Dialogue of Civilizations

Dialogue of Civilizations, offered during Summer 1 or Summer 2, is a uniquely engaging program that takes you around the world to focus on critical issues facing students and peers both locally and globally. You’ll spend around 30 days in-country with a faculty leader from Northeastern University, learning about a specific topic or course subject, broadening your horizons, and gaining the experience of a lifetime.

Architecture Dialogues

Faculty Member: Shuishan Yu



Beijing, China / Guangzhou, China / Shenzhen, China



ARCH 4850 – Urban and Architectural History Abroad – China

ARTE 2501 – Art and Design Abroad: History course


Join this Dialogue of Civilizations program for In-depth study of Chinese historic arts, architecture and urbanism through direct experience, participation and observation. Students who participate in this dialogue will be immersed in the colorful art world of China. They will be introduced to the various historical sites with great significance in the development of Chinese urbanism, architecture, and arts, being it in a city, a village, a temple, or a sacred mountain. This Dialogue is physically challenging and requires 10 miles walking on some site and museum touring days.

Faculty Member: Peter Wiederspahn



Florence, Italy / Rome, Italy / Venice, Italy / Siena, Italy



ARCH 3352 – Architecture Topics Abroad: Drawing

ARCH 3351 – Architecture Topics Abroad: Theory


In the Italian Architecture and Urbanism Dialogue of Civilization, a majority of the student educational experiences are on location at the remarkable architectural and urban sites in four major Italian cities: Venice, Florence, Siena, and Rome. We will have presentations, conversations, and freehand drawing sessions among the greatest monuments and urban spaces of Italy. The only way to fully understand architecture and urban space is by being on location and walking among the great spaces, and the best way to fully apprehend a place is through drawing. This global experience will provide students with a deep cultural understanding of the roots of the Western world.


Students will explore the art, architecture, and urban spaces of the Ancient Roman, Early Christian, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern and Contemporary eras. Intertwined with these experiences is learning about Italy’s culture, both the history of the rise and fall of political power, economic wealth, and artistic patronage, as well as the contemporary culture of design, fashion, cuisine, social behaviors, and “la dolce vita” (the sweet life). New global forces are also keenly present in Italy, including many new people and cultural influences generated by the current demographic migrations from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.


We will roam the labyrinthine alleys and canals of Venice, climb to the top of the Duomo in Florence, feel the embrace the great Piazza del Campo in Siena, and explore the ancient Roman ruins of the Forum and Colosseum. Everyday will be filled with remarkable places, rigorous study, and self-expression through freehand drawing. In this Dialogue, we will be doing a great deal of walking on hard and irregular street surfaces, so good walking shoes and personal fortitude will be needed. The weather in early May will be temperate, but by June in Rome it will be summer weather. We will conduct our tours in the cities rain or shine, so lightweight rain gear is recommended. Also, almost each day we will be visiting religious sites, and in Italy these require modest attire, that is, to be covered from the neck to the knees.


Faculty Member: Xavier Costa, Dana Mueller



Barcelona, Spain / Madrid, Spain



ARTE 2501 – Art and Photography Abroad

ARCH 4850 – Urban and Architecture History Abroad: The Cases of Barcelona and Madrid


This Dialogue offers an immersion in one of Europe’s most innovative and culturally rich cities, Barcelona, a cosmopolitan location with a unique patrimony and a thriving present. The program will focus on the urban development and recent socio-economic history of Barcelona, its art and architecture, its fashion and food culture, its transformative creative economy, and its role in the European and Spanish contexts. Students will explore Barcelona through a photography workshop that will introduce them to creative work and visual communication. We will interact with creators, designers, and entrepreneurs, will visit inspiring exhibits, performances, and special events –ranging from the spectacular architecture of medieval Barcelona and Antoni Gaudí to contemporary art. We will also spend a week in Madrid and visit some nearby places, so as to experience first hand several World Heritage Sites.

This Dialogue is a first-hand introduction to contemporary art and culture, urban development and present-day socio-economic issues n Europe and the Mediterranean region. It also includes an invaluable experience in the mastering of photography, both in conceptual and instrumental terms.


Faculty Members:  Sarah Kanouse, Nick Brown



Tbilisi, Georgia



ARTF 2223 Experience and Interaction

ARCH 4850 Urban Architectural History Abroad


Thirty years after independence and twenty five years after a bloody civil war, the former Soviet republic of Georgia is experiencing a wave of international investment that is transforming the capital city of Tbilisi but leaving urban residents disempowered and vast swaths of the countryside behind. As communist public spaces and collectivized property passed into private ownership, activists and artists have used creative tools not just to oppose top-down development decisions but to actively build other visions for a democratic, sustainable, and just future for a nation that is both ancient and still quite young. In a social context healing from division and disillusionment, how can design, architecture, and art foster inclusive and culturally-relevant practices of democracy?

From our base in Tbilisi, you’ll come to understand the rich cultural, architectural and landscape history of Georgia and the Caucasus region from ancient times to the present. You will engage directly with artists, architects, planners, and designers who are making space for democratic practices rooted in the region’s rich history and culture. Moreover, through an educational collaboration with architecture students at Tbilisi Free University, you will craft concrete spatial interventions and social interactions that contribute to the ever-changing and culturally specific process of making democracy part of everyday urban life.


Learn more