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2018 - Cartagena

Summer Study Abroad in Cartagena

The MFA in Creative Writing program at Mount Saint Mary’s University is proud to announce its summer study abroad program in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, from June 1- 24, 2018. This wonderful opportunity is open to both current and non-current students. Courses will be taught in English, although students may write in Spanish if they choose. This experience includes trips to the beautiful Islas del Rosario and the old walled city that is now downtown Cartagena, pulsing with interesting restaurants, museums, music clubs and street performers. Accommodations and classes will be held at Hotel Regatta, a beachfront hotel facing the panoramic blue of the Caribbean. The people of Cartagena are warm and hospitable and the city is most welcoming for exploring its historic and contemporary offerings.

Regatta Hotel Cartagena

Summer Abroad Creative Writing Coursework Our professors, both bilingual, are Colombian novelist Margarita Borrero and L.A. based nonfiction writer Lisa Fetchko. You will be able to complete six units of coursework in six weeks (three in Cartagena and three online upon your return). This program is intended for both current MFA students, and for those outside who want to experience 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 degree of any kind.

Fee: $9,000. This fee includes roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles, 23 hotel nights, two meals a day, two special excursions, medical insurance and tuition for 6 units of graduate coursework. The priority date for registration is March 1, and space is limited. A 30% deposit is due April 2, followed by a second 30% deposit due April 23, and final payment due by May 14. All rooms at the Hotel Regatta are single unless otherwise requested. The seminar room in which classes are held offers a beautiful ocean view. Some rooms also have an ocean view and will be offered to the first students to register.

Current MFA students should contact the Financial Aid Office to explore options on how to finance the program.

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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