Last spring, a group of 23 adventurous Northeastern photography enthusiasts headed down to Cuba for one of the university’s wildly popular month-long Dialogue of Civilizations trips. Leading the excursion were photography instructors Andrea Raynor and Luis Brens. The students’ mission: to capture Cuban culture and history while sharpening their photo-documentary skills.

Every morning, the young photographers edited and critiqued each other’s work; afternoons were dedicated to independent projects. They met renowned Cuban photographers and artists. They visited Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site. And they took in international and Cuban contemporary art at the Havana Biennial.

It was Northeastern’s first Dialogue in Cuba, a country historically difficult to access. But it won’t be the last, says Raynor. “Being on location with such a devoted focus to the topic of study yielded such deep work.”

See work from the students who traveled to Cuba.

So What Is Dialogue of Civilizations?

In a nutshell, Dialogue of Civilizations is a short-term, intensive study abroad. But unlike most study-abroad programs where students enroll at a local university and attend classes, Dialogue trips use the community as the classroom. 

Students spend four to five jam-packed weeks with a tight-knit group of classmates led by a Northeastern faculty member. The group is always on the move, with professors often teaching and grading papers en route to the day’s destination. 

Dialoguers meet with leaders in the field—ambassadors, journalists, executives, academics—to discuss global issues. They also get unparalleled access to local resources—mining information for research projects, papers, and new ideas for solving shared problems.

Topics range from examining healthcare in Australia to analyzing sustainable urban transportation in the Netherlands to studying Afro-Caribbean music in Latin America. 

No other U.S. college or university offers such a robust short-term, faculty-led international program.