SNL Study Abroad Courses

What is SNL International?
The School for New Learning has a 25-year history of providing study abroad opportunities that meet the unique needs of adult learners. Unlike traditional undergraduate study abroad programs, SNL Study Abroad programs are intensive, competence-focused, short-term (1-2.5 weeks) programs, making them ideal for students balancing academics, work, and family. Moreover, travel usually takes place during December Intercession or Spring Break, which means students are free to enroll in other courses during the pre- and post-travel quarters. On-campus students, distance students, and students from other DePaul colleges are all invited to apply, thus ensuring a diverse and dynamic travel group.

Where can I find more information and an application?
To find programs currently accepting applications and application deadlines, see DePaul's Study Abroad site. You will also complete your application through this site. Descriptions of upcoming programs can be found below. Please be aware that deadlines and programs are subject to change, so always check the Study Abroad site for the most accurate information.

When are applications due?
Applications for December programs are due May 15. Applications for Spring programs are due November 1. Always check the Study Abroad site for the most up-to-date information. For domestic externship programs, contact the Program Director for specific information.

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Are there prerequisites for studying abroad?
In order to be eligible for any study abroad program, you must be in good academic standing, with a minimum 2.5 GPA. You must also have completed the Foundations course to partake in an SNL Study Abroad program (if you are an SNL student). If you are taking the course for Advanced Elective (E1, E2), you must also have completed Research Seminar.

Certain personality traits are necessary to be considered a good candidate for study abroad. Some of these characteristics are flexibility, maturity, ability to work well with others, tolerance and acceptance of different cultures, and independent initiative. An interview with the Program Directors is the final step in the application process.

How much will it cost?
The cost of each trip is calculated by the number of competences/credit hours each student registers for as part of the course plus a program fee, which ranges from approximately $1,800-$4,000, depending on location and length of the trip. Here is a basic formula you can use to estimate your financial obligation: 

number of credit hours (usually 6-8)  x  tuition per credit hour +  program fee financial aid or scholarships = your financial commitment

The program fee generally includes airfare, accommodations, transportation within the destination country(ies), admission to cultural sites and tours, and most group meals. You will have some incidental costs for the trip for which you will be responsible, such as snacks, casual meals, souvenirs, or activities that you choose during your free time.

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Are scholarships available?
Scholarships and financial aid may be available. First, make sure you have a FASFA on file with Financial Aid. Every student who has a FASFA on file with the university is eligible to receive a small travel stipend. This will be automatic upon registering for a Study Abroad program; no separate application is necessary. Questions about using financial aid for international study are best directed to the Study Abroad office’s Financial Aid counselors. Please keep in mind that financial aid and scholarship amounts are variable and difficult to determine in advance.

In addition, SNL students should click here for SNL-specific scholarship information. Scholarships particularly well-suited for study abroad are the John P. McGury Scholarship, the Kumiko Watanuki Scholarship for Women, and the Adult Student Association Travel Fund. Apply for these and other available scholarships via DePaul’s Academic Works site.

The Study Abroad office also administers several scholarships separate from SNL. Click here for more information. Please note that these scholarships may have different application deadlines than the scholarships administered by SNL.

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) awards funds for students planning to study abroad in any academically rigorous program. FEA scholarships are intended to meet the financial needs of students who might not be eligible for government grants or existing funds limited to specific programs or groups of students.

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Which competences can I fulfill with Study Abroad?
Each program description lists the competences that may be fulfilled by that program. Consult with your Academic Committee about your learning plan and your best choices for study abroad competences based on the list provided. Students are encouraged to register for three study abroad competences (6 credit hours). It is sometimes possible to take four competences, provided you have discussed your plan with your Faculty Mentor and they have given their approval. If you plan to fulfill an FX, would like to use the program to fulfill a competence not on the list, or if you have questions about the academic content of the course itself, you should also contact the Faculty Director of the program.

What will my course schedule look like if I choose to study abroad?
You must register for at least one competence in the pre-travel quarter, but you may spread out remaining competences over the pre-travel and post-travel quarters. For example, if you plan to register for three competences for a December trip, you could register for one competence in Autumn Quarter and two for Winter Quarter, or vice versa, depending on the arrangement that works best in terms of financial aid and other considerations.

What happens the quarters before and after travel?
There are often several pre-travel and a few post-travel class meetings that bookend the onsite learning period. The pre-travel classes are intended to prepare students for travel and communicate the goals of the program. These classes are usually supplemented and/or substituted by work on a D2L course site. When you return, you’ll continue working on the individual project you agreed on with the Program Director.

Your pre-travel and post-travel meetings will not interfere with other courses you’re enrolled in. In order to give students the flexibility to freely take other classes, the classes are scheduled by mutual agreement rather than by reserving a specific day and time in advance.

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How are grades assigned?
In general, a grade of “R” (research in progress) will be assigned for the pre-travel quarter. Grades will change to letter grades once you complete, during the post-travel quarter, whatever project you have negotiated with the Program Director.

I’m an online student. Can I still apply?
We welcome distance students. In the past, Program Directors have used conference calling, Skype, and video recordings to make programs accessible to distance students. However, do keep in mind that students are nearly always required to travel with the group to the destination; this generally means flying out of O’Hare Airport, regardless of where you are located.

I’m not an SNL student. Can I still apply?
Yes. Non-SNL students register for two INT399 (Independent Study) courses, one in the pre-travel quarter and one in the post-travel quarter, for a total of 8 credit hours. You should consult with your academic advisor, major advisor, or the Study Abroad advisors for specific information about how these Independent Study credits will fit into your degree completion plan. In some cases, the SNL study abroad courses may be offered for specific courses (other than independent study) within another DePaul academic unit. Check to see if this is available for the program that you are interested in.

I still have questions. Who should I contact?
Please feel free to contact with any questions or to request more information.

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Upcoming Programs

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History, Culture and Spirituality: Studies in Ghana   
Apply: by May 15, 2014
Travel: December 2014
This course has been designed to be dynamic and lively, purposefully engaging with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify values.  The rich cultures of Ghana provide much of the “text” of this travel course.  From visiting Ghana’s National Museum, to observing kente cloth being woven or women pounding fufu, or meeting with spiritual and educational leaders, course participants will be exposed to multiple layers and multiple levels of West African culture.  Everyday experiences, such as shopping in the open air markets, become lessons on human interaction that are rooted in a particular worldview.  Learners will be challenged to consider the footprint left by the simple decision of paying a particular price or buying from a particular vendor.  They will come to understand that culture goes beyond the surface expressions, such as clothing, food, dance, to the deeper levels, such as the cosmology of the people.  Their beginning examination of Ghanaian cultures can lead to further examination of their own personal, family, community and national cultures. Spirituality is one of the central themes in this course because it is central in the lives of West Africans, and forms a backdrop from which to understand cultural values and practices.  It also informs many of the traditional healing practices that we will learn about during the course.  Again, as participants learn about Ghana, and its rich spiritual traditions, they will also learn more about themselves and the role of spirituality in their own lives. Please contact faculty director Derise Tolliver at for more information.

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South Africa and the Quest for Change: 25 Years and Counting
by November 18, 2014
Travel: Spring 2015

In 1990, sociopolitical forces in South Africa began formally dismantling the structure of racial segregation known as “apartheid” that had been in force since 1948. In 1994, the first bi-racial democratic elections were held, bringing the African National Congress (ANC) to power and Nelson Mandela to the presidency. Since then, the Republic of South Africa has faced considerable challenges on various fronts, which required careful calibration of the new governance system; providing social and economic equality for all races and groups; maintaining the country’s economic strength while fostering social justice; and battling the largest HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world.

This course seeks to give students a thorough grounding in that recent history, with emphasis on the evolution of South Africa’s Constitution, on the features that have made the country one of the most advanced economies in the whole of Africa, and on its struggles with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Students will visit relevant historical sites, attend lectures, and interact with academics and experienced professionals in the areas of South African history, law, politics, economic development, and public health in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Sites include the Apartheid Museum and the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg; the Union Building and Freedom Museum in Pretoria; Soweto Township; Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years; and the District Six Museum in Cape Town. Also planned are excursions around Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope. There will also be opportunities for service learning.

SNL students will register for 3-4 of the following competences: L10, L11, E1, E2, H1X, H2X, S3X, H5, FX. Non-SNL students will register for 8 credits total: INT 399 in Winter Quarter (JYEL) and INT 399 (usually an elective) in Spring Quarter. Questions about the program should be directed to program directors Fred Wellisch ( and Ludovic Comeau ( General questions about study abroad may be directed to  

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Externship: Mindfulness Meditation Retreat at Starved Rock State Park  
Spring 2015 (April 16 to April 19, 2015)

Pre-registrations are now being accepted for this course. This unique hybrid course involves a four-day retreat (Thursday, April 24th through Sunday, April 27th, 2014) at the beautiful Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center in Utica, IL (1.5 hour drive from Chicago). Starved Rock Lodge sits high atop a wooded bluff overlooking the Illinois River in the magnificent Starved Rock State Park. Mindfulness meditation practices are simple, relaxing, yet powerful ways of developing your mind so that you can to be more fully and freely engaged in your daily experiences. The approaches to mindfulness meditation that you will learn in this course are related to Buddhist traditions, but also draw from contemporary insights in neuroscience, psychology and philosophy. No prior experience with meditation is necessary for this course. Every student will have a private guest room in the lodge. There will be a fee of $715 for the retreat, in addition to the 4 credit hours of tuition for the L-10 and L-11 competencies. All the other pre- and post-retreat learning activities will take place online during the Spring 2014 quarter. The pre-requisites for the course are completion of Foundations of Adult Learning and the L-4 and L-5 competencies. It is necessary to pre-register for the course by contacting the instructor, Michael Skelley, directly at

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Past Programs

Below is a sample of SNL Study Abroad programs that have run in the past. Some of these courses may run again in the future; if you are particularly interested in one of these programs, contact to be added to a contact list.

Jamaica: Who Talks to Whom in Schools and Cafes?  Brochure
Through onsite visits to schools and public places in Kingston, Mandeville, and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, participants in this course will study intercultural communication by observing verbal and non-verbal interactions in various contexts. Participants will examine communication dynamics in informal settings, such as cafes, plazas, and music venues, and in the formal setting of schools and universities. Using concepts from assigned readings, participants will analyze how different socio-cultural factors interact to shape individuals and interaction patterns in urban and rural Jamaica, as well as in the United States.

Prior to departure, participants will work collaboratively to develop culturally sensitive observation criteria for evaluating and comparing communication and interactions. On-site they will dialogue about the observations and interpretations with University partners from the host country. This course, though ideal for educators wishing to understand the role of language and cultural in different settings among multicultural groups, also provides a background for those interested in sociolinguistics, intercultural dynamic and multiculturalism abroad and at home. Individual projects due upon return from the study abroad will further allow students in other fields to explore communications in their particular setting. Suggested competencies are H1A, H2X, H2A, H2E, H5, FX, L10 & L11, E1 & E2. Please contact course directors Gretchen Wilbur at or Nancy Morgan at for more information.

Domestic Travel Course: U.S. Cities: Banned in Boston
Boston is a world class city from a cultural and educational perspective, but diminutive when considering the standards set by New York or LA. It is rich and expensive, but poor in population. It is the go-to place for American history, but is also eclipsed by more famous locales such as Ellis Island and Washington DC. It has an ocean at its front door, but then so does Honolulu, where the weather is generally better! No matter where you were born, if you live in America, you have been influenced by Boston and its tumultuous history. John and Abigail Adams, Alexander Graham Bell, Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, and John Kennedy lived for a time in Boston, as did Emily Dickenson, Robert Frost, Ben Affleck, Malcolm X, and Aerosmith. The list of famous Bostonians is quite long, indeed. What makes Boston and Bostonians tick? What does “Banned in Boston” mean? In this travel course centered on this most pivotal of US Cities, learners will walk the freedom trail, visit Boston’s most famous art collections, and its equally famous North End. Issues such as Boston’s creative citizenry, immigrant populations, its fame as a seat of American higher education and medical establishment, its connection to events in American history, and its economic output will be discussed. U.S. Cities: Banned in Boston is a domestic travel course. On site classes will be conducted in various locations in the city of Boston from 17 – 19 October. Four supplemental sessions will be conducted  12 Sept, 3 Oct. 24 Oct. and online. Competencies: A5, H4, L10 and L11. Contact Betta LoSardo at for more information.

Mexico: A Pilgrim’s Journey to the Cultures of Mexico City
Participants in this program will travel to one of the most significant centers of Catholic pilgrimage in the Americas: the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most visited Catholic shrine in the world. They will join countless numbers of other pilgrims from all over the world who come to Mexico City around December 12th for the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In addition, the group will tour other major sites of this great world city such as El Zocalo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Dolores Olmedo art gallery. In the Templo Mayor and National Archeological museums, students will learn to recognize and interpret symbolism in these collections of the most important works of Pre-Hispanic Art and artifacts in the world.

London Alive: In Theaters, Markets, and Museums
Theatre, live performance, museum collections and street markets are integral parts of English cultural history; they also represent Britain’s international heritage.  London theaters not only celebrate English history, culture and language, they also carry the banner of the English artistic imagination into the future.  London’s museums make it one of the most visited cities in the world for the range of its collected artifacts and images. Outside the theater and museum doors, markets teem with life. From Borough Market, established in Roman times, to those established in the nineteenth century, the farmers' markets, flea markets and antique markets present a unique juxtaposition with the established forms of representation and performance found in museums and theaters.

Connecting with Africa: Cultural and Social Issues in East Africa
Come with us to Eastern Africa to develop a fresh understanding of local peoples, the environment, and cultural practices in Tanzania!  The travel experience prepares students for life in an increasingly globalized world by engaging issues and questions of the East African experience, including foreign pressures and influences on indigenous values, social justice dilemmas like class marginalization and the impacts of globalization on lifestyles and economies. One goal of this social and cultural exploration is personal reflection. Students process and absorb their experiences in Tanzania and compare them to their lives in the United States. Simple observation serves as a powerful tool for uncovering deeper meanings in everyday events in the lives of Tanzanians.

Colombia: Cultural Implications of Leisure
This pioneering course will provide SNL students with the first opportunity to travel and study in South America. Cartagena, Colombia is the destination. Cartagena is one of the most visited cities in Colombia and a must see city in South America. Considered by many as one of the world's most beautiful, fascinating and romantic cities, Cartagena offers a rich sense of history, beautiful beaches, excellent food, cultural events, competitive sports, superior natural areas, and a vibrant nightlife. Its heterogeneous ethnic and racial make-up is unmatched in the world making it a perfect environment to study and experience leisure.

Cathedrals of Britain: A Pilgrimage
The inspiration and faith which combined to produce the magnificent cathedrals in Britain are worthy subjects of study. This SNL travel course to some of the greatest cathedrals of Great Britain will provide opportunities for students to gain valuable understandings of religion, art, and culture that endure in present day Britain while unraveling its rich and complex past. From the famous pilgrimage site of Canterbury Cathedral in the southeast to magnificent York Minster in the north of England, to Salisbury and Gloucester to the West, participants will experience these awe inspiring products of human culture from aesthetic, religious, and social perspectives.

Who Talks to Whom in Schools and Cafes? Estonia and Italy
Through onsite visits to schools, piazzas, and cafes in Italy and Estonia, participants in this 2-week study abroad course will study cross-cultural communication by examining how language and interactions are used in various contexts in both countries. Participants will examine communication dynamics in informal settings, such as cafes and piazzas, and in the formal setting of schools and universities. Using concepts from assigned readings, participants will analyze how different socio-cultural factors interact to shape individuals and interaction patterns in both societies, as well as in the United States.

Conflict, Colonialism and Commerce: Encountering Thailand and its Neighbors
Southeast Asia experienced enormous changes in the last century. Thailand is justifiably proud of its beautiful beaches and its status as the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia. It is also proud of being the only country in the region never colonized by foreign powers. This did not happen because of luck but due to a series of complex political negotiations a century ago, at a time when all of Southeast Asia was in turmoil. This course asks students to consider these and other questions as they encounter communities in Thailand which have remained virtually untouched by the developed world.

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