The program—including faculty-student dinners, thesis workshops, and research opportunities—hopes to engage students in Europoean studies throughout their college careers, according to the center’s executive director, Patricia H. Craig.
“We are helping students make sense of what they are learning, not only within the general context of their intellectual development, but also in terms of their future paths in life,” said Craig, who added that the initiative’s focus on internationalization furthers the University trend of encouraging experience abroad.
The center was previously more focused on graduate student research, so this initiative expands its efforts to cater to undergraduate demand as well, said Craig. Yet the center is increasing the resources available to both demographics.
The co-chair of the center’s undergraduate board, Pilar A. Ochi ’08, said that the initiative “gives you an ability to relate to a broader range of people and this skill is applicable to so many components of life.”
Last year, the center funded 23 research projects and 22 internships, according to the student programs coordinator, Christy Colburn.
Through the generous support of an anonymous donor, the center now has the ability to develop these programs and focus on the undergraduate experience both at Harvard and abroad, according to Craig.
The former president of the center’s undergraduate board, Alexander Bevilacqua ’07, said, “When I was a freshman, the center’s events had a different feel. Everyone in the audience had a PhD or had gray hair.”
“Now we are able to collaborate with these scholars instead of sitting behind them,” added Bevilacqua, who is also a Crimson editorial editor.
Catering to its younger audience, the center is featuring a podcast interview series entitled “VOIX—Voices from Europe.” The student-driven project allows undergraduates to ask questions to the center’s guests, such as French anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker Stéphane Breton, and the former French ambassador to the U.S., Jacques Andréani.
The first of a series of dinners with faculty and dignitaries is scheduled for Nov. 15, and will include the former Swedish minister of finance, Par Nuder.
The center has also scheduled thesis writing workshops, providing guidance to juniors who are choosing between topics and applying for funding and to seniors who are fine-tuning their arguments.
An internship program is also in the works with Harvard alumni in Europe. Students will have an opportunity to work in a variety of fields, ranging from the management of an estate in the Scottish highlands to working for a member of a European country’s parliament, said Craig.