Spring 2020 Preview Courses

Preview is a two-credit, spring semester course for first-year and new transfer students at Arcadia University, offering a weeklong international experience over spring break. These unique courses are taught weekly in the spring semester on campus and culminate in a weeklong field study overseas. The field study is designed for students to examine the rich complexities of their studies, including history, music, art, global economy, and popular culture. 

Dublin, Ireland & Derry, Northern Ireland

Course: Wherever Green is Worn:  Modern Ireland Through History and Tradition
Faculty: Timothy Barton
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

No longer simply the land of saints and scholars, green fields and stone walls, St. Patrick and the gift of gab, modern Ireland is a multifaceted society facing the global challenges of the twenty-first century, while still cherishing and embracing its history and the world-renowned sense of Irishness. This course will examine how the influence of Ireland’s past, both internal and external, helped to shape its place in today’s world. Focusing on Irish history, literature, and traditional culture, the course will explore the development of Ireland from its Celtic past to today, the continuing tensions in Northern Ireland, and the impact of 80 million people around the world looking toward Ireland as their ancestral home. While abroad, you will be engaged in experiences in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Highlights include walking tours of Dublin, lectures on modern Irish history, a visit to the Irish parliament, a daytrip to Derry, a visit to ancient and medieval ruins outside of Dublin, and time in a seaside village.

Photo by Alex Reid '17

Florence, Italy

Course: Science, Technology, Society, and Culture: Exploring the Cities of Philadephia and Florence
Faculty: Augusto Macalalag and Jessie Guinn
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

The city of Philadelphia played a pivotal role in shaping the development of a new democracy, while the city of Florence played a role in the initiation of the Italian Renaissance.  Both cities are steeped in scientific discovery and the advancement of their repsective countries.  In this course, students identify and examine the scientific pioneers, their discoveries and developments, and how the local culture and society fostered their work.  Student participation in a variety of discussions and field explorations in Philadelphia, PA and Florence, Italy introduces them to the interplay of science, society, and culture of two historic and well-known cities.  Examples of field study include Brunellechi's discovery of linear perspective and its use in art, the invention of mechanical devices for building construction and  used in erecting the dome of the Florence cathedral, leonardo de Vinci's Galileo's discovery of the Laws of Motion and his development and use of the telescope to advance astronomy.  Students will also explore the societal and political contributions of Benjamin Franklin and the Medici Family in the technological advances made during the italian Renaissance and Colonial America.  

Galway, Ireland

Course: Authentic Ireland: Authentic Ireland: Exploring the Wild Atlantic Way, its Ecosystems and its Residents
Faculty: Maryann Worrell and Krista Profit
Time: Tuesday from 4-6 p.m.

Designed for adventurous students who love hiking, outdoor excursions, the ocean, fresh air, small towns and gorgeous landscapes, this course will introduce you to Irish history, culture and music through Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, where Irish-speaking people abound and most road signs are in both English and Irish.  You will explore the settlement and ecological history of the West of Ireland, and the area's continued dedication to sustaining the natural beauty and resources of this unique landscape.  You will learn about the interconnected relationship of Irish immigration and American history, as well as the specific nature of Ireland’s West.  By exploring the town of Doolin (just below the Cliffs of Moher), the city of Galway, one of the Aran Islands (Inishmore), the Burren, and the Connemara peninsula, students will be exposed to five very different environments that are within a 100 mile radius of each other. 

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Course: Vietnam & the United States: Then and Now
Faculty: Peter Siskind 
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

This course, which includes a one-week travel component to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (formerly Saigon), explores the past and present relationships between Vietnam and the United States in a global context. You will examine a range of topics including the complexity of the Vietnam War itself (or what is called the American War in Vietnam), Vietnamese migrants and refugees in the U.S., and public health legacies of the war. In addition to the travel component, you will draw on oral history narratives and examine the rapid urban growth of Ho Chi Minh City as part of investigating, exploring, and reflecting on the meanings of the many connections between the U.S. and Vietnam. This program will require you to purchase a visa (approximate cost $25). 

London, UK

Course: Behind the Music Biz: Exploring the Urban Music Scene and Gentrification in London and Philadelphia
Faculty: Bruce Campbell 
Time: Mondays from 4-6 p.m.

This course provides an in depth comparative experience in both the London and Philadelphia music scenes. We begin by discussing the history and types of music that are found in urban London and Philadelphia. In groups, you will research an aspect of the music scene (artists, recording, production, distribution, touring and shows, and technology). You will attend a live show in the Philadelphia area and present in groups on an aspect of the music scene as well as your experiences at the show. We will use technology to locate and assign web content (e.g., music, video, blogs) as readings for the course. Guest speakers who have roots in the Philadelphia music scene will discuss with the class the history and current music scene in Philadelphia. During your time in London, you will again attend a music show and visit a variety of places related to the music scene (e.g., radio stations, recording studios, etc). You will make a comparison between your experiences in Philadelphia and London. These comparisons form the basis for your final product to be presented at the Global Expo.

Photo by Danielle Goff '18

London, UK

Course: Leadership Lessons Learned
Faculty: Breann Donnelly 
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

What makes a good leader? A great one? What lessons can we learn about successful and unsuccessful leadership styles by examining well-known leaders? Together, we will examine leadership by looking at times in British history when it was tested the most. We will investigate how some of Britain's most infamous leaders managed crisis, conflict, and their evolving role in the world. Using historical and literary sources from the time we will look at how time has changed our perceptions of these leaders and create a better understanding of our own leadership potential.

Muscat, Oman

Course: Explore Oman: Culture, History, and Archaeology in the Gulf Region
Faculty: Allyson McCreery and Warren Haffar
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

This course will focus on the complex history and rich culture of the Sultanate of Oman. The course introduces you to Oman in a way that integrates social, economic and political dimensions of this society. Particular attention is given to the construction of cultural and national identities in this diverse society and how they are deeply rooted in the prehistoric and ancient past of Oman. Students will learn about archaeological methods and the evidence of Oman's past, while navigating the modern landscape of Oman: geography, language, religion, and economy.  This program will require you to purchase a visa (approximate cost $20).

Photo by Emily Metzger '20

Osaka, Japan

Course: Beyond Bonsai and Boy Bands: History, Conflict, and Culture in Japan
Faculty: Chanae Brown and Drew Villierme-Lightfoot
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

Japan has a unique relationship with the rest of the world which has shaped the nation’s culture. Japan has been greatly influenced by global conflict within the last hundred years and its culture has been heavily impacted by a history of war. Looking back to the Edo Period until present day, students on this Preview course will learn about Japan’s rapidly changing society and all of its influencers. This course explores how conflict transformed development and culture in Japan. Since World War II, this country has experienced a period of rapid growth and increasingly internationalized pop-culture. With a home base in Osaka, the cultural hub of Japan, the group visits Japan’s historic, former capital Kyoto. A quick bullet train ride takes the group to Hiroshima’s monuments where students will reflect on Japan’s triumphs and darkest moments. This course examines contemporary Japanese topics, religion, language, food, film, and art within the lens of historical conflict.

Paris, France

Course: Paris: A City of Insiders and Outsiders
Faculty: Kate Bonin and Matthew Heitzman
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

The city of Paris has been profoundly shaped by the powerful, the privileged, and the talented men and women who have inhabited it: from its kings, emperors and presidents; to brilliant engineers and technocrats such as Baron Haussmann and Gustave Eiffel; to groundbreaking artists and intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. At the same time, the city’s structures (both physical and cultural) have been challenged, attacked and re-made by invaders and revolutionary forces from outside its institutions: from the Viking invaders who sailed up the Seine to raid the capital of the Frankish empire; to the “rejected” artists who revolutionized nineteenth-century painting; from the May 1968 university student and worker protests that brought the federal government to a halt; to the political, economic, and social tensions surrounding the Gilet Jaune protest of today. Over the course of the semester, and during our week-long stay in Paris, we will seek to understand the physical, political, economic and cultural structures of French civilization through our study of Parisian “insiders” and “outsiders.”

San Jose, Costa Rica

Course: Ecotourism and Sustainable Development in Costa Rica
Faculty: Ryan Genova and Alan Powell
Time: Wednesdays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

This course will explore the image of Costa Rica as a leader of the global ecotourism community. As Costa Rican tourism of all kinds has significantly increased over the past two decades, surrounding controversy has begged the questions: Is de facto ecotourism a sustainable practice, and can conservation and economic growth truly go hand in hand? We will focus on the role and polices of the Costa Rican government in managing the private sector, protecting the country’s biodiversity, and responding to criticisms levied by environmentalists. We will have the opportunity to learn from local sources, participate in sustainable practices, and visit some of the northern region’s most exotic landscapes. Students will depart Liberia with an increased awareness of natural preservation, the growing trends and demands of the tourism industry, and the cultural integrity of the local community.

Photo by Carly McElroy '22

Seoul, South Korea

Course: Visual Awareness: Art and Culture of South Korea
Faculty: June Lee
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

This preview class seeks to facilitate for students a deeper relationship to an unfamiliar place, both in terms of art and culture, by focusing on visual elements, experience, and awareness. It is about seeing differently. Every place has a unique schema of colors, shapes, and forms in its art and cultural environment. Using various approaches, this course begins with classroom practice and study of visual elements (i.e line, shape, pattern, color), as seen through the lens of specific sites/venues in South Korea. During the spring break, students travel historical and cultural attractions such as Buddhist temple, historical palace, village, and local market, and observe contemporary and traditional art scenes in South Korea. At each site, students document their experiences on a sketchbook as visual journal to create a final visual project at the end of semester

Shanghai and Jiangsu, China

Course: China in Transition
Faculty: Janice Finn
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

The evolution of Modern China is constantly in motion. Its astounding economic growth in the past 20 years has been achieved through governmental investment and the strong belief in the collective, rather than the individual. The central government's focus is now technology and innovation. We'll look at the impact of these changes, with particular emphasis on its youth culture and education, but first we'll study the history of ancient China and transformation to the 21st century in a consumer society governed by authoritarian rule. Where will we visit? Shanghai- China's commercial capital. This city of  27 million inhabitants is mezmerizing for its modernity, stunning architecture, and global focus. Next stop is Jiangsu University where we will learn more about its education system, student life, and culture. Arcadia and Jiangsu Universities are university partners for a dual degree program. We'll also stop at Nanjing- once the ancient capital of China- which is known for its history and beautiful gardens. This program will require you to purchase a visa (approximate cost $140).

Photo by Shazel Gonzalez '17

Sicily, Italy

Course: This Sea is Not My Home: Immigration, Migration, and Social Justice in the Sicilian Context
Faculty: Michelle Reale
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

We will focus on the lives' of refugees in Sicily and the impact that the refugee crisis is having on the country in general and Siracusa in particular. With a rate of unemployment at the unbelievable rate of nearly 58% and the unprecedented rate of arrivals, the tension in Siracusa against the "invaders" is palpable.  Often, both natives and refugees are finding themselves as recipients of the charity of the social service agencies. This Preview aims to connect with those refugees, locals, and those working with both groups in order to alleviate need and to socialize the native population and the refugees with each other.  Both groups lack an understanding of each other and we will explore those difficulties in depth.  This course will move to a more "active service" model in which we will engage, each day, more fully with social service agencies such as Caritas in cooking for and feeding the needy.  We will seek to have greater contact with refugees and will organize activities with them, such as an evening playing soccer, a night of pizza, etc. You will learn about the refugee crisis, examine your own family's immigration, and conduct interviews with refugee and relief agency workers in order to gather a "snapshot" of the crisis up close and personal. We will visit neighborhoods in which refugees live which are quite removed from those of regular Sicilians, exemplifying the "ghettoizing" of the population, by keeping them on the fringe. The goal is to balance out a realistic picture of living in Sicily today at a time of great social change, and a change that is ongoing and unlikely to end any time soon.

Valletta, Malta

Course: Malta: Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Sharing Your Travel Stories
Faculty: Caitlin Burns
Time: Fridays from 2:45-4:45 p.m.

Everyone has a story to tell- and this course will help you cultivate and craft those narratives through the art of travel writing. Using Malta’s unique culture and interesting history, including its recent independence from England, as a backdrop to shape our stories, we’ll explore what it means to be a travel writer. Whether you’re a foodie, history buff, or an athlete, Malta has something for everyone to connect and explore. Through hands-on experiences in Malta, coupled with demonstrations in blog development, photography, and elevator pitches, you’ll discover the basic skills needed to be a storyteller. It’ll be up to you to add the passion that makes a successful traveler though!