When I was looking at colleges, an awesome study abroad program was on my must-have list. It didn’t really have anything to do with my future career aspirations–I was just nostalgic for Paris after 4 years of French class and countless readings of Les Miserables. Even now sometimes I wish I was living in a flat off Rue Saint Honore, writing novels, and eating macarons. But I’m here in Los Angeles, which according to a recent LA Times article is the hottest new destination for “study abroad.”
“‘We joke that we are in a foreign country here,’ said Bill Linsman, who heads Boston University’s 6-year-old Los Angeles Internship Program from a Wilshire Boulevard office. Most of the students are from the East Coast, and L.A.’s entertainment business ‘is a foreign culture’ for them, he said.”
Colleges all over the country are offering semesters in Hollywood as opposed to the traditional academic sojourn abroad to places like Paris, London, or Tokyo. They’re meant to be training grounds for would-be actors, writers, directors, producers, agents, studio executives, advertisers, marketers, publicists, and maybe even a few production assistants.
“L.A. semesters, which typically cost about the same as a term at the home campus, aside from transportation extras, help students make informed decisions about their futures, explained Stephen Tropiano, director of Ithaca’s program, which started in 1994.”
Some colleges and universities that offer a Hollywood program include:
Boston University, Columbia College of Chicago, Elon University, Emerson College, Ithaca College, Temple University, University of Texas at Austin, and selected schools from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
So, forget Paris. Come to Hollywood, the City of Klieg Lights.