Atlantic-Crossers Mix Over Dessert

Andrew M. Brunner

Students who will be spending their summers in Europe gather in the Center for European Studies courtyard for an ice cream party yesterday to socialize and talk about their plans.

With free scoops of ice cream in the sunny afternoon outside the courtyard of the Center for European Studies (CES), about 100 students who will be studying or working in Europe this summer abandoned their exam preparation for two hours on Monday to meet informally and discuss their coming summer activities—the first event of its kind to be hosted by CES.

Alexander Bevilacqua ’07, a member of the Undergraduate Student Advisory Board, said the event enabled the students to find out more about where people will be in Europe, and what activities they will be doing.

“The event was to get people excited about the summer,” Bevilacqua said.

“We wanted the people to know each other before they go instead of them meeting in the streets once they are in Europe,” said Patricia H. Craig, the executive director of CES.

Richard Freeman ’04, a member of the CES Undergraduate Student Advisory Board, which organized the event, said the event was geared mainly at undergraduates but open to graduate students as well. In addition to bringing together students from a wide variety of fields, he said the event also served to raise awareness of resources available to students in Europe.

“CES has been working with alumni clubs in Europe, and a lot of the alumni are very much interested in hosting undergraduates maybe for dinner just to talk about their experiences of working and living in Europe,” Freeman said. “This is a good way of bringing together the students and the alumni.”

David A. Martin ’07 will be studying at a summer school in Portugal, and said he came to the event to find travel mates; Julia Cai ’06, who is studying Spanish in Spain, said she came “to get some ideas”; Victoria C. Henderson ’05, who will be working for Merrill Lynch in London, said she was glad she came because she “saw and talked with many people who will also be in England.”

Just two weeks ago, CES hosted a career panel where three Harvard alums who spoke about their experiences studying and working in Europe. Craig attributed the CES’s increased efforts at organizing such European-oriented events to Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers and Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby’s advocacy for providing students with international experiences.

Though the reading period timing might have distracted some people from attending, Freeman said the event had been well publicized and turnout was good.

Craig said CES and the board will evaluate the turnout of the event and will decide to host similar events in the future if response is positive.

CES also organizes events for undergraduates to advise them on how to choose their theses related to European studies, as well as funding students to study and work in Europe over the summer. Currently, CES is funding trips to Europe for 22 undergraduates for thesis research, 8 others to travel as interns and 15 graduate students for dissertation research.

—Staff writer Samuel M. Kabue can be reached at kabue@fas.harvard.edu.