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Study Abroad

Summer Study Abroad in Cartagena

The MFA in Creative Writing at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles is proud to announce its summer study abroad program, to be held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, June 1-24, 2018.  Courses will be taught in English, though students are also allowed to write in Spanish if they wish.  This experience will include a trip to the beautiful Islas del Rosario and to the walled city that is now downtown Cartagena, pulsing with interesting restaurants, music clubs, and street performers.  You will stay at the Hotel Regatta, at the shore of a Caribbean beach.  The people of Cartagena are warm and hospitable, so you will find it a welcoming and open city, easy to get around in. 

Regatta Hotel CartagenaClasses are taught in English.  Our professors, both bilingual, are Colombian novelist Margarita Borrero, and L.A. based non-fiction writer Lisa Fetchko.  You will be able to complete six hours of coursework in six weeks (three in Cartagena and three online upon your return).  This program is intended both for current MFA students, and for those outside who want to get a taste of the special quality of our program.  Students not affiliated with MSMU will be admitted on the basis of a writing sample and proof of a BA or BS of any kind. 

The priority date for registration is March 1, and space is limited.  a 30% deposit must be given by April 1.  A full payment must be made by April 15.  All rooms are single, unless otherwise requested.  They are attractive and recently refurbished.  Breakfast and lunch are included Monday to Friday, and for the excursions.  The seminar room in which classes are held furnishes a beautiful ocean view.  Some rooms also offer an ocean view and will be given in order to the first students to register.

If you are interested in the program, please contact Johnny Payne, MFA Director, at or 213-477-2802.

To get a sense of the city, please go the following sites:

To get a sense of the hotel where we will stay, go to:

Gabriel García Márquez: The Magician of Prose

This summer course will lead students through several of García Márquez’s stories and novels amidst one of the most beautiful and iconic cities of magic realism, Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. The course rediscovers his works by reading them in a structured way that not only opens them up and gives them a new, deeper perspective, but also reveals their humor, insight and beauty. Cartagena and the Caribbean are to García Márquez what Dublin was to Joyce, London to Dickens or Prague to Kafka. Revisiting his works in the very same place where they originated provides a unique opportunity to trace his whole creative process; from the origin of an idea to a full development of a plot.

We invite you to come along and find out why the Caribbean setting appealed to him so strongly and how he used it. Whether you’ve always wanted to just give it a go or if you’re a fan when it comes to García Marquez´s work, you’ll find a welcoming environment in the city that inspired the writer himself.

Crónica: The Latin American Tradition of Non-Fiction

For several hundred years, it was against the law to publish fiction in the Spanish colonies of Latin America. This led to a rich, innovative tradition of nonfiction that began with the crónicas (chronicles) of the Spanish explorers and is still going strong today. This course focuses on writers from Latin America against the backdrop of one the most historically significant cities in the Americas. We’ll look at the history of nonfiction as a genre and its explosive transformation over the last 75 years.

With the colorful, coastal city of Cartagena as our laboratory, we’ll try our hand at essays, journalism and creative nonfiction. During the last three weeks of online coursework, we’ll focus on personal narrative and memoir. All together, we’ll read writers from Mexico, Chile, Peru and Argentina, as well as work by two outstanding Colombians: an early work of journalism by Gabriel García Márquez and a powerful epistolary memoir by Colombian painter Emma Reyes. The course will be taught in English, but many of the readings will be available in Spanish, and students will be able to write in Spanish if they choose.

Come read and write in Cartagena!

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