A large number of East Coast and Southern colleges and universities have begun offering a different kind of study abroad program, according to The Boston Globe.
Whereas most college students study abroad in places like Ireland or Italy, colleges and universities like Emerson, University of Texas, Austin, and Ithaca offer study abroad in Los Angeles and Hollywood to help students hone their skills in screenwriting, acting and agentry. The focus isn't on art or international issues--its instead on the entertainment industry and internships that could potentially launch a Hollywood career, The Globe reports.
The study abroad in Los Angeles programs are designed much like study abroad programs; they even have the out-of-town students live in university-oriented housing.
"We joke that we are in a foreign country here," said Bill Linsman, head of Boston University's Los Angeles Internship Program. Linsman spoke from his office on Wilshire Boulevard. Sixty-seven Boston University students are enrolled in the program for the fall semester.
"Well, at first glance I think [the programs] are a great idea," said Samantha Raddatz, 21, a senior at American University in Washington, D.C. "Students out here have little opportunity to get real world experience in the TV/movie industry. They're less likely to get hired out west because their schools aren't well known, and they don't have any connections to the industry."
According to Faye Karabelski, 22, a December 2007 graduate of American University, the college experience is supposed to prepare you for your future and your career. "Many students come to D.C. universities for 'Washington Semester' programs in order to prepare for a political career," she said. "For those who want a job in the entertainment industry, a semester or year in LA is the best place to go."
Raddatz said giving students the opportunity to go out there and see how the industry works levels the playing field for them.
According to The Globe, more than half of the study abroad Los Angeles students stay in the area if it is their final semester before graduation, or return later, administrators report.