Why Study Comparative Literature Abroad?
Comparative Literature is rooted in the study of different literatures and cultural traditions. So what better way to work on your foreign language(s) and cultural literacy than living and studying in a different country? At the same time, comparative literature as a discipline is instrumental for thinking through crucial contemporary questions that defy national boundaries, such as cosmopolitism and globalization, translation, immigration and cultural exchange. By traveling to encounter a different culture on its own terms, you will have the chance to more fully and memorably explore these questions.
Where Can I Go?
Because of the individualized nature of the major, you are encouraged to consult with your advisor and choose a study abroad site that best fits your program of study. Ideally, this site would allow you to deepen your knowledge of your chosen foreign language, so many of our students choose to go to Paris, Berlin, or Buenos Aires. However, our department has strong links to the study away programs in Accra, Ghana (Academic Year, Summer) and Prague, Czech Republic (Academic Year), which have strong offerings in comparative literature.
What Courses Are Offered Abroad?
While abroad, Comparative Literature Majors can take courses to fulfill 1) the cultural specialization requirements (a maximum of four courses) and 2) the electives within the major (a maximum of 2 courses). (The only required courses that cannot be taken abroad under any circumstance are the four core courses. These have to be taken on our Washington Square Campus and they have to originate in our department.) Because of the individualized nature of the major, you will have to consult with your advisor before enrolling in any courses abroad that you plan on counting for your Comparative Literature Major. Your advisor will be available for email and Skype advising sessions. The good news is that not only are courses taught under the Comparative Literature rubric eligible to count for your specialization and elective requirements: courses taught by other NYU departments abroad or courses taught by local universities are also eligible (as long as you get permission from your comparative literature advisor).
You can take a look at the recent course listings to see the variety of classes offered abroad, but remember that your options for what can count for your Comparative Literature Requirements are in fact much wider that these Comparative Literature courses. Conversely, not all classes marked Comparative Literature will count toward your specialization—each class has to fit with your program of study and be approved by your departmental advisor.
When Should I Go?
Ideally, students will complete the first required classes (Introduction to Comparative Literature and the Junior Theory Seminar) here in New York before traveling, so any time junior year, and the first semester of senior year are the best times to go abroad. If you plan on writing a senior thesis, your junior year is preferable to senior year, as you are expected to enroll in the senior thesis seminar in the fall and in the senior thesis independent study in your senior spring. However, we can be flexible about these recommendations when necessary.
Be sure to mention your plans when you come in for advising.
Where Can I Get More Information?
Call (212) 998-8790 and ask to make an appointment with the Global Coordinator or DUS. Additional information is also available on the Global Programs Study Away website.