Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Clare Foust, NIU Study Abroad Office
(815) 753-9694

January 20, 2006

NIU launches new study-abroad programs
to Poland, Italy and the Czech Republic

DeKalb, Ill. – The Study Abroad Office at Northern Illinois University is offering four new faculty-directed, study-abroad programs to Poland, the Czech Republic and two cities in Italy—Rome and Florence.

The programs typically are geared for both undergraduate and graduate-level students at NIU and beyond. Students can earn three to six semester hours of credit. These NIU-administered programs provide a lower-cost alternative to the usual semester- or year-long experience abroad.

Here's a look at the new offerings.

Study abroad in Poland

Aleksandra Giza, a professor of Visual Communication in the NIU School of Art, will direct “Exploring Contemporary Graphic Design and Design Education in Poland.” The program will run from March 10 to March 20.

Participants will receive NIU Art credit and will be given the opportunity to work with faculty and students at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. Professor Giza will facilitate hands-on projects and lead lectures and discussions. Trips to Krakow and Wroclaw are also planned.

The program will demonstrate design-education methods used in Poland, give students an opportunity to work with peers from different cultures and provide cultural and historical background for the study of Eastern European design, art and architecture.

Study abroad in the Czech Republic

Steve Franklin, professor of English and staff member in the NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will direct “From Tyranny to Freedom: Literature and the Rise and Fall of Totalitarianism in Twentieth-Century Europe.” Participants will receive NIU English credits through the program, which will run from June 21 to July 21.

The program will focus on literature and the rise and fall of totalitarianism in early- and mid-20 th century Europe, as well as the emergence, or rebirth, of freedom in Europe during the last quarter century.

Students will travel throughout the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia. Visits will include several important Holocaust sites and memorials, such as Terezin, Mauthausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as other historical locations and sites associated with the Holocaust and postwar communism. Other activities will include evening music and theater performances in Prague and boat excursions along the Charles River.

Students also will visit important historic and cultural sites in or near Prague, such as Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Charles Bridge, the Jewish Museum of Prague, the Old Jewish Cemetery, sites in the Jewish Quarter, the National Theatre and Wallenstein Palace and Garden. Students also will have free time to explore shops, restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues in historic Prague, known as the “jewel in the crown” of Central Europe.

Study abroad in Rome

John Senseney, professor of Art History in the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts, will direct “Rome Eternal: An Unforgettable Experience,” scheduled to run from May 15 to June 17. Participants will receive NIU Art History credit.

This program is a continuation of one carried out with great success under Professor Emeritus Judy Testa of the School of Art.

Students will personally experience the visual culture of one of the most celebrated cities in the history of Western civilization. They will explore Rome through on-site study of its architecture and visit several museums, offering an incomparable opportunity to confront and analyze great works of sculpture and painting in person. Ultimately, the experience will provide an overview and deeper understanding of the development of Western civilization.

Class hours will be spent in the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Imperial Fora, Palatine Imperial Palace, Imperial Thermae, Domus Aurea, St. Peter's Basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore, Il Gesú and several other important locales.

In addition, sessions will be held in Rome 's famous museums, including the Vatican, Museo Nazionale and Museo della Civiltá Romana. Optional group trips will include visits to the ancient Roman seaport of Ostia, Palestrina and Campania to visit the Museo Nazionale Archeologico in Naples, as well as the famous ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Study abroad in Florence

Julie Hillery and Andy Reilly, professors of Textiles, Apparel, and Merchandising in the NIU College of Health and Human Sciences, will direct “Italian Fashion in Florence.” The program will run from May 20 to May 30, and will provide participants with first-hand exposure to concepts learned in textile, apparel and merchandising classes. It also will help students develop a more global perspective on the fashion industry.

Students will visit world-renowned fashion houses, retail stores and museums, as well as sites that were an important part of the context that shaped design trends in western dress. Students also will study merchandising practices, aesthetics of design and consumer behavior in a country that is a world leader in traditional and avant-garde fashion. Additionally, the program will include a variety of “non-fashion” excursions and ample free time to provide participants with a well-rounded, multi-cultural experience.

Students interested in the new programs or the many other study-abroad opportunities at NIU are encouraged to visit Students also can visit the NIU Study Abroad Office in Williston Hall 417, call (815) 753-0700 or email at