Summer Study Now in Bolivia and Beyond

This summer, Harvard students will be able to spend their summers uncovering ruins in Bolivia, learning to Samba in Rio and eating lunch along the coast of the Aegean Sea—while also earning College credit.

The Harvard Summer School and the Office of International Programs are expanding their credit-granting summer programs—traditionally offered in Germany, Italy, Greece and Peru—to Bolivia, Brazil and Portugal, as well as a second location in Peru. 

The programs, which are all taught by Harvard faculty members, last from three to six weeks and cost between $5,500 and $7,700.

Harvard financial aid will be available to students who qualify for such support during the academic year.

The courses give students either one or two half-course credits which can be applied to their transcripts.

In addition, some of the programs can be counted towards language citation requirements as well as the Core Foreign Cultures requirement.

“My program is worth a full-year course,” said Professor of German Peter J. Burgard, who is directing the Munich-based program. “In one month, students get a full year, actually more than a full year, of German culture and language.”

The College has made a push in recent years to encourage more students to study abroad, taking such steps as lessening the Core requirements of students who spend a semester overseas and creating an office devoted to helping students make study abroad plans.

These initiatives have met with some success in upping the number of students who spend time overseas each year.

There were 93 students studying abroad this semester, compared to 51 students last fall.

Creating more Harvard-run programs overseas is one of several other steps that have been proposed as part of this initiative.

But a full-year study abroad program run by Harvard faculty doesn’t seem to be a possibility in the near future.

Burgard noted the difficulty in acquiring faculty to teach courses abroad during the academic year.

“There are very different issues involved in having a term-time program,” said Burgard. “It means committing a professor’s slot and time to teaching term time, and they have responsibilities here.”

Despite these issues, Burgard said he does believe that Harvard-run study abroad programs during the academic year are feasible, though it is unclear whether the University will make the commitment to do so.

Some students, including Sandra L. Di Capua ’07, said they believe the summer options are more beneficial than those offered during the school year because summer study abroad excursions wouldn’t require students to miss any classes or extracurricular activities.