Study Away Programs

The Honors College is dedicated to providing high impact learning experiences to our students in and outside of the classroom. Through our study away programs, we afford students opportunities to enrich their intellectual development and intercultural learning. We offer these opportunities through off-campus domestic experiences or through study abroad led by our faculty and faculty partners. These experiences facilitate enhanced learning about different communities, cultures, and socio-economic and technical issues in a variety of settings while gaining honors credits. They are offered during spring break and over the summer. In partnership with universities abroad, we also facilitate semester-long experiences.

Spring Break Programs

Berlin: Modernity and the Metropolitan Muse

Berlin is the quintessential modern city, capital of the twentieth century, center of ideological conflict, cultural migration and political revolution. It is a city of borders and border crossings, where remnants of the famous wall, dividing East from West, still dot the landscape in the form of hulking slabs, sprayed over with tributes to nonconformity. Its streets tell the story of European urbanization, of Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazi Party, of systematic genocide, of World War, and of mass migration. This course will explore these issues through examining mythic depictions of the city in literature and film. Our nine-day excursion will feature a six-day thematic tour of the city, focusing on topics including: The Modern City, The Rise of the Wall, The Influence of American Culture on Berlin, The Fall of the Wall, Turkish Guest-workers and Russian Immigration. We will address these topics in morning seminars, where we will discuss assigned readings from notable works of literature written in and about Berlin, translated into English. We will then move out into the city for guided tours of sites related to assigned readings, from museums and markets to historical neighborhoods and trendy clubs.

Faculty: Dr. Peter Moore

Location: Berlin, Germany

Date: March 9 - 17, 2018

Cost: $3,063

Credits: 2

Application Link:

Call out Day One: Tuesday 9/12/2017 at 5:00pm - 6:00pm in HCRS 1054

Call out Day Two: Tuesday 10/3/2017 at 5:00pm - 6:00pm in HCRN 1143

Da Vinci in Italy

The focus for the course will be that most famous Renaissance citizen, Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci in Italy explores the transition from the medieval period to the Renaissance across multiple disciplines, thus laying out how much of what we take for granted today about technology or the human subject was implemented in this rich period, especially in Italy. Led by professors from the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Engineering, the study-abroad program will take students to Venice, Milan, and Florence, Italy for Spring Break 2018. Our interdisciplinary approach allows students to think about the constructed nature of the things they take for granted as "natural" (e.g., time, space, human subjectivity, meaning, sight, gender, knowledge, and law), thus opening their eyes to the significance of cultural differences.

Faculty: Dr. Dino Felluga and Dr. Steve Wereley

Location:Italy: Florence, Milan and Venice

Date: March 9 - 17, 2018

Cost: $1,665 not including airfare and some meals

Credits: 2

Application Link:

Call out: Thursday 10/26/2017 at 7:00pm - 8:00pm in HCRS 1054

Food Security Abroad: Kenya

Join Dr. Gebisa Ejeta and program leaders Dr. Elizabeth Brite (Honors College) and Gary Burniske (Center for Food Security) in a learning experience centered on the operation, future directions, and limitations of food security initiatives in Africa. You will have the chance to visit major aid organizations in Nairobi, Kenya to learn about these organizations’ missions and practices, dialogue with representatives, and engage Dr. Ejeta in class discussions. The group will then fly to the western city of Eldoret, Kenya, where we will lodge at the “IU House” AMPATH-Kenya for several days of learning about research partnerships and farming practices in the area. In Eldoret, you will learn about the critical role of food security in local livelihoods and its centrality to ongoing initiatives by Purdue University, Indiana University, and others to improve outcomes in the region. All are welcome to apply, but preference will be given to students enrolled or previously enrolled in HONR 199: Food Security.

Faculty: Dr. Elizabeth Brite, Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Gary Burniske

Location: Kenya: Nairobi and Eldoret

Date: March 10 - March 18, 2018

Cost: $2,880 not including airfare and some meals

Credits: 2

Application Link:

Call out Day One: Wednesday 9/13/2017 at 5:00pm - 6:00pm at HCRS Reading Room

Call out Day Two: Wednesday 10/4/2017 at 5:00pm - 6:00pm at HCRS Reading Room

Jazz in NOLA

“Jazz happened in America…” and in this course we’ll investigate the social, economic, and intellectual conditions that influenced it’s inception and growth. We’re heading to New Orleans for our place-based investigation. While we’re there, we’ll access oral histories, photos, and scores within Tulane’s Hogan Jazz Archives to get sense of how jazz developed in New Orleans. Our time in the archives will lay a foundation for understanding black sub-cultures that developed in the South in response to oppressive life circumstances, and that ultimately lead to the unique musical system we call jazz. We’ll take a guided tour of the city to get a picture of the economic and social history embedded in the built environment. The tour will provide a visual context for the narratives we’ll hear and experience during our time in NOLA. You can count on plenty of live music performed by busking street performers and in sought after venues such as the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and Preservation Hall. We’ll frequent the Audubon Park via the St. Charles streetcar for necessary conversations and debriefing sessions during which we’ll discuss the improvisatory nature of jazz as an intellectual endeavor and a way of life. Of course we’ll participate in varying social rituals germane to New Orleans jazz culture such as second line parades. And what would a trip to New Orleans be without sampling the food on offer at legendary places such as Dooky Chase’s Restaurant and the various eateries in the French Quarter? This will be a whirlwind trip over spring break 2018, and an experience you won’t want to miss.

Faculty: Dr. Jason Ware

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date: March 10 - March 17, 2018

Cost: $1,600 not including airfare, meals, and transportation in NOLA

Credits: 2

Application Link:

Call out: Wednesday 9/6/2017 at 4:30pm - 6:00pm in HCRN 1143

Maymester Programs

India: The Monuments that Stand and the People who Left

The mystique of India lies in the palimpsest-like quality of its landscape. Layers upon layers of history – manifest in ancient ruins, medieval fortresses (the Taj Mahal is only the tip of the iceberg!), colonial architecture – mark India out as an enthralling site for exploration. What makes it even more unique is its chaotic, contradictory character: this gloriously checkered past sits right alongside the flashy malls and expansive slums of twenty-first century India. Our stay in Delhi – India’s capital and home to this resplendent, paradoxical landscape – will focus on discovering, together, what makes this magically-sutured city tick.

Our second goal in this course – and this is what will take us to the cities of Calcutta (in Eastern India) and Cochin (in South India) – will be to pay attention to the people who were/are being displaced by these glorious pasts and glitzy present. In order to really learn about a place, it is not enough only to study its ghostly monuments. It is equally important to learn about the people who geographically relocated. In this context, we will study the photographs, short stories, films and music produced by Indians on the move, as they left for Caribbean shores as indentured laborers in the early 20th century, and as cheap labor to the Gulf in the 21st century.

Faculty: Dr. Megha Anwer and Dr. Natasha Duncan

Location: India: Delhi, Cochin and Calcutta

Date: May 7 - May 25, 2018

Cost: $2755 Program Fee (includes most meals, lodging, domestic flights, and ground transportation); $1000 Airfare

Credits: 3 credits (*3 additional credits can be earned by taking POL 229-H: Waves of Globalization and Labor)

Call out Day One: Thursday 9/28/2017 at 5:00pm - 6:00pm in HCRN 1143

Call out Day Two: Thursday 11/16/2017 at 5:00pm - 6:00pm in HCRS 1054

Application Link:

Transylvania: Dracula and Beyond

Examine Bram Stoker's Dracula while learning about the historical figure of Vlad the Impaler and how contemporary Romanians regard Vlad. Also become familiar with how the the country deals with its various vampire legends and with the fictional depiction of their country in Stoker's novel. Visit such stunning sites as Sighisoara, Bran Castle (known as Dracula's Castle), and the Borgo Pass. Participating in village cultural celebrations while also learning about modern Romania rounds out this unforgettable experience.

Faculty: Dr. Diane Facinelli

Location: Romania - various cities and towns

Date: May 6 - May 14, 2018

Cost: $1,500 not including airfare and some meals

Credits: 3

Application Link:

Platform 9 and 3 quarters

"No matter how much you read, how many videos you watch, you won’t actually experience it until you go there."

French Street

"It helps you think strategically, critically; you gain an understanding of the world."


"I learned a lot about myself and learned to appreciate my own culture more, seeing how it contrasted with other cultures."

Study Away

"I was learning in a very hands-on way with people from every different major."

Liz Walker

"It really made me realize how small the world is and how connected we all are."

Two people in Africa

"It’s very fun, super educational, broadens your horizons and gives you a greater view of what’s out there."

Previous Programs

Spring Break Programs

HONR 299: Harry Potter Culture: London & Edinburgh

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series has provided a popular imaginative source from which to understand ourselves and the world around us. This course examines cultural and critical analyses of the Harry Potter literary works as a background to experiencing various locations in London and Edinburgh, which influenced the author’s stories and formed the basis of subsequent movie versions. Students are required to have read the seven novels prior to departure, to examine several critical analyses of the works, and to write responses to specific assignments. During the program, students will keep a journal of their experiences that addresses specific instructor-directed topics that include observations of and responses to the ways London and Edinburgh have reacted to the Harry Potter cultural phenomenon. Excursions to Stonehenge and Glastonbury and to memorials to witches burned in Edinburgh augment the course’s study of Harry Potter with readings on historical British attitudes toward wizards, witchcraft, and magic.

HONR 299: Venice And Padua 2017: Inventing Venice

Inventing Venice is a 2-credit immersive experience. “Inventing Venice” will take students to Venice and Padua, Italy, for March Break 2017 and will have as its textbook the city itself. Our focus will be on the Venetian empire, especially the world-changing transition from the Medieval period to the Renaissance that this region drove. We will consider art, architecture, music, and political history, and students will engage in cultural analysis of Venetian city life and spaces.

HONR 299: New Orleans 2017: Jazz in NOLA

To study jazz is to study away, to take one’s place in a boogaloo procession breaking out of the classroom and into the streets, the kitchens, the club, the porch, the hall. To study jazz is to trace a tradition that has itself traveled from Africa to the American South, from the South to the industrial North, and from there to corners the world. More than just a musical genre, jazz names a way of life, a means of recording history, a stump from which to express one’s personal needs and desires, a lab for the social production of culture. Along these lines, we will use the city of New Orleans and the style of New Orleans Jazz as a case point for understanding the music and culture of improvisation. We will explore the emergence of jazz music against the historical backdrop of the transatlantic slave trade and research the process by which a certain style of American music was solidified into a specific genre, known as jazz.

Our immersive curriculum will allow us to participate in the social rituals surrounding jazz, and investigate the many art forms influenced by jazz, from fashion and the culinary arts to poetry and dance. Taking a socio-political approach, we will contextualize jazz within the larger framework of black liberation in America. And jazz will also provide us with a critical lens through which to understand our contemporary moment. Through music, we will examine the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the local efforts to rebuild the city. But most importantly, students will gain an opportunity to develop a critical acumen for appreciating live jazz performance.

Although the trip will be carefully crafted to offer participants a once-in-a-lifetime tour of New Orleans and its musical heritage, we will be taking a note from the music itself and adopting an improvisatory spirit. Our goal is to follow the interests of the students and develop a truly organic set of learning opportunities. Interested parties can expect some version of the following: visiting numerous museums and cultural centers, participating in the tradition of the second line, touring the city’s iconic architecture and public spaces, learning the “secrets” of creole cooking, playing music with local performers, and listening to beaucoup live music.

Transylvania 2017: Dracula and Beyond

Students taking this Study Away course traveled to Romania with Honors College Assistant Dean Dr. Diane Facinelli, where they enhanced their learning about Bram Stoker’s Dracula, vampire legends and the historical figure of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler). They analyzed how contemporary Romania regards and uses historical and fictional accounts, by traveling to places detailed in the novel and those connected with Tepes. After spending a day in Bucharest, they traveled as a group to notable sites including Sighisoara, Castle Dracula, the Borgo Pass and Bran Castle.

French Food Culture 2017

Explore the rich culinary and cultural background of France. Rather than pursue a harried schedule of packing every morning and unpacking every night, students on this course enjoyed the peaceful surroundings of a French villa (Villa Beaulieu) between daily excursions to local farmers’ markets, a vineyard, an oil press and a chocolate maker. Scientists have been baffled about the observation that the French eat delicious, rich food and yet their rates of heart disease are less than the rates of Americans. Student participation in a wine and cheese class, as well as cooking classes, aided in their exploration of the phenomenon called the French paradox. The course capitalized on the scientific and social issues surrounding this controversy, while simultaneously immersing students in the culture of French food and eating patterns.

Explorations in Human Culture Diversity: Humans and Animals in Peru

Students on this trip joined Honors College Professor Liz Brite in Peru, where they explored the diverse ways that humans interact with animals in different cultural and environmental contexts. They worked in collaboration with Peruvian graduate students to gain insight into the diversity and complexity of live in Peru. Highlights included incredible scenery, from the coastal desert, all the way up into the pure air of the Andes Mountains.

Semester Long Programs

Copernican Scholar Exchange Program

An exchange program between the Purdue University Honors College and the Honors College at the Università degli Studi di Padova for two “Copernican Scholars” is set for 2016-2017. Scholar selections will be made prior to the end of May 2016, and the two students selected will serve as ambassadors for the Italian honors student, who will be studying at Purdue during the fall 2016 semester. The Purdue students will then study at the Scuola Galileiana di Studi Superiori (the Università’s Galileo Honors College) from approximately March 1—June 30, 2017. Classes offered cover all majors, are taught in English, and carry honors credit if taken through the Scuola Galileiana. Before students register for spring classes in Padua, the Honors College will work with Purdue departments to determine possible transfer credit. The Presidential Study Abroad Scholarship of $3,000 is available for students as well as an additional Purdue Honors College scholarship, which will further lower costs below that for a regular semester at Purdue.

Please contact our Director of Honors Study Away Programs, Dr. Natasha Duncan: