York students can now summer in Prague

This summer York University students have the opportunity to participate in a highly affordable, four-week long summer school experience at Lessing Institute in Prague, Czech Republic, that will enable them to see Europe while earning two course credits that are transferable to their degree programs. The program is part of an initiative called Open Mind Studies.

Right: The historic city of Prague

“Many students dream of studying in Europe but do not ever seriously consider doing it because of the associated costs,” said Harry Hurwitz, academic director, Lessing Institute. “However, Lessing Institute has numerous scholarships available so that it is truly an affordable way for students to earn credits toward their degrees while getting a European experience.”

Located in the centre of old Prague on the campus of the New Anglo-American College, the Lessing Institute supplements and enhances the educational experience of students who major or minor in the humanities and arts, social studies, religious studies, international relations and political science. Offering undergraduate courses on the political development, social structure, art, literature, music, philosophy and everyday artifacts of Western culture, the courses raise questions about how these areas of Western culture have been influenced by the three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

“Lessing Institute represents a rare opportunity,” said Hurwitz. “During classes, students participate in stimulating debates about whether our highly fractured and divided global community can make the transition to a world of multicultural civil societies, and during free time, they have the chance to explore Prague’s 800-year-old streets, attend concerts, exhibitions and performances, or travel through the heartland of Europe.”

The faculty of Lessing Institute are drawn from a wide range of universities, which include the University of Waterloo, Nova University, Kean University, Central European University, Technical University in Berlin, Prague’s Charles University, Stirling University in Scotland and the New Anglo-American College in Prague. Both the student body and the faculty are broadly based, representing different ethnic, religious, ideological and economic interest groups.

The Lessing Institute Summer Program runs from July 1 to 30, 2006. Each course offers at least 42 contact hours in a small classroom setting. Without scholarship, the cost is US$3,350 per student , but scholarships of US$1,000-$2,000 are available, allowing students to attend for as little as US$45/day. The cost includes tuition, shared accommodation with breakfast, site visits and transportation to included sites. Food, air transport and additional weekend travel are not included. Due to the high availability of scholarships in 2006, all applicants are encouraged to apply for one.

Prague is a magnificent historic city that has been at the centre of European culture since 880. It offers students a wealth of experience few cities in the world can match. Students will spend some of their weekends visiting historical sites including Dresden in Germany, Auschwitz/Krakow in Poland plus Vienna and Budapest.

Students in Religious Studies will find that most if not all of the courses offered by the Lessing Institute can be applied to their major/minor in Religious Studies. For further information on Lessing Institute and the 2006 Summer Program, contact Professor Carl Ehrlich, Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts at ext. 77097, or e-mail ehrlich@yorku.ca. Information can also be obtained by contacting info@lessinginstitute.com. To apply, visit the Lessing Institute Web site.  Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2006.