University of Southern California

Interdisciplinary Training

School of Architecture

Undergraduate Student Projects in Asia

The USC School of Architecture offers a twelve-week summer program for 20 undergraduate architecture students. This 10-unit course begins with a four-week study trip to Cambodia, China, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. This project offers Architecture students an opportunity to learn about various aspects of architecture and business cultures abroad as well as to fully develop individual architectural projects during their eight-week design studio with University of Malaya architectural students. Students learn about various governmental regulations, business practices and cultural norms that affect the design of projects in five vastly different Asian societies and also meet with leading architects and urban planners in these countries. The focus of the joint USC-UM Design Studio has been to design sustainable, community-based projects, which are actually intended to be built such as a school, a clinic and a cooperative housing project for government agencies in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. CIBER funds are used to finance a planning trip for the faculty leader.


China Laboratory for School of Education Doctoral Students

The purpose of the "China Laboratory" is to introduce 20 Rossier School of Education doctoral students to the higher education issues that Chinese educators and policymakers confront, in order to cope with the rapid growth of China's higher education sector, while at the same time trying to increase the quality of China's educational institutions. The goals of this project are: a) to introduce graduate students to developments in education in China so as to increase their capabilities to deal with international education issues in their educational careers in the United States; b) to create new research and networking opportunities for both students and faculty; and c) to develop joint and collaborative programs with selected Chinese institutions of higher education. The students will participate in about seven hours of lectures to gain an understanding of the economic, political, cultural and educational environment of China. During the ten-day visit, students will learn about higher education challenges from discussions with academics, policymakers, and students. CIBER funds will help finance part of the students' in-county travel expenses.


Mexico Global Immersion Program in Social Work

This project is designed to increase the level of cultural competence of 20 Social Work graduate students in the organization and delivery of health and human services with populations of Mexican descent. The "push-pull" phenomenon of immigration between Mexico and the U.S. is especially salient in the health and human services sector, given the benefits and burden of immigration on California's health care and social service budgets. This three-week global immersion course, which will include a blend of lectures, seminars, and interactive workshops in Los Angeles (one week) and Mexico (two weeks), will increase the students' knowledge about the theoretical frameworks, practice skills, and attitudes needed to provide culturally-competent health and human service programs in Southern California and other U.S. urban areas with high representations of Mexican and Mexican-American residents. This project is a collaborative effort between USC's School of Social Work and the School of Social Work at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico. CIBER funds will help finance part of the students' in-county travel expenses.


China Laboratory in Policy, Planning, and Development

The School of Policy Planning & Development (SPPD) provides a two-week intensive summer program in China for about 20 graduate students from SPPD. This lab is produced in cooperation with faculty and graduate students from Peking University's School of Government. Multidisciplinary student teams analyze information pertinent to the project and produce a set of recommendations. In the 2009 Lab, 14 students developed case studies linking water quality and human settlement for their client, the Municipal Government of Foshan, China, presenting potential solutions for river revitalization in the Pearl River Delta. As lab participants apply their professional knowledge to practical problems in the Chinese context, they will gain a better understanding of the extent to which professional knowledge, based on an American context, may or may not apply in China. CIBER funds finance part of the students' on-the-ground travel expenses.


Latin America Laboratory in Policy, Planning, and Development

The School of Policy Planning & Development (SPPD) provides a two-week intensive summer program for about 20 SPPD graduate students to a different major Latin American commercial hub each year. As lab participants apply their professional knowledge in the Latin American context, these students gain a better understanding of the extent to which professional knowledge based on an American context may or may not apply in Latin America. In 2008's Brazil Lab, students analyzed the "Favela to Bairro" or "slum to neighborhood" projects, in which Rio's municipal government tried to improve the living conditions in the favelas by integrating these settlements into the fabric of the city. Student teams conducted field research and made recommendations on fundamental issues pertaining to the city's current Favela-Bairro program. CIBER funds are used to finance part of the students' on-the-ground travel expenses.


International Planning Studios

International planning studio is a 4-unit course for about 20 Policy Planning, and Development graduate students in which an instructor develops a project in collaboration with a "real-world" client. The studio requires students to participate in ten pre-trip class sessions to develop background materials and learn about the specific topic under consideration, before making the two-week study trip to their respective country. Each planning studio intends to educate students on important issues in urban planning practice, convey the challenges of comparative urban planning, and to leave the clients with a report that will help them implement a specific policy or development project. Recent labs have been in Beijing, China, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Cardiff, United Kingdom. CIBER funds will help finance part of the students' in-county travel expenses.


Asia/Pacific Business Outlook Conference Awards to IR Graduate Student

Two USC International Relations graduate students will be provided registration awards to attend CIBER's annual Asia/Pacific Business Outlook (APBO) conference. The APBO conference, one of the premier events for U.S. businesses seeking to expand their trade and investment opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, annually helps to improve the international competitiveness of its 300 participants. Participation in APBO allows the IR graduate students to gain insights into the actual world of international business. CIBER funds will be used to provide APBO registration awards.


Dissertation Awards for International Relations Graduate Students

This project will provide dissertation awards to International Relations doctoral students to complete dissertation research on topics related to international business and international economics. CIBER funds will be used to support the dissertation awards.