In College of Fine Arts and Communications, Masterclasses, Tours

Students from the College of Fine Arts and Communications travel internationally on study abroads, competitions and internships to gain real-world experience and share their talents

Each year, students in the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications take the knowledge and skills they have learned in the classroom and make their mark on their local and global communities. From China to Brazil, these students are having inspiring learning opportunities all over the globe while having real-world experiences.

Read more about how students from the College of Fine Arts and Communications answered President Kevin J. Worthen’s call for inspired learning during May:

China Spectacular 


(Courtesy of BYU Photo, Susan Kupferer, Tyler Persson, @byu_folkdance, Jonathan Tanner, McKenna Wright and Drew Duncan)

Dozens of students from across the college traveled to China this summer for the China Spectacular. They performed in multiple cities and experienced some of the most iconic places in China, including the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs. 

“As I reflect on my time in China, it’s clear that all of my knowledge and ability means very little without people to share it with,” said Tyler Persson, a member of the International Folk Dance Ensemble. “This tour was about people, not about performances. The interactions that we had with people in lobbies, on the streets, or in any other daily comings and goings were poignant reminders of this.”

The groups that toured in the China Spectacular included Ballroom Dance Company, Chamber Orchestra, Cougarettes, the Dunk Team, International Folk Dance Ensemble, Living Legends, Vocal Point and Young Ambassadors.

“Because there were eight different performing groups on the tour, we were able to meet others and become friends,” said Susan Kupferer, the assistant stage manager on tour. “Art is a medium that transcends language.”

In addition to connecting with others through art while on tour, a few BYU students were able to use their knowledge of the Chinese language to further build relationships.

“I speak Mandarin Chinese, and I feel so blessed for that. Every opportunity I had to talk to a child, talk to a member of the audience or to translate allowed me to increase my love for the Chinese people,” said McKenna Wright, a member of Young Ambassadors. “The feeling that I was being used as a tool in God’s hands was apparent to me throughout the whole tour.”


Communications Mentored-Learning Experience in Spain

(Courtesy of Natasha Ramirez and Dale Cressman)

Five communications students and three professors traveled to Spain to capture the experience of Spanish language majors walking the Camino de Santiago, a network of pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in northwestern Spain. The footage will be turned into a documentary about the Camino de Santiago, why people walk it and what it means to be a pilgrim.

Our communications students conducted themselves so professionally. They are passionate about the project and hardworking,” said professor Dale Cressman. “We were very fortunate to have this experience. I believe it begins to fulfill the vision of our school’s director, Ed Carter — to get our students out into the world in mentored learning situations where they can do challenging but exceptional things.”

BYU communications students shadowed and interviewed BYU Spanish students on the Camino de Santiago study abroad while they were making the pilgrimage as well as others they met along the way. Additionally, they learned about Gregorian chants from Spanish monks and sang hymns from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint hymnbook for people in the cathedral at Silos.

“Everywhere I went on the Camino, people told me they had met one or more of our students,” said Cressman. “In every single instance, those people told me how impressed they were with them.”


Theatre Ballet

(Courtesy of Ryan Hatch and @byutheatreballet)

BYU Theatre Ballet students spent a week in Spokane, Washington at a ballet conference participating in masterclasses, working with professionals and networking. Some dancers even received scholarships to attend other workshops and conferences.

“Going to Regional Dance America allowed me to network with some of the best ballet teachers in the country,” said Ryan Hatch, one of the touring students. 

After the conference, the group went on to perform throughout the Pacific Northwest. 

“The Theatre Ballet tour gave me the opportunity to perform and share my talents with others. It was amazing to meet the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from around the world and introduce them to the BYU Dance program,” said Hatch.


London Theatre Study Abroad


(Courtesy of Caylee Gardner, TMA newsletter and Megan Sanborn Jones)

Students and professors traveled to London on a theatre study abroad during spring term for the London Theatre study abroad. Students had the opportunity to see numerous shows — including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)” — which will help inspire them in their own creative pursuits in acting and playwriting. Outside the theatre, students have experienced other tourist attractions in England such as hiking the Cliffs of Dover, visiting parks and touring museums.


Ballroom Dance Company 

(Courtesy of Landon Anderson and @byuballroom)

The BYU Ballroom Dance Company toured several European countries, including England, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain. BYU won the British Latin Formation Championships while competing in Blackpool, England.

“What a blessing it was to win the British Formation Championship at the Blackpool Dance Festival! I am so thankful to my teammates, coaches, choreographers and to our Father in Heaven for this talent we have of dance,” said Landon Anderson.

Additionally, students were able to visit church history sites, eat fish and chips, go on a tour of the Ribble River Valley and experience life throughout Europe!


Internship with the Late Show with Stephen Colbert 

(Courtesy of Zoe Taylor)

BYU TMA student Zoe Taylor interned for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert this spring. Taylor has been able to learn from industry professionals while enhancing her personal skills in the field.

“My favorite part of the internship was the sheer number of people I met and interacted with — celebrities, the costume and wardrobe department, the band members and so many more,” said Taylor. “The office was full of amazing people.”

While she entered the internship with strong problem-solving and communication skills, the fast-paced environment required her to stretch herself in ways she hadn’t previously anticipated.

“It gave me a practical environment to use the skills I’ve learned while working on student films for the last several years — and weirdly enough the skills I’ve also learned while working at the law library,” said Taylor.


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