Ca’ Foscari - Harvard Summer School Alumni share their experience

Applications to take part in the 13th annual Ca’ Foscari - Harvard Summer School are open until 11th April; the outcome of a collaboration between the Venetian University and Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Thanks to a long-lasting collaboration and a successful mutual understanding, the two universities devised the summer programme together with professors entrusted to give lectures at each other's institutions. The students participate in equal proportion, in mixed classes where they do the same work, using a range of study and learning methods, and make international friends. Ca’ Foscari is the only Italian university to have such a collaboration with a prestigious US University.

The Ca’ Foscari - Harvard Summer School is an intensive teaching programme, integrated into a wide schedule of cultural activities. The advantage for the Ca’ Foscari students are numerous: not only is there a strong and stimulating cultural exchange, and a unique approach to teaching, but also an example of the merit of the teaching at Harvard University.

The possibility of learning through different techniques is an aspect of the program that Stefano dal Cin (CampuStore, Bassano del Grappa) still today, 9 years later, carries with him in his career: “For me CFHSS was an important time in which I experienced different approaches to teaching, from the point of view of how a topic is treated in the classroom as well as student-professor relationships. These are the aspects that vividly remain in your memory, and that indirectly found their way back to me in my daily work life years later. I work for a company in Bassano del Grappa, which specialises in facilitating the adoption of innovative teaching processes on every level, from nursery school to university, to informal education, with  important worldwide research on more effective cutting-edge products and practices.”.

For Teuta Turani, the CFHSS was a turning point in her academic career, thanks to the themes that were tackled, encouraging her to register to the ‘Master’s in Public Policy’ at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University itself: “The summer school was the first time  encountered history and macroeconomics. It influenced my decision to take a break during my studies to travel to developing countries, with the aim of understanding and exploring the relationship between policy-making and policy development. The courses that I took, the people that I met and the dialogues that had profoundly transformed my prospective on a career allowed me to learn about academic and professional interests that I had not initially considered.”.

An intensive study programme, with two courses worth 6 ECTS, awarded at the end of the 6 weeks: to attend CFHSS it takes considerate effort, says Daniela Zanini, currently in the second year of her doctorate at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, says that it is definitely worth it: “It was two intense weeks of ‘crazy and desperate study’ but also with unique emotions, priceless lessons and long-lasting friendships. The professors and assistants knew how to transform every lesson into a lively group discussion in which I felt involved, stimulated and invited to express my sincere opinions. The teaching I received was fundamental for my post-grad choices. I am now a PhD student at a London University and I am certain that I owe this great success to the Summer School.”.

Thanks to the participation of the two educational institutions, there are plenty of extra-curricular activities aimed at creating a real international campus for students and professors, in which new professional and personal international relationships between are born. “Dinners, trips, parties between deadlines: the fun isn’t forgotten,” says Daniela. “Despite the large workload (and nights spent at the library!) and a bit of healthy competition between us students has created a friendly atmosphere of mutual encouragement and support.”.

This summer, 50 Ca’ Foscari students will be selected to participate in the 13th summer school with Harvard, a strong collaboration throughout the years thanks to a reciprocal commitment to offer students and professors a unique study opportunity, of teaching and intercultural exchange. It is an occasion for living a real international experience, without having to make a long journey and spend a lot of money. Each course costs the same amount as a single course.

For those wishing to join over 600 people who have already embarked on this adventure, we take Teuta’s advice: “Take advantage of every minute, learn as much as possible from classmates and professors, start to see Venice beyond what you see and, above all, use this extraordinary experience to be inspired!”

The call for applications is open until April 11th.
More information here: (Italian)