Emerson introduces study abroad programs in Sweden, Japan, Ecuador, Montreal


Paul Niwa/Courtesy

Journalism Professor Paul Niwa took students to Japan in summer 2019.

By Jenny Ferm

The college introduced four new Global Pathways summer programs in Sweden, Japan, Ecuador, and Montreal for 2020 with applications open from Nov. 1 to Feb. 1.

Business of Creative Enterprise Director and professor Weseley Jackson and affiliated BCE faculty Robert Lyons created the Sweden program, called “Blueprinting Innovations,” that focuses on the popularity of multiple Swedish-based businesses such as Spotify, H&M, and IKEA. 

Students in the Sweden program will spend the majority of the time in Stockholm with day trips to Gothenburg and Drottningholm Palace from July 18 until Aug. 16. The course offers students four BC 320 elective credits.

Students will share apartments in Stockholm and take a series of classes in the city. However, Jackson stressed the many opportunities students will have to explore Swedish culture. 

“Our desire is to spend as little time in a classroom as possible,” Jackson said. “Like, why go to Sweden to just sit in a room that we could sit in Boston?”

The Sweden program is not partnered with a Swedish university, but Jackson said the college will supply students with a space in a facility operated by WeWork, a real estate company providing shared workspaces available for rent around the globe.

The program stemmed from conversations between Jackson and Lyons on the numerous Swedish-based businesses prevalent in Western and American economies and their curiosity with their origin. 

Across the globe, a second study abroad program will send students to Japan.

Associate Journalism Professor Paul Niwa and America’s Test Kitchen food journalist Lisa McManus put together a program focusing on the culinary culture of Japan and how it has integrated into Western culture. 

The duo centered the program in Tokyo and Kyoto, with occasional day trips to Osaka. The program will last 10 days, tentatively set for May 10 to 21 and will accept eight to 15 students. The Tokyo program will offer eight credits. 

This program will be one of three Emerson study abroad programs that travels to Asia. The other two are Hong Kong exchange programs.

In Tokyo, students will not stay in Western hotels, but in traditional style Ryokan inns in Kyoto. The inns offer tatami-matted living areas and feature communal baths and public spaces. 

Much like Jackson’s program, McManus wants students to explore Japan.

“I don’t want to be in a classroom—we want to be in Japan,” McManus said.

Students will have opportunities to take immersive cooking classes, tour knife factories, travel to restaurants, and experience Japanese culinary culture.

Another Global Pathways program is sending students to Ecuador to study sustainable tourism in the country’s capital, Quito.  

Associate Economics Professor Nejem Raheem and the marketing department chair at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito Ximena Ferro are finalizing a six-week ecotourism operation in the mountains of Quito focusing on integrating modern tourism into the community while still preserving the culture. 

“It’s an interesting challenge to work on this while still respecting their conservation mission,” Raheem said. 

Raheem said the people of Quito don’t want any drastic changes to the way they operate tourism but are allowing students to integrate some modern marketing techniques to improve their economy. 

“To do that, students have to learn about biodiversity conservation, sustainable tourism, sustainable economic development; they have to learn about the history of the land and land laws,” Raheem said. “They really need to understand the context of their environment.” 

The program will last from May 18 to June 20. 

The Global Pathways team is partnering with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito to give students coursework equivalent to eight credits that fulfill a marketing class and interdisciplinary perspective requirement. 

A majority of the program is spent in Quito as students take classes at the university. 

Students will also spend a week in the Galapagos Islands where they will engage in snorkeling trips, boat trips, and hiking excursions. 

“Students are going to see how tourism works in the Galapagos, they will get some exposure to the local environment,” Raheem said. 

Students will stay with host families arranged by the college for most of the trip. 

The trips’ cost is estimated to be $10,500 per student, which includes all expenses except airfare to Quito. 

The fourth new Global Pathways program is centered in Montreal, Canada. 

Associate Visual and Media Arts professors Korbett Mathews and Mark Fields are working on a program that will give seniors the opportunity to explore documentary and research filmmaking. 

“It’s a four-week intensive documentary filmmaking lab that is essentially going to allow students to explore the past, present, and future of documentary production,” Mathews said. 

The program is partnering with Concordia University in downtown Montreal where students will live from late May to late June. The college will give students eight credits at the 400-course level.

“They will be looking at the full range of possibility to explore nonfiction in a contemporary digital context,” Mathews said. 

Students will work with many professionals in the Canadian film industry, looking at interactive and virtual reality documentary work.

“The whole idea is that students are able to have hands-on experiences in a number of different production mediums and can think about newfound possibilities with documentary exploration,” Mathews said. 

Mathews emphasized the many opportunities students will have through the program. 

“It’s going to be a smorgasbord where students get exposed to multiple different types of documentary practices,” Mathews said. 

All of the new programs, despite having specific areas of concentration, are open to all majors for application. The Montreal, Tokyo, and Sweden programs do not have set costs yet.