Bryn Mawr’s International Summer Programs Going Strong
Each of the four international summer programs of Bryn Mawr College has come through challenging times to continue to offer exceptional learning opportunities to students.
After a virtual program in 2021, the Institut d’Avignon returns to Avignon, France for its 60th anniversary, from June 11 to July 21. During their six-week stay, 52 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 20 American universities will take two courses offered by invited faculty from Bowdoin, Colby, Haverford, Princeton, Sciences-Po Reims, Scripps, UCLA, and the Université de Montpellier III. 16 Bryn Mawr Students and three Haverford students will participate.
Guest speakers include Olivier Py, Director of the Avignon Theatre Festival, Aurélia Michel from the Université de Paris-Diderot, whose research focuses on Black and Latin Americas, Natalya Vince from the University of Portsmouth (UK), whose research focuses on the Algerian Revolution, and Olivia Rosenthal, French novelist and playwright. The Institut d’Avignon is a six-week intensive and fully immersive summer program in advanced French and Francophone studies, and in Theater studies, for undergraduate and graduate students. In the medieval city of Avignon, in Provence, in the south of France. Established in 1962, it is one of the oldest and longest continually running study abroad programs.
The Russian Language Institute Summer 2022 program is scheduled to run from June 8 to August 3, 2022. It will return to an in-person format for the beginning Russian course, which has not been offered since summer 2019 due to the pandemic. The program is retaining its remote format for the intermediate and advanced Russian courses after assessing its value to students in these levels. The program expects to have 20 participants, six of whom are from Bryn Mawr. This summer’s faculty are all returning RLI instructors and are from Bryn Mawr College, al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Rutgers University, and Stetson University. In addition to the faculty and co-directors, RLI staff includes both a student activities coordinator and tutor who just completed the Bryn Mawr Russian Domestic Flagship program and will be entering the Russian Overseas Flagship program in fall 2022. This summer the program participants can look forward to a cultural program that contains both remote and in-person elements for those students on campus.
The Russian Language Institute offers a highly focused curriculum and a study environment conducive to the rapid development of the four language skills (oral, listening, writing, reading) as well as cultural competence. Course offerings are designed to accommodate a full range of language learners, from the beginner to the advanced level (three levels total). Through the highly intensive course work and culturally rich immersion environment, students receive the equivalent of an academic year of college-level intensive Russian in eight weeks. The program draws participants from a broad spectrum of academic fields, occupations, ages, and interests. The program is open to students of all genders over the age of 16 who are at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate level. Most students complete the full eight-week program, but a four-week option is also available.
Since 2018, the Bi-Co Arabic Program and Global Bryn Mawr have been collaborating with Sijal Institute in Amman on the development of a summer learning experience for students to expand their global knowledge. Each year the model has evolved as the partnership has grown from a focus on language learning and cultural immersion to include a broader conception of Middle East Studies with a content course taught by Bryn Mawr faculty and the possibilities of entwining language learning with a five-week externship.
Sijal is an institute of Arabic language and culture founded by scholars of Arab culture, history, and society. They offer intensive instruction at all levels for students seeking to learn Arabic in Jordan. The Institute also acts as a hub of intellectual and cultural events, bringing together scholars, artists, and specialists across a broad range of expertise and disciplines, for seminars, workshops and special programs.
This summer, eight students will participate (seven in-person and one remotely) including five from BMC (four undergraduates and one graduate student) and three from Haverford. The students come in with different levels of Arabic and the Sijal instructors meet them at their level. This year, four of the eight students will also be participating in externship experiences with organizations based in Amman and with support from Bryn Mawr’s Career & Civic Engagement Center and Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship. The content course, The Archaeology of Jordan and the Middle East, will be be taught by Bryn Mawr College Visiting Professor Matthew Jameson.
This summer, Laɣim Tehi Tuma/Thinking Together, the action research program Bryn Mawr co-leads, will celebrate its tenth anniversary with special projects and a new partnership.
Laɣim Tehi Tuma (or LTT) facilitates an international threshold across various higher education institutions and grassroots organizations in the Northern Region of Ghana to reconceptualize education with global Black liberation at its center. Working with university partners including Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, the University for Development Studies, and Lincoln University, LTT sustains a platform for collaborative thinking through inquiry research, critical language and cultural arts engagement, and internships within community-powered organizations, and through engaging Black studies to open questions about intervening in the colonial frameworks of dominant education systems and fostering movement toward just and thriving futures.
This summer, as student fellows intern in early childhood education, computer literacy, and community radio, they will connect this work with language and cultural learning as they carry out personal research projects. These inquiries will be published in a tenth anniversary yearbook as students also collaborate with LTT’s Scholar-in-Residence on pieces for a range of audiences. A new collaboration with Community College of Philadelphia’s programs in Black Studies and International Education will create thought partnership among students in what is emerging as a Philadelphia-area and Ghana-based Black Studies consortium. Six students based in Ghana will participate in LTT in person, while US-based students, four from Bryn Mawr and three from Lincoln University, will participate remotely, using a mix of media in what has been a successful model for the past two summers. Hopefully, next summer in-person work across the board is ahead.
As part of the tenth year observances, LTT has been engaging program alum, now numbering 80, in reflection on its path and way forward. This summer, that discernment process will continue, as program alum consult with current students and program leadership on the vision to sustain this work. It is noteworthy that the alum group is itself an international group, with capacity to connect with shared purpose across Ghana, the US, and a range of countries Bi-Co alum fellows came to the Colleges from, including Togo, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Kenya, China, Indian, and Pakistan.
LTT grew out of one of the first 360° clusters, Learning and Narrating Childhoods, in 2012, in partnership with Titagya Schools, Ghana. The original 360° cluster allowed the seed of the program to germinate by providing interdisciplinary and global approaches to the subjects of education and child development, and their bases in language, literacy, and culture. The program has since upheld these interests, working to balance academic research and perspectives with experiential learning and expertise.