabitants from ecological and evolutionary perspectives.  In considering the broader Monteverde community, including its human inhabitants, students will adopt an interdisciplinary perspective as they evaluate conservation issues integral to the survival of all.

Teaching and Learning in Southern Africa

May 17 - June 3, 2020 (inclusive of travel days)

Professor:Virginia Lee (Education)

Students will travel to Botswana to experience teaching and learning in primary schools in the capital city of Gaborone. The seminar centers around 32 hours of field experience, working with children and teachers, as well as seminars that contextualize the experience and give an understanding of the rich culture and history of Botswana. Local experts will provide a range of guest lectures on topics including the impact of race, gender, ethnicity, language and class in the Botswana education system, along with other issues, opportunities and challenges within their education system.

In addition to the classroom placements, students will visit Mokolodi Nature Reserve, spend a weekend in a local homestay and visit area NGOs.

Shakespeare: Playwrights, Plays and New Work Development

 May 25- 31, 2020 (inclusive of travel days)

Professor: John Michael DiResta (Theater)

Students will travel to Ashland, Oregon to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) for six days. Students will see seven plays, meet with artists, and engage with OSF's community-engagement initiatives, such as the Green Show. During the week at OSF, students will learn about the theater's approach to audience-engagement, diversity and inclusion, new work development, and classical theater. Students will participate in OSF's official audience-development projects, and participate in discussions of the plays they are seeing. The group will meet with actors, producers, directors, and designers, as well as research the theater's professional opportunities and discuss how OSF serve multiple demographics simultaneously. The group will also investigate the 8th consecutive year that OSF's programming has had to reckon with the annual wildfires that ravage inland Oregon in summer months. 

2019 Travel Seminars

Exploring Rome

May 19 - June 6, 2019 (inclusive of travel days)

Professors: Dan Curley (Classics) and Gregory Spinner (Religious Studies) 

Rome is the Eternal City, an urban center three millennia in the making.  As a religious, political, and cultural world capital, Rome has become one of the most imaged and imagined cities on earth, depicted in literature and art by Rome citizens, expatriates, exiles, and visitors alike.  Exploring Rome offers an immersive residential experience, where representations of the city meet the realities of urban space and urban planning.  Students will tour and present on ancient sites (the Forum, the Colosseum, the Pantheon), as well as the Vatican, major museums, churches, synagogues, palazzi, Fascist monuments, and other locales in which it is possible to discern the spatial and social layering that is Rome's hallmark.  In addition, students will keep travel journals and produce a portfolio that captures their experience on the tour, thereby continuing the ages-old tradition of writing about Rome.

For more information, including the itinerary and the prerequisite course, click here.

Japanese Culture and Art

May 19 - June 3, 2019 (inclusive of travel days)

Professor: Sang Wook Lee (Art)

One could rightly say that Kyoto is the textile Mecca of the world in both a spiritual and material sense. The city provides both the inspiration and the means for the creation of outstanding textiles. This unique location is an ideal setting in Japan for a travel seminar in studio art. The ancient arts of weaving, dyeing and ceramics are still practiced today. One can still get a glimpse of graceful kimono clad women walking in the streets and byways lined with shops selling traditional ceramics. Contemporary artists and craftsmen have adapted old methods and processes to create new variations on traditional forms as well as innovative expressions in many media that are exhibited in Japan and, indeed, around the world.

The travel seminar will consist of collaboration with Japanese peer students with the goal of creating a collaborative project, visiting museums, galleries, artist’s studios, and other cultural sites around Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara in Japan to better compare and contrast this non-western culture with our own. Students will document their experiences through journal writing which includes writing and sketching in their journals and presenting their experiences to the group. Through this hands-on travel experience they will gain a wider first-hand knowledge of ideas and styles of traditional Japanese textile techniques,
as well as experience and appreciate Japanese culture and art.

For more information, including the itinerary and the prerequisite course, click  here.


Social Work in a Global Context

May 19 - June 5, 2019 (inclusive of travel days)

Professor Kelly Melekis (Social Work)

Students will travel to Rovaniemi, Finland where they will spend the first week at the University of Lapland learning and conversing with students from different countries on topics of global social work. The second week brings students to Utsjoki, where students will learn about Sami culture and the provision of social services in a remote, sparsely populated local. While there, the group stays at Kevo, a sub-artic research station and will learn about the northern Lapland environment and how it influences the lives of people living in this region of the world.  During the last part of the travel seminar, the group travels to Helsinki, where they will visit social service organizations and sample some of Helsinki's many cultural offerings. 

For more information, including daily schedule and fees, click here.



Transgression: The Sacred and the Profane in 20th Century Paris 

May 20 - June 6, 2019 (inclusive of travel days)

Professors: Sonya Chung (English) and Bradley Onishi (Religion)

This travel seminar examines French thinkers in the early 20th century who engaged literature, philosophy, and religion to explore the passages between the sacred and the profane in a dauntingly secularized world. How do we find the sacred after the death of God? How did these thinkers invoke enchantment, mysticism, the erotic, the transgressive and the "obscene" in their searches for meaning, love, beauty?  Students will immerse in varied and provocative responses - a balance of nonfiction & fiction writings - to this dilemma and then explore it in their own analytical and imaginative (fiction) writing as they use Paris as their classroom.

For more information, including the itinerary and the prerequisite course, click here.