Collaborative Effort Launches University of Kansas Customized Program Off the Ground

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When the University of Kansas (KU) was faced with the difficult decision of cancelling their annual study abroad program in Spain this summer, our Customized & Faculty-Led Programs and College Relations teams collaborated with IES Abroad Barcelona to quickly shift gears and transition KU students to our regularly scheduled Barcelona Summer – Language & Area Studies Program. Thanks to the cross-departmental innovation, this program came to life with 17 KU students in participation, allowing us to double our summer 2021 enrollment in Barcelona!

The summer program in Barcelona is standardized to cater to students from a variety of colleges and universities and majors, but KU still needed to meet specific department requirements unique to their students. To address this need, the Barcelona Center offered two IES Abroad-taught courses that were selected by the KU faculty: “SP 444 Creative Writing Workshop: Short Stories in Spanish” and “HS 374 The Franco Regime and the Transition to Democracy,” which isn't taught in a typical summer term in Barcelona. In addition to coursework, KU students were also able to participate in IES Abroad orientation, day trips, DiscoverIES, and other program components with students from the larger Barcelona summer program, as well as receive the same level of support and guidance from the Barcelona staff.

KU students and staff alike were pleased with the outcome and with the program itself, which is always uplifting to hear during these complicated times. IES Abroad Barcelona Professor Josep Grau, who teaches HS374, shared, “This has been the most splendid group of students that I have ever had! They were all very focused and interested in the topic and the class discussions were very much enriched by the students’ participation.”

A big “thank you” to our partners at the University of Kansas and colleagues at IES Abroad Barcelona for sticking with the program, literally and figuratively, for this best-of-both-worlds experience. We’re looking forward to continuing work that will bring new and improved programming to life, refining the way we shape the experiences of study abroad.

Interested in building a study abroad program? Whether from your own ideas or our existing program frameworks, we can help you fit your school’s and students’ needs, learn more about our Customized & Faculty-Led Programs.

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