Italy: Rome from Pantheon to MAAM
Rome, Italy 2017

Wintersession Travel Courses

RISD Wintersession Travel Courses are rich, short-term global learning opportunities, led by RISD faculty, that take place for up to 5 weeks between fall and spring semesters.

As a core part of its mission to educate artists, designers, architects, scholars, and leaders to make lasting contributions to a global society, RISD is committed to developing these ever-relevant off-campus global learning opportunities. These unique off-campus programs are designed to give you the opportunity to embed yourself in new cultural contexts, to learn from artists and designers in those countries and regions, and to develop your practice in environments beyond RISD’s Providence campus.

In Wintersession 2024, RISD Global is offered 3 creative and culturally immersive art, design, and Liberal Arts courses in multiple locations, international and domestic.

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2025 will open on September 4, 2024 at 4:00 PM and close on October 3, 2024 at 11:59 PM. Wintersession Travel Courses are not first come, first served, and students will have the duration of the application to submit.

At-a-glance

When
Wintersession, 4–5 weeks

January / February

Who
Open to RISD students, Brown University students

Minimum 2.5 GPA + permission of instructor required. Most courses open to first year students with approval from the Dean of EFS.

Application Deadline
The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2025 will open on September 4, 2024 at 4:00 PM and close on October 3, 2024 at 11:59 PM.

Wintersession Travel Courses are not first come, first served, and students will have the duration of the application to submit.

Academic Credits
3–6
Instruction Language
  • English
Morocco: Crafting the City
Fez, Morocco 2018
Guyana: Exploring Art and Science of Bio Diversity in Guyana
Surama, Guyana 2019

Wintersession 2025

Biodesign NYC

At RISD, the biodesign studies that we have undertaken have supported our strategic plan: by introducing our students to new, collaborative ways of making and knowing; by engaging sustainability through a variety of means that can help decarbonize and detoxify our communities; and, by pursuing accessible projects, resources, and opportunities that can contribute positively to diverse peoples, and our planet. But RISD is not a hub for the study and practice of biodesign.

INDIA_SENSED | Craft and Collaboration in the Digital Age

This global travel course offers a unique opportunity to experience craft as practiced at the highest level on location in Jaipur, India, with its long tradition and rich diversity of artisan culture, and to explore how digital technologies which pervade contemporary art and design education can act in collaboration.

Italy | Material Evidence - Rendering Venice Visible through the Works of Carlo Scarpa + Italo Calvino

In this five-week Wintersession Travel Course students will document, through hand-drawing and photogrammetry, a significant selection of the works of Carlo Scarpa on-site. This is to be used as a critical lens by which to understand complex conditions of the Venetian landscape, while conversely understand how Venice’s historic, cultural, artistic, and environmental realities would nourish the creative development of one of the most inventive and enigmatic figures in 20th century design and architecture.

Japan | Design Culture – From 263 Years of Isolationism to International Influence

This class is a broad-based exploration of the remarkable contemporary international influence of Japanese art and design including: the architecture and interior design of Pritzker Prize winning architects as well as historic temples; the historic illustrations of Katsushika Hokusai and those of internationally popular anime and manga; the minimalist landscape designs or rock and moss gardens; and the sculpture of Noguchi.

We will trek across Honshu -- the largest and populous of the Japanese islands, which includes Tokyo. We will visit the dedicated Art Islands of Naoshima - known for the Benesse Impressionist paintings of Claude Monet, and Teshima, site of the famed concrete shell that is the Teshima Museum.

New Old Japan | Contemporary "Giwafu" Design Guidebook

This travel course will visit various Japanese traditional design centers, including architecture, landscape, ceramics, woodworks, textiles, papers, and other products, while exploring the modern and contemporary appropriation of the traditional language. During the explorations, students will make observations and produce drawings depicting their perceived "Japanese form." The drawings will be compiled into a "Giwafu Design Guidebook,” which will inform students’ Giwafu design as a resulting outcome of this course.

Southern Africa | Art & Science of Conservation

This immersive interdisciplinary Wintersession Travel Course is for art and design students interested in exploring past and current efforts to conserve biodiversity in South Africa and Namibia while also developing their communication and documentation skills.

Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2024 is now closed.

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About Wintersession Travel Courses + FAQ

Explore answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wintersession Travel Courses below:

Is a Wintersession Travel Course right for me?

Because RISD Global offers a diverse and ever-evolving set of Wintersession Travel Courses around the world, this program type is well suited for a wide variety of emerging artists, designers, and architects. Wintersession Travel Courses are a perfect opportunity to explore coursework and techniques outside of your major, or to understand your own discipline from a new and critical global perspective. Course topics, locations, and travel itineraries are based on faculty proposals and change annually, so there will always be something new and of interest to you! You can explore past courses in our programs database to get a feel for the type of courses we offer.

What credits do Wintersession Travel Courses offer?
Each Wintersession, RISD Global offers several studio and Liberal Arts, Wintersession Travel Courses, which offer 3 or 6 RISD academic credits. For co-requisite courses, you will be registered for both components of the travel course. Credits are typically assigned from the leading faculty’s academic department.

Who teaches Wintersession Travel Course?

When you take a Wintersession Travel Course you can be sure that your instructor will be a RISD faculty member and that your course will offer RISD credits. You can filter our programs database by faculty to see who has led Wintersession Travel Courses in the past.

Do I need to be fluent in another language to attend?
No, all travel courses are taught entirely in English, though basic knowledge of the local language never hurts! As a global citizen, when at all possible, it is important to be able to greet people, ask for directions, thank people, etc. in the local language of the place you are visiting.

I'm a Brown University student. How will I transfer my credits?

Wintersession Travel Courses are eligible for standard Brown/RISD cross-registration.

When do Wintersession Travel Courses take place?

Wintersession Travel Courses are 4-5 weeks long and take place in January - early February. Most courses start and end on site. Occasionally part of your course may take place on RISD’s campus, prior to or following the travel component of your course. Course dates and travel dates are listed on each course page.

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2025 will open on September 4, 2024 at 4:00 PM and close on October 3, 2024 at 11:59 PM. Wintersession Travel Courses are not first come, first served, and students will have the duration of the application to submit.

How much do Wintersession Travel Courses cost?

The course fee varies for each course but typically includes shared accommodation, studio space, local transportation, field trips, tours, guides and lectures, museums and/or site visits fees, some group meals, and mandatory travel health insurance. In specific cases, additional costs (airfare, materials, multiple meals, etc) might be included. Refer to the “At-a-Glance” orange box on the specific course page for a full outline of each course’s costs. You will be required to pay the course fee in full at the time of registration.

You are responsible for the following out-of-pocket expenses in addition to the course fee noted on the specific course page:

  • Airfare to and from the course location (unless the course fee explicitly states a group flight is included)
  • Entry Visa (when applicable)
  • Transportation during non-program time and for personal activities unrelated to course activities
  • Meals (usually only a few group meals are included in the course fee)
  • Supplies and materials (unless otherwise stated in the course fee). You may choose to bring your own art supplies and materials or purchase them upon arrival. In some locations it may be difficult to source specific supplies and materials on site.

Please note: to participate in the RISD Wintersession Travel Courses, all students are required to stay in RISD-provided housing for the duration of the course.

SFS Balance Payment Policy

Per Student Financial Services policy, RISD students who plan to travel on school-sponsored trips must first pay your student account balance in full. If your account has an outstanding balance you are ineligible for travel until full payment has been made and you may forfeit any funds already used to book travel arrangements.

Are scholarships available?

RISD Global partners with Student Financial Services and Institutional Engagement as well as the Office of Social Equity and Inclusion to offer limited need-based travel scholarships. All RISD students are eligible to apply. Full and partial scholarships are awarded. A full RISD Travel Scholarship covers the course fee but not the out-of-pocket expenses, such as airfare. The scholarship application is embedded within the course application.

Are other funding opportunities available?

Finding funding for off-campus global learning experiences can seem daunting, but persistence pays off! Explore this proven list of trusted sources for external scholarship funding for off-campus programs, beyond the scope of RISD’s Travel Scholarship funding. You might also consider meeting with Student Financial Services to explore if you are eligible for alternate/private loans that can be applied to your Wintersession Travel Course.

Is a Wintersession Travel Course right for me?

If you are a RISD or Brown University student with a GPA of 2.5 and up, you are eligible to apply. Applications are reviewed by course faculty and acceptance is based upon application. Learn more – Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course.

Unless otherwise noted on the course page, all Wintersession Travel Courses are open to students in any year of study. Please check the course pages on this website carefully to learn about any restrictions specific to your chosen travel course. In all cases, RISD first-year students enrolled in Experimental & Foundation Studies must provide approval from the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies as part of their applications.

How do I apply?

The application process will be completed using an online application portal. Learn more – Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course.

Off-Campus Programs Policy

As per RISD's Off-Campus Programs policy, all Wintersession Travel Course students enrolled at RISD must remain in good standing, in terms of conduct and finances, up until and throughout your time on the travel course. Failure to remain in good academic standing can lead to removal from the course, either before or during the course.

Where do Wintersession Travel Courses take place?

Wintersession Travel Courses occur in a variety of destinations in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania, Europe, and the Middle East. You can explore past courses in our programs database.

How is housing different? What should I expect?

Student housing varies around the world and on our programs. Make sure you read your program page carefully to determine if the housing situation will match your comfort level. Typically accommodation is in hotels or dorm-style (or equivalent) and booked in double rooms, but can also include tents and camping, or pods in Tokyo, among many other variations.

Can I find my own accommodation and not pay part of the program fee?

No, mandatory group accommodation is included in all Wintersession Travel Courses. For health and safety reasons we require that you reside with the group. You are not permitted to find alternative accommodation at any stage during the course.

Can I get a single room?

Requesting a single may be possible in some venues, but is not guaranteed, and in such cases, you will be directly responsible for the difference in the total accommodation fee. If you anticipate needing a single to comply with formal disability accommodation, please get in touch with Disability Student Services and RISD Global well in advance of your global learning program to see if this is possible.

Can I request a roommate?

Yes, in most cases you can. If you do request a roommate, make sure that your potential roommate requests you as well!

Will there be group airline reservations?

Usually not. We realize many students have different departure points and post-trip destinations, so traveling with the group to and from the course location is typically not compulsory. We simply require that you arrange your schedule to be at a prearranged meeting point on the first day and remain with the group until the final day. You will be asked to provide your flight schedule details to RISD Global so we know when to expect you.

In special cases when group flights to and from the course location are included in the course fee, this will be noted on the program page.

Do I need a passport?

Yes, participation in Wintersession Travel Courses requires a valid passport that should not expire within 6 months of the return date from your course. Additional requirements may apply.

  • U.S. citizens: Check the Department of State website for application/renewal guidance.
  • Citizens of all other countries: Check your embassy/consulate’s website for renewal guidance. If you have an I-20 form, you must also ensure that you get it signed for travel by a member of the International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) before departing the United States. If you are a Permanent Resident you should carry your green card together with your passport.

If you determine that your passport is not valid prior to travel, contact RISD Global immediately!

Do I need a visa?

This depends on your citizenship and the countries to which you are traveling to and through. Check your destination country’s embassy/consulate website for visa application guidance. You are responsible for maintaining your own legal status and applying for your visa (if applicable). Upon request, RISD Global will provide you with an enrollment letter in support of the visa application.

Do I need health insurance?

Yes, travel health insurance offered by RISD Global’s preferred provider is included in your course fee. This is supplementary coverage meant to complement, not replace, your standard health insurance coverage.

I am an international student. What should I think about prior to travel?

Be mindful that you may need a visa to visit the course location. Check the country’s consulate/ embassy website for visa application guidance.

If you have an I-20 form, you must also ensure that you get it signed for travel by a member of the International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA before departing the United States. If you are a Permanent Resident you should carry your green card together with your passport. For further support, don’t hesitate to reach out to the International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA)

Will my phone work internationally?

It’s essential that you have a working phone with data throughout the duration of your global program. Check with your cell provider to ensure you can add an international plan to your coverage or replace your SIM/ e-SIM card with a local (or international) SIM/ e-SIM in advance or upon arrival.

How do I prepare for handling money internationally?

  • Tell your bank your destination and travel dates.
  • Get to know your bank’s policies for international transaction and exchange fees.
  • Make sure you have a chipped debit or credit card, and request a pin for ATM withdrawals.
  • Get to know the exchange rates for currency in your travel destination.
  • Consider that many countries are more cash-based than the US, so you can't always rely on a debit card or credit card for small purchases. Make a plan for having local cash upon arrival.
  • Always have a backup plan! Work with trusted family or friends to understand how you will access funds if you need them in an emergency.

How can I prepare for my physical/mental health while off-campus?

We recommend a physical checkup with your primary care provider prior to travel. If you take daily medications, request a refill with enough medication to last the duration of your trip. If you currently see a mental health professional on a regular basis, share your travel plans and brainstorm how you can maintain your mental health away from home. Once enrolled, you are eligible to contact our travel health insurance provider in advance to explore local services in your course location and even make appointments and order prescriptions in advance. For further support, don’t hesitate to reach out to RISD Health and Wellness

I am an international student. What should I think about prior to travel?

Be mindful that you may need a visa to visit the course location. Check the country’s consulate/ embassy website for visa application guidance. RISD Global can assist, upon request.

If you have an I-20 form, you must also ensure that you get it signed for travel by a member of the International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) before departing the United States. If you are a Permanent Resident you should carry your green card together with your passport. For further support, don’t hesitate to reach out to the International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA)

How do I submit required documents to RISD Global, once accepted?
You will continue to utilize the status page of your online application portal to complete tasks and uploads relevant to your participation in your Wintersession Travel Course, such as important health and safety processes. You are responsible for checking the portal frequently and completing these tasks in a timely manner once accepted to your Wintersession Travel Course.

What are Pre-departure Meetings?

You will meet your fellow Wintersession Travel Course participants at our mandatory pre-departure meetings, where you will learn more about your class, itinerary, assignments, important preparation actions to be taken, travel arrangements, health and safety information, and what to pack! Meeting days, times, and locations will be communicated to you upon your acceptance.

How else can I prepare?

For more general pre-departure preparation suggestions, visit our Study Globally FAQ.

RISD reserves the right to cancel a course due to under-enrollment. As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Wintersession Travel Courses until the travel is confirmed, which happens no later than one week after the final Wintersession Travel Course payment period.

In cases where Wintersession Travel Courses do not reach minimum capacity, the course may be cancelled after the last day of Wintersession Travel Course registration period. In case of cancellation, all payments will be refunded in full. Any cost incurred for travel reservations in such situations is the participant’s sole responsibility.

RISD Wintersession Travel Courses follow the RISD withdrawal policy for off-campus global learning programs

Scholarships

Increasing financial aid is a central pillar of RISD’s equity, inclusion and diversity commitment. Through partnership with other campus offices, we are working to provide greater support and access to students interested in pursuing global learning experiences at RISD.

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1:1 Advising Session

Have questions? The RISD Global team is available to meet for a 1:1 advising session. We can give you more information about your study options, help you figure out which program makes sense for you, and assist you with the application process.

Schedule an Appointment

Wintersession Planner

Apply for Wintersession Travel Course in September. Wintersession Travel Courses are open to all students with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, with 1st year students required to provide approval from the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies as part of their applications.

Wintersession 2025

Fall 2024

May 2024

Wintersession Travel Courses are announced



September 4, 2024

Application opens



September - October 2024

Attend an information session

Set up a 1:1 advising appointment

Course-specific infosessions begin



October 3, 2024

Course and scholarship application closes



October 11, 2024

Students are notified of faculty decision (accepted/waitlist/denied)

Students are notified of scholarship awards



October 16, 2024

Payment deadline



early-November 2024

General pre-departure meeting



November - December 2024

Course specific pre-departure meetings


Wintersession 2025

January 2 - 10, 2024

Wintersession Travel Courses begin



January 31 - February 10, 2024

Wintersession Travel Courses end


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