Global Impact

April 15, 2021
Student looking at a fountain in Italy.

Students travel abroad and return home, eager to share what they learned and committed to changing the world—one step at a time.

It’s the first day of a new semester, and Pace students are ready to move. They packed all the essentials: laptop, charger, textbooks, a few snacks, and of course, their passport. That’s because they’ll be meeting their professor at JFK airport in just a few hours. Wouldn’t want to be late to class in another country!

Study abroad has always been a mainstay in higher education, but what about a more structured travel experience for students looking to take advantage of an education beyond the borders of a classroom?

Enter: faculty-led courses.

“We purposefully use the word ‘led’ in ‘faculty-led’ because we’re not just going there as tourists,” explained Xiao-Lei Wang, PhD, acting dean for the School of Education. “We have to lead them [while] going to school or visiting museums. They are all led by professors who are the experts. We’re guiding students every step of the way.”

Faculty-led courses offer a unique opportunity for Pace students who are looking to fully immerse themselves in every aspect of a new culture. They are able to select from 27 programs based in countries all over the world, and they receive skill- building training from knowledgeable faculty that is specific to their interests. These courses are not just relevant to their major, but their future careers as well.

In March, Dyson Media, Communication, and Visual Arts students returned from filming a documentary in Puerto Rico to raise awareness in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “They [become] educated and aware of what’s going on outside of their classroom,” said Professor Maria Luskay, EdD, the program director. It’s one of the longest running faculty-led courses at Pace, and she has seen firsthand how students transform when exposed to a new culture. They return home eager to share what they learned and committed to changing the world—one step at a time.

Learn more about Study Abroad opportunities.

Barcelona, Spain

Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

This isn’t your typical theater program. In fact, most schools struggle to offer study abroad classes to their performance majors. That’s what makes the Pace International Performance Ensemble such a unique program. Not only do students collaborate on an intensive year-long project they get to produce themselves, but they perform that work abroad—all under the careful guidance of distinguished faculty members. “They are directors, playwrights, actors, dancers, [and] dramaturgs who bring practical, real-world experience,” said Professor Ion-Cosmin Chivu, head of the program. “Our goal is to push young actors and directors to realize their potential by doing.” Most recently, students enjoyed a stroll through Park Güell, an enchanting public park replete with gardens and architectural wonders. Way to set the stage, huh?

Florence, Italy

School of Education

From crossing over the oldest bridge in Florence, to singing for a preschool class, to rolling pasta dough for a traditional Italian dish, young teachers-in-training are offered a hands-on approach to education (literally). It’s thanks to a partnership with the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici, which offers more than 400 courses to study abroad students from all over the world—including Pace. “The importance of this trip is that future teachers have the opportunity to have international, cultural, and school experiences that will help shape who they become as educators, which will have positive impacts on their own students,” Professor Brian Evans, EdD, told us. “In the School of Education, we would like our teachers to gain international experiences that affect them personally, academically, and professionally.”

Cape Town, South Africa

College of Health Professions

Studying abroad isn’t just about learning—it’s about applying those lessons in a socially conscious way. That’s why Susan Le ’17 and her clinical rotation class decided to start a fundraiser for a palliative care program at Victoria Hospital, where they studied last June. “We thought it would be a great way to repay them for welcoming us,” Le said. “It was amazing to see firsthand the impact it had on patients and their families!” For patients in the US, support for the terminally ill is widely available, but in South Africa, resources remain scarce. Le and her fellow physician assistants aim to change that—continuing with the next rotation of students, and the next, and the next.

São Paulo, Brazil

Elisabeth Haub School of Law

It should come as no surprise that Pace Law students have a passion for making a lasting impact upon the world, and the Environmental Law Colloquium offers them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apply their studies through extensive field research in the heart of Brazil. It’s an all-new program that was established thanks to Pace’s partnership with BAILE, a nonprofit research, teaching, and policy center dedicated to environmental protection and sustainability. “BAILE grew out of an already deep relationship with Brazilian law students and lawyers, and it continues to grow and thrive in both countries,” Professor David Cassuto, PhD, JD, director of the program, told us. “Pace’s environmental law program has been tremendously enriched by its relationship with Brazil.” Not only did students gain exposure for their research, but they also got to participate in real-world networking opportunities, panels, presentations, and much more.

Shanghai, China

Lubin School of Business

In an ever-changing and competitive market, all business professionals need an edge. It’s necessary for students to cultivate a broad understanding of markets in other countries, which is why Lubin sends their best and brightest overseas. “For most students, this is their first trip to China,” Professor Alan Eisner, PhD, told us. “They engage with a variety of Chinese and multinational firm leaders and experience Chinese culture by walks atop the Great Wall, through the Forbidden City, and along the Shanghai Bund. In 20 years of visits to China, the country has experienced significant changes, and there is always something new to learn.” Lubin also awards scholarships through the Figueroa Family Fund, a much-needed boon for students in need of financial assistance. And when you’re looking down from the rotating glass dome at the top of Dongfang Mingzhu? Anything seems possible.

Helsinki, Finland

Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems

One year. Over 150 participants. Twenty problems. Where in the world is this happening? It’s the Product Development Project hosted by Aalto University, and Pace students were on the ground floor last spring developing their own innovative answers to real-world problems—and they even got to present their ideas to leading companies like Nokia, Porsche, and Infinion. “This is truly one of the best educational experiences that I can imagine,” said Jonathan H. Hill, DPS, dean of Seidenberg. “The students work as a distributed team on very complex, but ultimately deeply satisfying projects with other top students from around the world. The experiences they have replicate what they will be asked to do as professional developers: ask questions, solve problems, create, get feedback, and learn.” Not too shabby for a classroom over 4,000 miles away.