Global Projects Program

map with several cities marked for the Global Projects Program project centers

WPI’s Global Projects Program offers students distinctive learning opportunities at more than 50 project centers around the world—and those opportunities keep going all summer long. Whether students choose to have an intensive Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) experience or a cultural immersion with a Humanities and Arts Project (HUA), summer travels during E-Term offer many possibilities.

While IQPs run throughout the year, the HUA experiences are offered abroad only during the summer and more closely resemble a traditional study abroad experience, says Kathleen Head, director of the Global Experience Office. HUAs offer an immersive experience that emphasizes and researches a locale’s history, culture, and language. “The HUA helps the student orient themselves within the larger context of the world,” says Head. “Students still work as a team and navigate a new environment, but the deeper learning is building a better world understanding of language, cultures, and places.” 

Many students do the HUA between their first and second years, giving an opportunity to complete all three of WPI’s required projects—HUA, IQP, and Major Qualifying Project—off-campus. 

This E-Term, Aarti Madan, associate professor of Humanities & Arts, will accompany a group of students to the Buenos Aires, Argentina Project Center where they will spend four weeks. When the students return home to complete the remaining three weeks of the HUA requirement, the learning immersion continues as they complete individual research projects begun in Argentina. “They do a deep dive into something about the human experience that they find compelling,” says Madan, “and that tells us something larger about a specific historical, cultural, or literary moment in Argentina.” 

In Buenos Aries, mornings are spent in the Intensive Spanish Program (ISP) at Universidad de San Andrés, a partner institution. Afternoons and weekends are for soaking up the atmosphere and culture with outings to historic neighborhoods, street art tours, museums, natural sites, political history settings, and even the famed Iguazú Falls. 

Students gain a global understanding through the distinctive language and living opportunities that offer a valuable perspective. They agree to speak only Spanish for the month, and they live with Argentinian host families, not in residential halls. “To actually live in the country and use language hourly and daily to take a bus, to wash clothes, to ask a homestay mother for more toast—that sort of regular input and output shifts your brain chemistry and leads to fluency,” Madan says. “Their immersion in Argentina in classrooms, campus, and city really moves the needle on their listening comprehension and oral fluency.”

In addition to the Buenos Aries Project Center, nearly 150 students are working on IQPs and HUA projects in these locations during E-Term (Summer) 2024:

HUA locations

IQP locations