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Cuba Extended Study – Fall 2018

By Aaron Solle on August 27, 2019

By Pamela White ’19

In Professor Laura Klugherz’s Core Cuba course our first assignment was to write what we knew about Cuba coming into the class. I was a sophomore when I completed the assignment and I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything more than “cigars, missile crisis, and old-fashioned cars.” The point of this exercise was to give Professor Klugherz a general idea of what the students knew about Cuba, but also to show how little common knowledge actually exists about Cuba in the United States. When I took the course, Professor Klugherz informed me that she planned to take a study group to Cuba. This course had further sparked my interest in becoming a Latin American studies major and led me to officially declare, with Professor Klugherz as my adviser. As soon as she told me that there was the potential to study on the ground in Cuba, I knew I wanted to be part of that trip no matter what. After several years of hard work on the part of Professor Klugherz, staff at Colgate, and IFSA Butler in Cuba the trip finally came together. At the end of my second to last semester at Colgate I had the extraordinary opportunity to take part in the extended study to Cuba. It was an experience that has defined my academic career and one that I will never forget.

On the trip we spent the majority of our time in Havana. The group was made up of ten students. Three of us had taken the inaugural Core Cuba class in 2016, but the majority of the group had taken the course in the Fall of 2018 right before our trip. During our stay we lived with host families in the neighborhood of Vedado. Another student and I stayed with a woman named Madeline (she asked us to call her “Made”) and her parents. They were gracious hosts and we were fortunate that her father had previously been a cook, so every meal we were served was more delicious than the last. Our days were busy, filled with classes, lectures, and site visits. Cuban professors came into our classes to lecture about their areas of expertise including, U.S./Cuba relations, education reforms in Cuba, race and gender in Cuba, and music. These lectures gave us the opportunity to learn and also exchange knowledge with experts in Cuba. Additionally, each student presented to the class on a research topic relating to Cuba that they had worked on for a full semester. These presentations were paired with site visits that heightened the experience for the whole group. We visited a former tobacco plantation that is now an expansive bioreserve community. Art and music dominated most of our trip, from the murals painted on walls in the streets to the fine arts museums we visited to the Havana International Jazz festival we attended (and sat in the front row!). On the weekends we traveled out of Havana to Santa Clara, Cienfuegos and Trinidad.

I mean it when I say that this trip was the highlight and defining point of my Colgate academic career. There is something unique and priceless about having the opportunity to see the things and people you have studied in real life. A full semester of readings and research could never have helped me to understand the complexities of Cuba in the way that my three weeks there did. All of the people that we met and conversed with in Cuba were friendly and shaped my favorite memories of Cuba. Drinking coffee in an all English language bookstore in the middle of Havana, talking with Cuban student activists about U.S. politics was an experience that I could never have imagined, but now it is one I will never forget. I will always be grateful to Colgate and to Professor Klugherz for this opportunity to expand my understanding of Cuba and Latin America outside of the classroom. I am already planning my next visit to Cuba to see the beauty of Las Terrazas once more and to drink the only iced coffee in Havana at Cuba Libre bookstore. My favorite quote I heard in Cuba was from a philosophy professor who said, “Visitors will never understand Cuba because Cubans themselves cannot even fully define it.” This perfectly encapsulates the complex and ever-changing climate of Cuba. The climate I never would have even begun to understand without living and breathing Cuba for three weeks. 

Colgate offers first extended study opportunity in Cuba

By Aaron Solle on May 16, 2018
Next winter break, students will travel to Havana, Cuba, for three weeks as part of Colgate’s first credit-bearing extended study trip to the island. Led by Professor Laura Klugherz, the trip will be the culmination of the Core 198 course Cuba: History, Culture, and Life.

Klugherz held an information session on April 30 in the Office of Off-Campus Study for students accepted to the program. To provide a student perspective, Anna Santiago ’18 spoke about her experience studying in Cuba during the fall 2016 semester with a non-Colgate program.

Santiago, a peace and conflict studies (PCON) and Spanish double major from Arlington, Va., shared photos and stories from her three months in Havana. She lived with a host family and went to classes at the Universidad de La Habana in partnership with IFSA-Butler.

“As a PCON major, being able to walk through a city where so much history has taken place, and is still taking place, is fascinating,” Santiago said.

This past March, Santiago was invited to speak about her experiences in Havana at the annual conference of the Forum on Education Abroad during a panel called “Education Abroad in Uncertain Times: Case Study Cuba.”

Once a major tourism destination for Americans, Cuba was essentially closed to U.S. citizens from 1959 until 2014, when Presidents Barack Obama and Fidel Castro loosened travel restrictions between the United States and the island.

Next year, Klugherz and her students will visit museums, attend musical performances, and hear guest lectures in order to learn about the long history of Havana as a global city. Excursions will include two colonial cities, a sugar central, and a tobacco vega. Students’ research topics in Core Cuba will inform the topics explored while abroad.

Like Santiago, Klugherz’s students will live in casas particulares, or host homes, and share meals with their host families in order to immerse themselves in the culture. Housing, excursions, and student support will be organized by IFSA-Butler, which has been operating in Cuba since 2000.

Enrollment in Core Cuba is a prerequisite for the extended study program, as is a minimum of two semesters of Spanish language training.

“Cuban Spanish is one of the hardest Spanish dialects to understand and speak,” Santiago said. “But being able to come back confident in my language abilities was so worth it.”

One Time, One Meeting (Ichigo-Ichie 一期一会) by John Mueller ’86

By Aaron Solle on November 17, 2017

Written by Professor Yukari Hirata

John Mueller currently works as the Director of Investments at a wealth management firm in Tokyo, and lives there with his wife Yoko and his son Justin. His life is a manifestation of a 16th-century Japanese tea master’s teaching, Ichigo-Ichie: “one time, one meeting,” or cherish every encounter as a “once-in-a-life-time” moment.

At Colgate, he entered Colgate pre-med, without any East Asian language experience, but ended up graduating with an Economics and Japanese double major, which he called “a major shift.”

To John, “the study group program at Colgate, and specifically the Japan Study Group, is one of the schools’ treasures that more people should know about.” Since he joined Colgate Kyoto Study Group in 1985, he has still been in touch and just had dinner with his homestay family in Kyoto in November 2017. A semester abroad has turned into a 32-year relationship with a Japanese family.

John remembers Professor John Morris, whom he describes as “a rather irreverent but brilliant Australian Japanese Studies professor” who took him on the Japan study group. John also had Aizawa Yoichi sensei, whom he remembers as “the ever watchful patriarch” and “a major factor” in how much he enjoyed learning about Japan. “Both of the professors were never short of interesting stories and life experiences.”

To John, Japan Center (107 Lawrence Hall) has become “a home away from home” as he spent so much time there studying Japanese.

John thinks his life was shaped by his Colgate years in many ways.

“I met my wife Yoko as she was part of the group showing us around Tokyo soon after the study group’s arrival in Japan. So in a way, if I had not attended Colgate, I probably would never have been on the Japan Study Group, I would not have met my wife, my son Justin would not be here, and would also not be applying to Colgate. This is why looking back it is amazing how much my college experience set in motion everything that I have been so thankful for ever since.”

“I think I am living proof of the Japanese saying 一期一会. I was very saddened by Aizawa sensei’s passing, and as best I can I want to continue to support the Japan Studies program at Colgate.”


Blogging from Xiamen, China

By Aaron Solle on November 3, 2017

Claire Sharpe ’19, majoring in Mathematical Economics, is currently studying abroad in Xiamen, China, as part of the Xiamen University exchange program. Claire has started her own blog, “Claire Takes China”, and has allowed us to share her posts.  Claire’s blog can be found here: https://clairetakeschina.wordpress.com/

Off-Campus Study Congratulates Students Who Placed on IFSA-Butler’s Academic Achievement List

By Aaron Solle on November 3, 2017

Colgate University’s Office of Off-Campus Study congratulates the following students who achieved a 3.5 or higher GPA while on an IFSA-Butler Approved Program, placing them on IFA-Butler’s Academic Achievement List:

William Stewart – Queen Mary, University of London
Marcell Sandor – University of Sydney
Kristen Cusumano – University of Sydney
Xintong Liue – Cambridge, Pembroke College
Leda Rosenthal – James Cook University
Nicholas Adamopoulos – King’s College London
Nolan Smyth – King’s College London
Hoang Nam Nguyen – University College London
Madelyn Haller – University College London
Alana Resnick – University of Edingburgh
Franklin van Nes – Victoria University of Wellington

2017 International Student Travel Video Contest

By Aaron Solle on September 21, 2017

The 12th annual InternationalStudent.com travel video contest is now open for entries! The winning video will receive $4,000 and their very own blog on InternationalStudent.com.

Students studying abroad, and those who want to study abroad, are welcome to enter.

To enter, students would need to submit a 5 minute video indicating why they want to study abroad, or if you’re an international student who is already studying abroad, what trip they would want to take.

The deadline to apply is October 13th.

Further information on the contest could be found on the official contest page:


Past entries can be found here:


Congratulations to Approved Program Participants Recognized for Academic Achievement

By Aaron Solle on June 23, 2017

Congratulations to the following students, who were recognized by their host study abroad institutions for academic achievement.  They studied abroad during the Fall 2016 semester through IFSA-Butler, and all achieved the equivalent of a 3.5 GPA or higher.

Emma Byrne (Biochemistry) University of Otago, New Zealand

Maria Cesarini (Natural Sciences, English) Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Maggie Cusick (Psychology) University College Dublin, Ireland

Jacob Daugherty (Psychology) Queen Mary University of London, England

Shannon Dauscher (Biology) University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Talia Fragner (Psychology) University of Sydney, Australia

Elizabeth Gallina (Psychology) Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Katherine Kelleher (Physics, Computer Science) University of Sydney, Australia

Woohee Kim (Education) University of Oxford, Hertford College, England

Isabel Lankler (Peace and Conflict Studies) University of Sydney, Australia

Anna Muse (Molecular Biology) University of Sydney, Australia

Allison Nyer (Psychology) Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Delaney Pals (Geography) Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Tess Ruff (Neuroscience) University of Sydney, Australia

Anna Santiago (Spanish, Peace and Conflict Studies) Universidad de la Habana, Cuba

Quan Vu (Mathematics, Computer Science) University of Oxford, Worcester College, England

Jacob Wasserman (Geography) Universidad de la Habana, Cuba

Professor Kezia Page Leads the Spring 2017 West Indies Study Group

By Aaron Solle on June 21, 2017

The Spring 2017 West Indies study group is just returning back to Colgate, but there’s already an article about the program in the Colgate News! Read more about their experiences here: http://news.colgate.edu/2017/06/professor-kezia-page-leads-jamaica-study-group.html/.

Raiders in London

By Aaron Solle on March 2, 2017

Before departing on the spring 2017 study groups, each Colgate run program were provided with two laminated pictures of the Colgate Raider, with the intention of having the students participating on the study groups take pictures with the Raider in their various locals.

We’ve received many excellent pictures from all around the world, which you can view on Colgate’s Flicker account, and the hashtag #raidereverywhere.

The London History study group, currently being led by Professor of History, Robert Nemes, created an Instagram profile called Raiders in London, where they are posting pictures of the Raider’s adventure around London. On this account, you can see the Raider enjoy local foods, scenery, and visit national monuments.



Adventures in Tanzania

By Aaron Solle on February 22, 2017

Sarah Anderson ’18, a Biology major, is currently participating on the SIT approved program in Arusha, Tanzania, and blogging about her experiences in Africa.  To learn more about Sarah’s adventures, you can follow her blog here: https://sanzania.wordpress.com/

Colgate Student on Approved Program Blogging About Her Experience

By Aaron Solle on January 27, 2017

Maria Amorosso ’18, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Spanish, is blogging about her experience for IES Abroad while studying in Salamanca, Spain.

You can read all about her experiences here: https://www.iesabroad.org/study-abroad/blogs/author/549656

End-of-the-Year Study Group Reflection – Danielle Kliger ’18 (Fall 2016 London Econ Study Group)

By Aaron Solle on December 15, 2016

Students studying abroad during the Fall 2016 term were prompted with the question, “As your semester abroad comes to an end, what advice would you give to future study-abroad students from Colgate? What will you miss the most? What has been most shocking to you? How have you changed because of this experience?”

In the coming weeks, we will highlight the responses from those students who are studying abroad.

Danielle Kliger ’18, who is a Mathematical Economics major and participating in the London Economics Study Group, shares her story below:

It was our first weekend spent away from London. Due to last minute planning and expensive flights, my friends and I decided to explore closer to home. This brought us to the little seaside town of Brighton. Now there isn’t much to do in Brighton, so naturally we found ourselves with wine in hand, an overwhelming plate of seafood, and engaging conversation. It was here that I began jotting a note in my phone of all of the places and things we wanted to cover while abroad. This journey of trying new things began right then and there when Lindsay, my flatmate, tried an oyster for the first time. With disgust and slight confusion, she stated, “I don’t get the point.” Clearly, we had a long way to go.

 Fast forward four months with fifteen cities and eight countries behind us, and a few more first time experiences, we gathered around yet another dinner table and decided to look back at the note. An overwhelming sense of panic set in when we came face to face with the realization that we had achieved little from the list we had been so keen on covering. What have we been doing this whole time? After this alarming moment had subdued, I realized that going abroad wasn’t necessarily about checking items off of a list, but it was about stepping outside of my Colgate community and experiencing something new.

This past semester, I have had the opportunity and great privilege to study economics through a global lens, to explore cultures and areas around Europe, and to most importantly call London my home. I was able to learn firsthand from former Labour Party councillor, Rima Horton, about the UK healthcare and education system, as well as a host of different guest lecturers. I got to live the Colgate bubble in a bustling city–the ideal combination. Lucky enough, I was able to share this experience with fifteen other Colgate peers, people that I wouldn’t have gotten to know had I not been on a Colgate study abroad program. Through our mutual discomfort that a new city brings and the desire to make this our home, we became close.Beyond the classroom, our group attended twelve theatre productions, spent three weeks at various internships, and explored the London nightlife.

Through these experiences, I have made the transition from feeling like a tourist to feeling like a local, a transition that I think is only made possible by living in the city for an extended period of time. I have tried new foods, seen historical monuments, walked the streets in other European countries, and have in turn grown as an individual. I have a deeper appreciation of the British and European culture and a newfound understanding that although stepping outside of my comfort zone leaves me vulnerable, it is the only way to gain a new perspective on the world.

As sad as it is to leave my home here in London and transition back to small town living, I take comfort in knowing that my experiences weren’t short term but will stay with me. The economics that I have learned will aid in my future studies and the friendships I have made will only become stronger in the future. Most importantly, the independence that I have gained is something that will shape how I view the world moving forward. It is for these reasons that I recommend stepping outside of the comfort of Hamilton and venturing off to see the world around us, not because you have sites to check off, but because these new experiences will diversify your lens and broaden your horizons.


Off-Campus Study Congratulates Colgate Gilman International Scholarship Awardees

By Aaron Solle on November 30, 2016

Congratulations to Kadian Dixon’18  and Haley Allen’18, who have been offered U.S. Department of State Gilman International Scholarships to support their Spring 2017 study abroad.  They are among the 850 undergraduates chosen to receive awards from over 2,700 who applied for spring semester.

Kadian is an Africana & Latin American studies major. She will participate in Colgate’s Jamaica Study Group, led by Professor Kezia Page (English and Africana & Latin American Studies) who will offer courses on Jamaican literature, arts and culture.  Kadian will live and attend two additional classes at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

As a Latin American Studies and Political Science double major, Haley is interested current affairs in post-dictatorship democracies. She will study in Buenos Aires, Argentina on SIT’s Social Movements and Human Rights program.  Haley says that Argentina’s “rich history of political organization (makes it) an ideal location to study social movements and grassroots influence on national and international politics.” She looks forward to meeting her host family.

The Gilman Scholarships Program awards up to $5000 to eligible students for semester-long study abroad in countries all around the world.  Off-Campus Study will hold an information meeting early in the Spring semester for eligible students interested in applying for the Fall 2017. The deadline to apply for a Gilman Scholarship for Fall 2017 is March 7, 2017.

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) is Now Accepting Applications

By Aaron Solle on November 17, 2016

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) 2017-2018 application cycle is open as of November 16th!

Since 2011, FEA has been helping Rainbow SIG expand access to study abroad for our LGBTQI students by granting Rainbow Scholarships of up to $10,000 to deserving students.

The Rainbow Scholarship increases access for self-identified LGBTQI students at any U.S. college or university, and is made possible by dedicated members of the Rainbow SIG of NAFSA, FEA board members, donors and volunteers. To date, twelve Rainbow Scholars have been awarded, including two Silver Lining Fund recipients (anonymous recipients).
Please visit the website: http://fundforeducationabroad.org/applicants/ for information about their requirements, their scholarship opportunities, and a link to their application.

Colgate Students on China Study Group Intern at the Mall

By Aaron Solle on October 24, 2016

John Crespi, Luce Associate Professor of Chinese at Colgate University, wanted something different for the students participating on the study group to China that he is leading in fall 2016.  Something that would provide his students extensive Chinese language practice and rich involvement in Chinese society.  Which led to Professor Crespi working CET (China Educational Tours, a study abroad provider) to help create a program to have his students work at the mall.

Read more about the special program here, and read about the students’ experience here.

The New York Times Asks “When to Shake Hands, Hug or Kiss”

By Aaron Solle on October 24, 2016

On October 21st, the New York Times published an article on “A Traveler’s Guide to Customs: When to Shake Hands, Hug or Kiss”.  You might end up touching noses in New Zealand, figuring out how many air kisses to give in France, or receiving a bone-crushing handshake in Russia.

Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/22/world/what-in-the-world/travel-greetings.html


“A Pretty Unreal Day” by Emma Newmann ‘ 18

By Aaron Solle on October 20, 2016

Emma Newmann ’18 (English major) is currently on an Approved Program with the SEA Semester program. On October 14th, 2016, Ms. Newmann wrote about an experience studying at sea on the SSV Robert C. Seamans, which at the time was docked at Nuku’alofa Wharf, Tongatapu, Tonga.

You can read more about her adventures here:

2016 International Student Travel Video Contest

By Aaron Solle on September 15, 2016

The 11th annual InternationalStudent.com travel video contest is now open for entries! The winning video will receive $4,000 and their very own blog on InternationalStudent.com.

Students studying abroad, and those who want to study abroad, are welcome to enter.

To enter, students would need to submit a 5 minute video telling us why they want to study abroad, or if you’re an international student who is already studying abroad, what trip they would want to take.

The deadline to apply is October 14th.

Further information on the contest could be found on the official contest page:


Past entries can be found here:



How to Vote While Studying Abroad

By Aaron Solle on August 25, 2016
Although you won’t be able to visit a local polling station on November 8, you may cast your vote via absentee ballot according to the requirements and policies specific to your state of residence.
How to Vote While Studying Abroad explains the simple steps you must follow to vote:
  • If you are uncertain about your voter registration status, check www.canivote.org.
  • Submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register (if you are not already registered) and request an absentee ballot. It is important to observe your state’s deadlines!
  • Receive an electronic or hard copy ballot. Complete the ballot. And submit the ballot before the posted deadline. (Put an individual ballot in an envelope with correct postage and mail from Colgate or your country of study to your state of residence.)
Whether you have already departed the United States or are still in the country, we at Colgate’s Center for International Programs encourage you to vote via absentee ballot!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Off-Campus Study at off-campusstudy@colgate.edu.

The New York Times Informs Us “What to Do If You Get Sick Abroad”

By Aaron Solle on August 19, 2016

“Getting sick can put a damper on any vacation, but it can be especially unsettling and even scary when it happens in another country. Here, Matthew Klapetzky, a registered nurse and the clinical director of Passport Health, the travel clinic at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, shares tips on what to do if illness hits you while abroad.”

Click here to read more from the New York Times!