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From London to Tokyo, CFAC Students Share Their Light and Participate in Experiential Learning Opportunities

Students From the College of Fine Arts and Communications (CFAC) Travel Nationally and Internationally to Gain Real-World Experience and Share Their Talents While Studying Abroad, Competing, Interning & Performing

Dozens of students in the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications (CFAC) are spending long summer days participating in experiential learning around the globe. With various studies abroad, internships and tours located everywhere from Japan to France, there are many opportunities for students to learn about global culture and develop skills beyond campus. Read more to see what CFAC students said about their June 2024 experiences.

Department of Art | Art in Japan Study Abroad

Art students experienced the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Japan through an immersive art study abroad, which offered participants the opportunity to create art while exploring Japan and learning about its artistic and cultural heritage. The group visited museums, contemporary galleries and cultural and historic sites to help them gain a greater awareness of art and facilitate the development of their individual work. A major portion of the program was spent in Tokyo, with trips planned to places such as Kyoto and Osaka. Students engaged in Japan’s distinctive conceptual and aesthetic values as they studied the country’s architecture, writing, gardens, crafts, everyday life and rich artistic traditions.

School of Communications | Church Communications Internship: Germany

Photo: Adah Shippen at the Berlin Cathedral in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Adah Shippen
Adah Shippen at the Berlin Cathedral in Berlin, Germany
Photo by Adah Shippen

The communications internship with the Europe Area Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Frankfurt, Germany, provides students an unique opportunity to improve their skills in the field. Interns build strategic relationships with opinion leaders who affect the reputation of the Church, and whose actions and influence can influence the Church's mission.

Public relations student Adah Shippen was selected as the summer 2024 intern. “My internship in Frankfurt has been nothing less than a living dream,” said Shippen. “I have been able to travel to famous historical cities, network with wonderful people, learn from multiple Church leaders and deepen my understanding of public relations. I have also had many opportunities to fine tune my abilities in news writing and interviewing, networking, engaging in interfaith dialogue and strategy building. I am extremely grateful to be a part of an internship that has exceeded my expectations in every way.”

School of Communications | The 2024 Gracie Awards in New York City

Each year, the Alliance for Women in Media hosts The Gracie Awards to recognize exemplary work created by women, for women and about women in all aspects of media and entertainment. This year seven students from the journalism program received awards at the ceremony in New York City.

Photo:  Journalism Students Aubree Jennings, Anna LaTour Youngs, Miori Kennedy, Carly Wasserlein, Lynnette McConkie, Lily Cook, Alexa Elliott Johnson at the Gracie Awards with Staff Mentor Melissa Gibbs. Photo Courtesy of The Gracie Awards
Journalism Students Aubree Jennings, Anna LaTour Youngs, Miori Kennedy, Carly Wasserlein, Lynnette McConkie, Lily Cook, Alexa Elliott Johnson at the Gracie Awards with Staff Mentor Melissa Gibbs
Photo Courtesy of The Gracie Awards

During the trip, students also had the opportunity to visit and network with professionals at WCBS Studios, New York 1 Studios, the Nasdaq studio and MTV Studios where they met with BYU comms alum Valerie Garofalo (’19).

“I’m so grateful to Melissa Gibbs and everyone else behind the scenes for making this trip happen,” said journalism student Aubree Jennings. “This trip was one of the most empowering experiences of my life because I was surrounded by incredible women everywhere we went. We had the opportunity to network with women who had successfully made it in the journalism and media industry in New York City. For the first time in my life, I actually believed I could fulfill my dream of working as a journalist there too. Meeting with both professionals who had been in the industry for decades and BYU alumni who graduated a few years ago made me realize that my dreams are attainable. This trip seriously changed my perspective and made me believe in myself. I’m so so grateful.”

Department of Dance | Living Legends Tour

BYU Living Legends toured France and Belgium where they performed at festivals and local venues. The group taught children at a refugee camp and learned how to use traditional drums from a group of Japanese young adults. They also had the opportunity to perform for a group of Belgium delegates.

Photo: Living Legends Students in Costume, Photo Courtesy of Fernando Ramos
Living Legends Students in Costume
Photo Courtesy of Fernando Ramos

Student performers loved the opportunity to share their cultures and testimonies through dance.

“The tour was an amazing chance to get closer to my team and to the spirit of Christ,” said Treygan Bragg. “The experience strengthened my testimony that the gospel is worldwide and that love is a universal language that can be expressed in many ways. I am so grateful for my team and the lifelong friends and experiences that I will never forget.”

Living Legends performer, Kamailelani Grace, said, “There is no better feeling than sharing the cultures that I love and cherish through dance for those who have a desire to learn. Audiences feel the sweet spirit that comes from a Living Legends show.”

Fernando Ramos added, “I think of this tour as a busy, yet fulfilling experience with opportunities to bless the lives of others, be the recipient of those blessings ourselves, and to experience both each day.”

School of Music | Vienna Music Study Abroad

Photo: Scott Holden Teaching Students on Site at Arnold Schonberg’s Grave, Photo Courtesy of Scott Holden
Scott Holden Teaching Students on Site at Arnold Schonberg’s Grave
Photo Courtesy of Scott Holden

Music students studied in the city where Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert lived and worked. Students had the opportunity to explore art museums and historical sites and attend concerts of some of the top musicians in the world. Students learned on site at locations such as Franz Liszt’s apartment in Budapest, Wolfgan Amadeus Mozart’s home in Austria and Arnold Schonberg’s grave. Excursions to Budapest, Prague and Salzburg allowed students to explore additional historical and cultural treasures and immerse themselves in music, art, language, architecture and culture.

“Great music seems to be a fundamental element of daily life in Vienna,” said Scott Holden, School of Music faculty member and director of the study abroad program. “The flexibility of teaching in Vienna meant that not only could we visit the sites we were learning about, but I could sometimes teach my lecture at those exact sites. Many students described the experiences they had while studying abroad as life changing.”

Department of Theatre and Media Arts and English Department | London Theatre Study Abroad

Photo: Students and faculty outside the Big Ben. Photo Courtesy of BYU English Faculty Member Frank Christianson
Students and Faculty at Big Ben in London
Photo Courtesy of Frank Christianson

The London Theatre Study Abroad program provides opportunities for students to explore the rich culture of London. The participants of the trip spent six weeks in London, studying and attending productions at the famed National Theatre, Globe Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, West End and more.

“This study abroad experience was a well-oiled educational machine,” said one student from the study abroad program. “The plays, exhibitions, tours and sites built on each other in a profound way. Taking both a Shakespeare and Advanced Theatre Appreciation class while studying here allowed me to really interact and absorb the experiences presented. I learned that everything can inspire learning when you approach it with a curious and intentional lens.”

“Part of my experiential learning was the growth in my ability to recognize and appreciate spaces as “curated” spaces and what that means for my experience and education,” said another student. “The curated spaces we visited provided context into Shakespeare’s plays and world that watching a movie or reading a book cannot accomplish. By going places we feel things, and by feeling things, we learn things and find new questions and perspectives.”

Department of Theatre and Media Arts | London Theatre and Media Arts Study Abroad

Students and Faculty at Chepstow Castle in Chepstow, Wales
Photo Courtesy of Wade Hollingshaus

The London Theatre & Media Arts program provides students an unparalleled chance to engage with some of the world’s finest examples of cinema and theatre. With its rich history and its inexhaustible supply of cinemas, theatres, museums, buildings, landscape and design, London is an epicenter for 21st-century artistic expression. The London Theatre & Media Arts program allows opportunities for students to engage with both live performances and a variety of media productions in a way that recognizes and respects the unique contributions of each and explores how these forms can come together to create some of the most important and moving art of the future.

“I felt incredibly blessed to go on a study abroad that was filled with so much scheduled variety while still allowing for free time,” said media arts student Sophie Graham.

“I never thought I’d have the chance to experience something like this but now that I have, I can’t imagine a college career without it,” said media arts student Erin Gibson. “The whole trip was a priceless experience that I will forever cherish and hold dear.”