Sustainable Urban Landscapes study abroad program highlighted in The Lantern

Update 11/23/2010:  Please note that program fees for the summer abroad program have been set at $2,237. 

Read the article here.


New study abroad trip targets architecture students


A new study abroad program offers Ohio State students the opportunity to travel to France, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland for 23 days in summer 2011. After a series of proposals by Jesus Lara, the trip's resident director, the Office of International Affairs recently approved the European Cities and Sustainable Urban Landscapes program, scheduled for June 27 to July 19.

"The reason I chose these countries is because they are very proactive when it comes to sustainable development and are much further along there than the United States," said Lara, assistant professor in the Knowlton School of Architecture. Lara said he led this trip for five years with Arizona State University and thinks OSU students will also benefit from the experience.

"I think in the context of the Midwest, Ohio is very metropolitan, and it is a very good opportunity for students to see things we are looking at here," Lara said.

The focus of the trip will be examining the sustainable design of urban parks and cities, eco-neighborhoods and historical and cultural landscapes, Lara said. By traveling in two minivans, the group will have access to sites in Paris, Amsterdam, Munich and Zurich, as well as several other cities along the way. Students will spend four to eight days in each country. Stops include the Eiffel Tower, the Van Gogh Museum, the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site and more, he said. Students are looking forward to the adventure.

"I've never really experienced Europe in this sense, and I'm excited to see the urban planning aspects of things, and I mean, it's Europe. I don't think there's anything else to say," said Sarah Von Lehman, a second-year graduate student in landscape architecture.

Although the trip is open to all majors, Lara said priority is given to third-year, fourth-year and graduate landscape architecture students, and all participants are required to complete Landscape Architecture 760, a pre-departure seminar. Lara said the course will look at several case studies. Each student will select a project in one of the visited cities, prepare a journal and continue further critical analysis at the site. Students will earn five credit hours during the trip for Landscape Architecture 457 or 750."This trip is really exciting because there's never been one targeted to landscape architecture students before," said Leslie Anderson, a study abroad coordinator for the Office of International Affairs.

Despite the program's focus, Anderson said she expects to see student interest from several majors, including design, environmental resources, agriculture and horticulture. "I think the trip could definitely be seen from a scientific or social studies point of view, but I don't know how much they are planning to advertise it to other students," Von Lehman said. Lara said the ideal number of participants is between 16 and 24, but nearly 25 students attended the information session Wednesday. All were landscape architecture majors. The two facilitators said they are confident that a more diverse group of students will apply.

To be accepted, students must have a 2.7 grade point average and are required to submit a personal statement, advising report, letter of recommendation and work sample with their application by Feb. 1, Lara said. Anderson said students should expect to pay a $135 passport fee, $150 application fee, and a $2,237 program fee and airfare. Lara recommended bringing about $20 per day for food and outside activities. Some attendees raised concerns about the price, but Anderson insisted that scholarships, financial aid and grants are options for support. She also emphasized the importance of the trip, how much it will offer students and her own desire to participate.

"I know that lives do become busy and everyone is looking specifically to graduation, but it never gets any easier to go abroad than it does in the undergraduate and graduate years," Anderson said. "I think it's just so much more enriching to do in educational setting."

For more information and a full trip itinerary, visit

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