Lauder mini-immersions are short-term enrichment opportunities (lasting 1-2 days) that take place each Spring and promote cultural or experiential language learning outside the classroom. During this unique opportunity, Lauder students engage with politicians, artists, business leaders, academics and other experts in topics related to art, music, history, politics, and culture. Participation is required.
Mini-immersions often combine student cohorts for a larger group experience focused on a particular region (for example students from the Francophone-Africa and French-Europe tracks came together for their mini-immersion visit to the Penn Museum, and both first-year and second-year Spanish language tracks combined for a group visit to Washington DC to study issues impacting the LatAm region as a whole).
Mili Lozada-Cerna, Faculty Director of Lauder’s Language and Culture Programs, notes that “these experiences are a meaningful and immersive way to build a global mindset and help develop the type of intercultural awareness for which Lauder Institute graduates are known.”
Read on for more detail about the Spring 2023 mini-immersions.
An Array of Experiences Across Language Programs
The German program visited the Neue Galerie in New York City, a museum showcasing German and Austrian art from the early twentieth century.
The Chinese (Mandarin) program hosted Dr. Chao Yan, a Chinese entrepreneur and Founder at Princeton NuEnergy, for a discussion on how the diplomatic relationship between China and the US impacts renewable energy startups.
The Spanish program travelled to Washington DC where they first visited the Organization of American States (OAS). OAS General Secretary, Luis Almagro, and David Smolansky, an expert on the Venezuelan migration crisis, discussed the impact of the migration crisis in Venezuela on the LatAm region.
Students then visited the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a bank providing development financing to countries in Latin America. The IDB talked to students about its private branch, IDB Invest, and how it’s partnering with businesses in the LatAm region to advance economic growth and social inclusion.
Exploring African Art, Artifacts, and Music
Students of the Francophone-Africa and French-Europe programs took a guided tour in French of the Africa Gallery at the Penn Museum with global guide Clay Katongo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This year’s thematic focus was related to issues surrounding the restitution of and/or reparation for the rich and diverse African arts and artifacts taken out of Africa during periods of enslavement and colonialism, and displayed in Western museums, including Penn Museum.
The visit was followed by a lunch of delicious Senegalese food and a concert by a professional Kora player, Youba Cissokho, a seventy-second generation Griot from Senegal, West Africa. Students enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate African culinary art and music at Lauder. As one student noted, “Lauder is indeed the cultural center of our experience here at the University of Pennsylvania.”
Going Global in Austin, Texas
The Global program’s mini-immersion to Austin, Texas explored the relationship between economic growth and urban transformation.
Austin has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the US. Rising costs for housing and other living expenses have translated into population displacement and homelessness, particular for historically black communities.
During the mini-immersion, students met with subject matter experts on displacement prevention and homelessness, as well as those knowledgeable about the growth of Austin as a tech hub.
The program concluded with a day trip to “hill country,” which included a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch and to the city of Fredericksburg. Students learned about President Johnson’s Great Society Program and other public policy efforts.