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School's never out for summer with these college and university-based programs that will expand your mind. In this first part, we look at a few of our favorites.

Summer Classics in Santa Fe

St. John's College in Santa Fe, where there are no majors and no departments -- all students follow the same courseload -- opens it doors for their educational outreach summer classics seminar. With a series of three, week-long seminars designed to educate you in the ways of the classics, you'll delve into an array of humanities-related texts. Faculty members lead groups of 17 in morning and afternoon seminar sessions; the first runs July 10-15 and covers Nieztsche, Machiavelli, and Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov, among others. The second week, July 17-22, consists of Van Gogh, Tolstoy's War and Peace, Cervantes and three comedies by Shakespeare, Moliere and Aristophanes. Week three runs July 24-29 and the three Gospels of the Bible, Joseph Conrad's Nostromo, Julius Caesar and the operas of Benjamin Britten occupy the schedule. Each seminar costs $950, which includes registration, course materials, books, and any special events. If you are inclined to register for more than one week, there are discounts: $1,500 for two weeks and $2,150 for three weeks. If you register before April 1 with a nonrefundable $150 deposit, you'll get $50 off your tuition, and the first 25 teachers who register will receive a 50 percent discount.

Summer Classics. St John's College, 1160 Camino Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe, NM, 87505; tel. 505/984-6117; e-mail: seminars@sjcsf.edu; website: www.stjohnscollege.edu/asp/main.aspx?page=5801

Summer Language Immersion in the Champlain Valley

At the small, liberal arts Middlebury College in western central Vermont, students and graduate students can seriously advance their foreign language skills in one of nine native tongues, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. It is an intense challenging program, for it creates a near language police state: you can't even talk to anyone outside the program on the phone in English. There are several sessions throughout the summer depending on your language of choice, and they last as short as three weeks to nine weeks. The cost is not inexpensive, but you're getting a full-fledged immersion experience. The nine-week programs in Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Japanese start June 10 and run through August 12; cost for tuition, room and board is $7,410. The seven-week program for undergraduates who want to study French, German, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese starts June 24 and runs through August 12; cost for tuition, room and board is $5,630. The six-week graduate level program in French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish starts June 27 and runs through August 12; cost for tuition, room and board is $5,486. There are also three-week sessions in German and Italian that run from June 27 through July 20 to the tune of $1,200 for tuition and an additional $677 and $260 for board and room, respectively.

Middlebury College, Sunderland Language Center, Middlebury VT 05753; tel. 802/443-5510; e-mail: languages@middlebury.edu; website: www.middlebury.edu/academics/ls

Indiana University's Mini-University in Bloomington

Spend a week in Bloomington, Indiana at IU's Mini University, June 19-24, 2005. You can attend up to 15 noncredit classes taught by IU faculty in subject areas such as the arts, business and technology, domestic issues, health, fitness and leisure, science, and more. Evening activities available include summer theater, films, and other social events. Sponsored jointly by the IU's Alumni Association and IU-Bloomington Continuing Studies, it's previously been honored by Budget Travel as one of America's Nine Best Learning Vacations, and you don't have to be an alum to attend. It costs $195 for the week, which includes tuition; lodging and meals are separate. Accommodations are available at the Indiana Memorial Union Hotel and Conference Center in the heart of the campus (tel. 800/209-8145; www.imu.indiana.edu/hotel_conference_center/index.html).

Mini University, Indiana University Alumni Association, Virgil T. DeVault Alumni Center, 1000 E. 17th Street, Bloomington, IN 47408,; tel. 812/855-4822; e-mail: iualumni@indiana.edu; website: http://alumni.indiana.edu/bloomington/miniu

Cornell's Adult University and Summer Programs

Take a vacation in upstate Ithaca, New York. With four one-week sessions, you can study "Woody Allen and his Times," "Architecture from the Ground Up," "Life on a Thread: An Introduction to Spider Biology" to name a few courses. More hands-on education is available through workshops in writing, gardening, travel writing, clinics in tennis, sailing, rowing, and personal fitness. The four sessions are July 10-16, July 17-23, July 24-30 and July 31-August 6, Fees are listed per person, per week, and include tuition, lodging, sixteen meals and use of Cornell's facilities, with the exception of the commuter enrollment, which at $710 only covers tuition. Note: this program is kid-friendly; there are educational programs for children available as well. If you opt for accommodations, it will cost anywhere between $1,240 to $1,395; the most expensive price nets you the Courtyard by Marriot in Ithaca, just minutes from campus.

Cornell Adult University and Summer Programs, 626 Thurston Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14853-2490; tel. 607/255-4987; website: www.sce.cornell.edu/cau. You can also register online using their secure form; no e-mail address is provided for inquiries.

Adventures in Ideas at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

The Program in the Humanities and Human values sponsors weekend seminars and summer seminars. The theme for this year's Executive Seminar in the Humanities, which costs $1500 for tuition per person and runs from May 22-27, is "America and the World." The seminar will examine America's changing role in the world, using an interdisciplinary approach that includes history, literature, politics. There are no lectures; instead the curriculum revolves around discussions based from film viewings and humanities-based readings. The website lists a host of lodging possibilities at nearby hotels. The Humanities representative we spoke with said that the summer program's schedule will be posted in April, but tentative topics for this year's series of two-day seminars include Film Noir in Hollywood; Democracy, Conflict and Change in Contemporary Africa; China Rising: Globalism, Capitalism, and Culture and finally, an examination of the Epics, including Beowulf, The Illiad, The Odyssey, and others. The topics start in late May and run through late July; tuition cost TBA.

The Program in the Humanities and Human Values, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; tel. 919/962-1544; e-mail: human@unc.edu; website: www.adventuresinideas.unc.edu

Summer Human Rights Institute in Chicago

Angered by the injustice in the world and feel powerless to enact any change? Is your car plastered with Greenpeace and Amnesty International stickers? You don't have to be a full-time student to take advantage of this multi-disiciplinary opportunity to put theory into practice, or apply your years activism to long-held theories. You can take one, two or three courses through the Univeristy of Chicago's Human Rights Program at the Graham School for General Studies. The three courses are International Human Rights: Contemporary Issues (June 20-July 8); Sexuality and Human Rights (July 11-29); and Human Rights, Cultural Rights and Economic Rights (August 8-19). Each course cost $2,200 ($1,500 if you audit), and it's open to college students and adult learners, and does not include room and board although those options are available at Pierce Hall on campus -- $195 a week for a double; $235 for single -- if you want an excuse to spend a few weeks in what poet Carl Sandburg called the city of big shoulders.

Summer Session Office Graham School of General Studies, University of Chicago, 1427 E. 60th Street. Chicago, IL 60637; tel. 773/702-6033; website: https://summer.uchicago.edu/programs/humanrights.cfm

42nd Annual Alumni College for Dartmouth Graduates

Just when the hot and humid dog days of summer are making most of the country unbearable, a retreat to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, from August 1-7, is available for alumni, parents, and friends of the college. The longest-running program of its kind in the country, this year's curriculum promises a five-day writing workshop, a course entitled "Great American Crime Fiction Writers: Their Window Into People and Places," and another entitled "Brave New World: Selected Great Issues Since World War II." Tuition for five-day courses is approximately $675. Their three-day intensive language courses are available in French, Spanish, Italian and traveler's Chinese, and run approximately $375. You can add also opt for a three-day language immersion for $125 in either French, Italian or Spanish. If you choose to stay and not commute, your options include Dartmouth Dormitory Housing for $82 (double) or $50 (single) per day. If you'd rather something more private and quiet, a block of rooms is reserved the Hanover Inn at 800/443-7024. Mention your participation in Alumni College upon reservation.

Dartmouth College Alumni Relations Office, 6068 Blunt Alumni Center, Hanover, NH 03775; tel. 603-646-2258; e-mail: alumni.relations@dartmouth.edu; website: http://alumni.dartmouth.edu/conted

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