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Journeying Beyond the Classroom: Cedar Crest’s Pan-European MFA Director Discusses Learning Without Borders

Students in the Pan-European MFA program standing on the steps of a museum

Allison C. Wellford, Associate Professor of Writing and Director of the Pan-European MFA Program discussed the impact that travel can have on students’ creative processes in an article she published in the Association of Writers and Writing Programs blog “The Writer’s Notebook.”  

Each summer the Pan-European MFA cohort travels to Europe, immersing students in curriculum and culture in the setting of many prominent literary works. This year the program marked its tenth residency in Vienna, Austria learning from Austrian writers and scholars and exploring the Versailles-inspired gardens of Schönbrunn Palace.  

The Pan-European MFA program at Cedar Crest is the first low-residency MFA program offered by an American college with entirely international residencies, focusing on three European cities: Vienna, Barcelona, and Dublin.  

“What sets us apart from other MFA programs is our international curriculum and travel immersion experience at our residencies,” says Wellford in the blog “Our invited speakers, who are award-winning writers, introduce students to international literary traditions they wouldn’t learn about in the states.  

“Travelling allows writers to escape their routines and comfort zones, opening new creative potential. By learning about other cultures through travel, we experience the world through a new lens, which is so important to writing.”  

These experiences prove invaluable to the students who travel with the program, noted Amy Lee Lillard ’18, “One of the beautiful gifts of our annual residency is this: For two weeks, we can exist in a world where we are writers, above all else.” 

Read the full article here: