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Loyola University Chicago

Study Abroad




Program Description

This exciting 21-day summer travel course throughout Tunisia offers a unique experiential understanding of the relationship between the Arab spring, democratic change, Islam, gender, and U.S. foreign policy against the historical inheritances of the Carthaginian, Roman, Islamic and French empires in North Africa. A special combination of site visits and lectures by award-winning group leader Professor Peter J. Schraeder, group discussions, and guest presentations by renowned Tunisian scholars will focus on the topics of Tunisia’s “Jasmine revolution” of January 14, 2011, the resulting Arab spring and the politics of democratization in the Arab world, the evolving role of women in Muslim societies, Arab perceptions of U.S. foreign policy, U.S. perceptions of Tunisia’s role in the global war on terrorism, the evolving role of Islam in the Arab world, and the history of the Carthaginian, Roman, Islamic, and French empires in North Africa.

Tunisia is the perfect site for this course in that the country’s Jasmine revolution ushered in the Arab world’s first democracy by overthrowing the twenty-four year dictatorship (1987–2011) of Ben Ali. It also sparked the imagination of the Arab world, creating a domino effect (the Arab spring) in which pro-democracy demonstrators continue to confront dictatorships across the Middle East and North Africa, including toppling the thirty year Egyptian dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and the forty-two year Libyan dictatorship of Muammar el-Qaddafi.

The first five days of our summer travel course will be spent in the capital, Tunis. Highlights include visits to the winding passageways of the Arab medina (the old Arab quarter of Tunis), the bustle of modern Habib Bourguiba Avenue (often referred to as the Champs Elysee of Tunis), the administrative town of Carthage which is home to the presidential mansion, stunning Carthaginian and Roman ruins, and the U.S. military cemetery (the final resting place of U.S. soldiers killed in North Africa during World War II), the Bardo Museum (a converted palace that now houses mosaics from the Roman and Carthaginian eras), the picturesque suburbs of La Marsa and Sidi Bou Said, and the U.S. Embassy-Tunis. While in the capital, you will also meet and spend time with English-speaking Tunisian university students who are as curious about America as you are about Tunisia. During this initial period, we will undertake two day trips: one to the Carthaginian ruins of Uticca and the northern coastal town of Bizerte, and a second to the Roman ruins in Dougga and Bulla Regia.

The vast majority of our 21-day trip, however, will be spent visiting sites of political, religious, historical, and social significance throughout all regions of Tunisia, with highlights including meeting with students in the southern town of Sidi Bouzid where the Tunisian revolution began, visiting the kasbahs (Arab citadels) of Sousse and Monastir, exploring the troglodyte dwellings of Matmata and Tataouine that served as the film locales of the Star Wars movies, camping overnight in 8-person tents in the Sahara Desert (including a camel trek and excursions in 4x4 jeeps), visiting the Muslim holy town of Kairouan and entering that city’s Great Mosque, traveling via ferry to the Island of Jerba and entering the functioning El-Griba Jewish Synagogue (the religious center of Tunisia’s vibrant Jewish community) and touring Carthaginian and Roman ruins, most notably the virtually intact Roman colosseum in El Jem (one of the finest Roman monuments in Africa that is only rivalled by its counterpart in Rome).

To view the program flyer, click here.

Trip Highlights

Syllabus with Daily Itinerary & Site Visits

Click here to view the full syllabus with daily itinerary and site visits for this 20-day summer study travel course.


The trip will be led by award-winning Professor Peter J. Schraeder, a specialist of African and Middle Eastern politics and U.S. foreign policy who is chair of the Department of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago, and who each year teaches and carries out research in Tunisia, including having spent the 2002–03 academic year with his family as a Fulbright lecturer in Tunisia with the University of Tunis (see Professor Schraeder’s complete biography below).

In 2011, Professor Schraeder was the recipient of three of the highest honors a faculty member can receive at Loyola: the Sujack Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School’s Graduate Faculty Member of the Year Award, and the university-wide Faculty Member of the Year Award.

Professor Schraeder is fluent in English and French. Our trip assistant will be a student who participated in the 2013 summer study course. In addition to Professor Schraeder's lectures and discussions throughout the trip, this summer travel course will benefit from lectures by renowned Tunisian scholars.

The 2015 course constitutes the 12th time Professor Schraeder will be leading a group of students to Tunisia. He created and led in 2004 and 2005 the 10-day spring break trip to Tunisia for Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center (JFRC), and since summer 2006 has led on an annual basis the current 21-day summer study course to Tunisia from Loyola’s Chicago campus, including during May-June 2011, four months after the January 2011 Tunisian revolution.

To view Prof. Schraeder's profile, please click here.


Students participating in this program will receive three (3) credit hours for the class they take.

Course Number: Political Science (PLSC) 300 currently, but in the process of being changed to PLSC 399.

Course Title: “Arab Spring, Democratic Change, Islam, Gender, and U.S. Foreign Policy: Summer Study Course to Tunisia”


Course Objectives:

A special combination of site visits and lectures by award-winning group leader Professor Peter J. Schraeder, group discussions, and guest presentations by renowned Tunisian scholars are designed to achieve five major objectives:

The target audience for this trip is extremely diverse, including undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in the Middle East, Islamic World Studies, African Studies, International Studies, United States Foreign Policy, Islamic Law, Arabic and French Languages, Cultural Anthropology, Classical Studies (Roman and Carthaginian Empires), the History, Politics and Theology of the Arab World and Islam, and International Business. Students from more than 40 majors and minors have taken part in this class since its inception in summer 2006.

Students may also receive Honors credit for this course. Students will write a research paper under the guidance of Professor Schraeder, in addition to completing the course requirements. Depending on the paper topic, students will receive credit for one of two Honors area studies courses: "Encountering Africa" or "Encountering the Middle East.”

Maximum enrollment is 50 students.


May 9–30, 2015

Program Costs

Program fee of $2,196 includes:

Tuition: $2,115 (3 credit hours)—Note, graduate students pay the graduate tuition rate.

Total cost (program fee and tuition): $4,311

Not included: airfare (about $1,500 round-trip), $100 OIP non-refundable application fee, optional travel and baggage insurance, and minor personal expenses. (Entry visas are not required for U.S. citizens.) No vaccinations are required for this trip.

Application Process

Application deadline is Wednesday, March 22, 2015.

As part of the online application you must upload a copy of your valid passport or passport application receipt and pay by credit card a $100 non-refundable Office for International Programs (OIP) study abroad fee.

Visit Apply Now for full application instructions.

For more information, contact Kelly Heath in the Office for International Programs at kheath2@luc.edu or 773.508.3307; or contact Dr. Peter Schraeder in the Department of Political Science at pschrae@luc.edu.


Office for International Programs · Sullivan Center, 6339 N. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660
Mailing Address: 1032 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660
773.508.7706 · studyabroad@luc.edu

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