10 MSU students in Theater and Spanish travelled to Santiago, Chile with Professor Heather Benton and Debbie Saivetz (both Theater/ Dance Department) over spring break 2016 for a one-week program with MSU’s partner institution, Universidad Mayor, with joint workshops, guest lectures and cultural sites.
Workshops were taught by both MSU and Mayor faculty, and included acting, voice, folk dance, movement sessions, plus visits to historical sites and important museums. After only three days, Prof. Benton reported back that “This exchange is really really successful!!! The students are having a blast and both the students from MSU and the Mayor are bonding and going out together. Their work together as actors has been very interesting and all are challenged in the best way. The only wish is that it was longer. Everyone here wants this collaboration to continue with this group. It's a magical collection of personalities and young artists. So... The acting exchange has been terrific. The Cueca (folk dance) class today was great!” While there, students will work with Universidad Mayor students and faculty on a play by the Catalan writer Sergi Belbel entitled Caricias (Caresses). MSU’s Prof. Debbie Saivetz is also collaborating Leonor Lopehandia on Dea Loher's play Land Without Words, which will be presented at Universidad Mayor in late March.
The spring 2016 faculty led study abroad program is the latest in a series of collaborations between Montclair State University and Universidad Mayor. Over the past four years, Montclair State and Universidad Mayor have worked together in several academic areas, with both faculty and student exchanges. MSU Theater students participated in an intensive voice workshop in September 2015 with
visiting scholar and artist Prof. Leonor Lopehandía, of the School of Theater at the Universidad Mayor in Santiago, Chile.
In theater, Debbie Saivetz has directed staged readings of the plays Arabian Night and The Golden Dragon with students, faculty and alumni from the Universidad Mayor's School of Theater. In May 2015, Heather Benton, program coordinator of MSU's BFA Acting program, conducted movement workshops for the Universidad Mayor Theater students.
In the sciences, we developed bilateral programs in 2014 and 2015 between students and professors in the area of biotechnology, which led to collaborative student research projects and exchanges, thanks in part to coordination work done by the Global Education Center and the Department of International Relations of the Universidad Mayor. This science exchange program began with the support of President Obama’s "100,000Strong in STEM" funding.
In November 2015, a delegation of six MSU representatives from the Global Education Center and the Biology, Spanish, and Education departments visited Santiago. The delegation is expected to lead to expanding the multi-level relationship between the universities into other common academic disciplines including Business, Education, Spanish Language and Media programs.
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For further information see Universidad Mayor’s own press release: