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Short Term Intl Programs


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Increasingly, I've been hearing about people doing shorter term master's programs, primarily in Europe, and it's a bit puzzling to me. It seems that oftentimes these programs in question seem to offer interesting material, but I can't seem to determine direct application of short programs with no solid training in disciplines like ancient languages, history, etc. Out of curiosity, does anyone have thoughts about the value of these sorts of programs? (I'm thinking primarily of these 1 or 2 year mLitt programs in things like 'Religion, Literature, and Culture,' or 'Bible and the Contemporary World,' etc.) They certainly seem like fun if you have a year or two to hang out in Europe (and some money to play with), but I can't figure out the value- do people do these programs just to have an adventure, or to get their grades up before applying for another master's program, or something else? 

May be a complete coincidence that I've been hearing a bit more about these sort of things lately, but was just curious if anyone had experience or insight on this sort of thing.

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There's several things at work here: (1) The European education model (granted it's not unified across the continent) is considerably different than the American model so a lot of students are exposed and have some familiarity with multiple languages before they ever set foot in college, let alone graduate school and (2) European schools don't stress languages like American schools do, which kind of plays into #1.

You've asked a rather complex question that doesn't lend itself well to a forum response.

Also, more specifically to your question and Americans going to Europe for one year Masters programs: Many of these 1-year programs aren't language intensive so knowledge of English is about all that would be required, whereas any ability in French, German, Latin, etc is simply icing on the cake. Some of these programs are for "funsies" with no real desire to continue on further. Some of these programs are Pre-Masters (or glorified Pg.Dip programs) in that these students are transitioning to Religion from another field. As well, some of these programs look at broad picture ideas and the hope is that something can be teased out which lends itself well to a PhD/DPhil. In addition, most schools in the US don't offer these kind of programs (the EU, I think, REALLY understands the importance of part-time education whereas the US has largely abandoned this mode, at least at the PhD level) so they're a chance for Americans to spend a year or two travelling on their own funds or Federal loans, get some culture and become exposed to different ideas, and most of the time, even at the international rate - it's cheaper than doing it in the US.

There's more at work here and largely, it's just a difference of culture and how education is performed and understood.

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