International Field Program | Milano School in NYC

Public Engagement

International Field Program

  • Gain hands-on experience in the field while following a rigorous course of study, combining pre-departure preparation, in-country seminars, professional internships/consultancies, and independent research with faculty supervision.

    Since its inception in 2002, hundreds of students have participated in our signature International Field Program (IFP) in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. The IFP is a platform for emerging practitioners and researchers to gain experience in the field within an academic environment. The IFP’s extended field stays are unique among international affairs programs in the United States. In the course of nine weeks, students work and conduct research with community-based organizations, NGOs, international organizations, and governmental agencies. The topics range from community development, policy advocacy, citizen journalism, and post-conflict state-building to urban planning and long-term monitoring and evaluation.

    The IFP faculty consists of prominent scholars and leading experts on the topics and regions of engagement. These faculty-led customized programs offer students access to a wide network of on-the-ground collaborations with academics, NGO professionals, community activists, and government agencies relevant to the issues being examined. The dedicated IFP faculty prepare students to engage critically with current international debates and practices around issues of social and economic rights; urban and community development; new media and technology; environmental justice; migration and refugees; governance; conflict; and peacebuilding.

    The IFP is designed to extend learning beyond the classroom. Students get firsthand field exposure to a multiplicity of perspectives, ideas, and people through orientation, field trips, guest speakers, professional internships, faculty-supervised projects and research, and day-to-day interactions.

    The IFP is open to Master's and Ph.D. students, undergraduates (rising juniors and seniors), and continuing education professionals from all fields and areas of study. The program is open to both New School and non-New School applicants.

  • Country Sites


    The Balkans is a region that extends from central Europe to the Mediterranean Sea and includes the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Turkey. Students will be completing a mapping project on the policy implications of the March 20th agreement between the EU and Turkey regarding the refugee crisis. Students and faculty will be moving around the region in order to capture the broader implications of this agreement and to assess the changes on the ground, traveling to Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Bosnia and finally ending their IFP in Kosovo. They will be focusing on three areas of inquiry: impact on refugees, changes in physical infrastructure, and implications for the actors on the ground who are working within the crisis. Students will speak to the local government actors, NGO staff members, and volunteers in order to gain a better understanding of the changes that have taken place since the agreement was made. Last summer's work in the Balkans can be seen in this blog.
    Faculty Country Chair: Everita Silina


    Rio de Janeiro is one of the most complex places in the world for the study of human rights, and although rights violations occur on a daily basis, there is an extensive NGO community addressing a wide range of these violations. Historically, our liaison has been Viva Rio, the largest NGO in Brazil providing direct service in favela communities in Rio on security, peace, small arms disarmament, and health campaigns. The summer IFP in Brazil is media based; groups of students work on short films, transmedia projects, photo-based blogs, website development, citizen journalism projects, radio essays, and human rights research. Themes differ year by year, but our last course in 2015 focused on short film production on critical housing in the favelas, advocacy videos for a youth sport NGO, a youth media workshop, a webdoc for ecotourism, research on police pacification of favela communities, and a feature-length documentary called The Rules. Students work in small production and post-production teams, and each student usually works on more than one project.
    Faculty Country Chair: Peter Lucas


    Cuba is witnessing profound change and the need to redesign its economic and political paradigms, following the ongoing economic overhaul begun by Raul Castro in 2010 and the current diplomatic thaw between Cuba and the United States. This shifting environment positions Cuba as an ideal site to explore issues related to socialism, economic transformations, race relations, gender and sexuality, informal economies, poverty, food security, and urban planning as they unfold. Students will take classes with leading Cuban intellectuals along with Cuban students and will gain hands-on experience through workshops and direct engagement with projects run by Cuban NGOs and community-based organizations. Selected students will have field placements with foreign NGOs working in Cuba.
    Faculty Country Chair: Gabriel Vignoli

    South Africa

    Sub-Saharan Africa is a region that is urbanizing rapidly and from very low income levels. As a result, many cities in the region face significant challenges in terms of urban poverty, access to jobs, and housing and household services. The purpose of the South Africa field program, conducted in collaboration with Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and the African Centre for Cities (ACC), is to actively engage students with research on topics concerning urbanization in African cities, privileging opportunities for fieldwork and collaborating with important professional and academic partners. Last summer's work can be seen in the 60 days, 1 city, 11 maps project, and the work with SDI is described in the City Communities blog.
    Faculty Country Chairs: Achilles Kallergis and Laura Wainer

    Colombia (POSTPONED UNTIL 2018)

    Beset by decades of internal conflict and a complex array of economic forces that shape the capacity for action, Colombia has managed to create a wide range of innovative and effective policies and institutions to address social problems. By working in collaboration with a local university and with the municipal governments of small towns, students in the Colombia IFP have the opportunity to participate in concrete, ongoing projects in a challenging institutional and social context. The overarching theme of the Colombia IFP is participatory development in a "post-conflict" setting. Students participate in a diversity of initiatives ranging from supporting sustainable community development among residents of newly constructed housing projects to pursuing adventure/ecotourism as an alternative and inclusive economic strategy.
    Faculty Country Chair: Chris London

    India (POSTPONED UNTIL 2018)

    Amid rapid economic growth, India has made important strides in reducing poverty. Yet beyond this progress, according to the country’s 2011 census, almost 65.5 million Indians live in urban slums, deprived of access to adequate housing and basic services such as water and sanitation. In past years, several initiatives from organized communities of the urban poor have provided realistic options to improve living conditions and integrate slum dwellers' perspective in policies and to rethink the physical design of informal settlements. Such efforts have created spaces of participation within Indian cities, enabling the demands of the most deprived urbanites to be taken into consideration. Set in an urban context, the project focuses on the nuances of urban poverty by actively engaging with various stakeholders such as community groups, grassroots organizations, government officials, and academic institutions. The aim of this IFP is to develop practical tools with which to produce and share valuable knowledge to support the ongoing work of community groups and grassroots organizations.
    Faculty Country Chairs: Achilles Kallergis and Shibani Jadhav


    Ethiopia is a country rich in culture, history, and landscape. It struggles, however, with poverty and remains ranked toward the bottom in many human development indices, in spite of having one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The state controls not only the economy but also national politics, oppressing opposition political parties and forbidding human rights and domestic NGO and INGO work that even implicitly has a human rights agenda. The population, Africa's second largest, seems to have largely bought into this government agenda to reach “middle-income status,” and shed, after a half-century of being a global symbol of hardship, that image and ascend to prosperity. The country has long been a site for international aid and development donors, who, in sponsoring a significant portion of the national budget, have to overlook the political and ethnic repression and human rights abuses, making the country an “aid darling” (the world’s third-largest recipient). The Ethiopia IFP is organized around project work with client organizations involved with poverty and development, education, and environment and climate change. Many project assignments will focus on monitoring and evaluation, a skill that our clients need. 
    Faculty Country Chair: Mark Johnson

    Apply to the International Field Program

    To apply for the IFP, you must complete the online application and, at the end of the process, upload the following four documents

    1. A recent résumé or CV
    2. An academic or professional writing sample
    3. A brief essay for your first-choice IFP country
    4. A brief essay for your second-choice IFP country

    Have these documents ready before you begin filling out this application. Without these document files available and ready for upload, you will not be able to complete the application process.

    1. The brief essays (approximately 500 words) should explain:
    2. Your reasons for wanting to participate in that particular IFP site — what relevant experience or coursework draws you to spend the summer in that country?
    3. What prior experiences (research, internships, community service, travel, extracurricular activities, etc.) have you had that make you a strong candidate?
    4. What do you expect to gain from the experience, and how does the IFP fit into your study plans and goals?

    Important Dates

    Dates pertaining to Summer 2018 programs:

    Application Deadline: Sunday, October 15th, 2017 by 11:59pm

    Applicant Interviews: Tuesday, October 17th – Friday, October 27th, 2017

    Notification of Acceptance: Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

    Meetings and Deadlines for students accepted into the 2018 International Field Program:

    Accepted Students Meeting: Friday, November 3rd, 2017 (Time and location TBD)

    Spring 2018 Orientation Meeting: Friday, January 26th, 2018 (Time and location TBD)

    IFP Lab Sessions Begin: Spring 2018 – contact your FCC for specific date

    Begin Vaccinations: February

    $1,000 Administrative Fee Due: Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

    Purchase Flight: March – April

    Register for 6 IFP Credits for Summer Session: April

    IFP Security Meeting: Friday, April 27th, 2018 (Time and location TBD)

    Final Vaccinations: May