The Consortium for Advanced Studies in Barcelona, a collaborative initiative involving Brown, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Cornell, Harvard and Princeton, begins its inaugural year September 2007. As the first fully integrated higher education program in Barcelona, students will enroll directly in regular university classes at three distinguished Spanish universities.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University announces the inaugural year of the Consortium for Advanced Studies in Barcelona (CASB), a first-of-its-kind collaborative initiative involving six U.S. universities: Brown, Chicago, Northwestern, Cornell, Harvard and Princeton. As the first fully integrated higher education program in Barcelona, students will directly enroll in regular university courses at three distinguished Spanish universities: the Universitat de Barcelona, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona.

Program organizers say CASB capitalizes on the already strong academic linkages between the Hispanic studies departments from each of the U.S. consortium members and their counterparts in Barcelona and fills an important education abroad niche in one of Spain’s most dynamic and avant garde cities.

The first cohort of 38 students – 19 of them from Brown – begins classes in September 2007. Students are immersed in the local university environment and take most of their courses at the Consortium’s partner universities, which offer courses in the humanities, social sciences, physical and natural sciences, art and architecture, and business. The program center provides a cultural proseminar at the beginning of the semester and additional courses that focus on Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain. Students will also enjoy a range of excursions and activities designed to foster a deeper integration into local culture.

The genesis for the program dates to 2004, when the six U.S. partners observed that despite a growing interest in Barcelona as a destination city, students with advanced language skills were limited in their program options. Few full-immersion opportunities existed for students to enroll directly in regular university classes alongside Spanish classmates. Now, organizers say, the CASB fills that void.

Brown University has been the lead organizer in the consortium, responsible for negotiating the program with the U.S. and Spanish partner universities, legalizing the program, establishing and staffing space in Barcelona, and drawing up informational materials.

“Taking the lead on this unique opportunity acknowledges Brown’s leadership role in education abroad programming,” said Kendall W. Brostuen, director of Brown’s Office of International Programs. “Moreover, the selection of Barcelona as the host city is by design. The region’s vast historical, cultural, linguistic and artistic legacy is an ideal looking glass through which students can examine key political, social, economic and cultural issues affecting Spain, the Mediterranean region and the whole of Europe today.”

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