Why Anthropology?

Culture Academy abroad programs introduce students to the fields of global affairs and sociocultural anthropology—the study of human cultures in their diversity and variation. Rather than providing a collection of facts about other cultures, however, our program attempts to provide a sense of the general approach anthropologists take when they study another culture. This approach is extremely useful regardless of the field or career path one takes. In other words, it focuses on how to ask intelligent questions, rather than providing an inventory of answers. Its aim is to lead you to “think like an anthropologist” as you reflect on other cultures as well as your own.

While in the popular mind anthropology is often associated with isolated villages or “primitive tribes,” in fact, anthropologists today study cities, media, migration, militarism, science and technology and an array of contemporary issues. What is most distinctive about cultural anthropology is the way it looks at the world. Culture Academy will teach students how to “see like an anthropologist.” No matter what your interests or ambitions, learning how to see others and yourself through anthropological perspectives is a valuable skill that will yield novel insights about your own life and the world. The perspectives offered by anthropology will challenge you to examine critically your common-sense assumptions about society and human nature.

Learning to observe closely, to listen carefully, to read between the lines, to suspend judgment, to perceive the absurdity of our own social conventions as well as those of others, to become attuned to nuance and ambiguity, to see not black and white, but all the many shades of variation in between, to see yourself through others’ eyes, and to be able to shift along a range of perspectives from which to view the world- are all part of seeing like an anthropologist.

This is why with Culture Academy, every lesson and every site abroad is carefully curated to expand on each student’s knowledge of our modern, globally connected world. We are confident that after each trip with Culture Academy, students will become more adaptable, resilient, and globally competent individuals as each of them are encouraged to think beyond traditional categories of being human all while enjoying the beauty and excitement of Europe.