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Summer Residency

Each summer, Spalding low residency MFA students and faculty travel to a different location abroad, where we tailor our rich residency to include the literary and cultural highlights of our locale.

Summer residencies begin in late June or July and are paired with an extended independent study that ends in March. We’ve studied in Paris, London, Rome, Buenos Aires, and many other locales. This video tells the story of our summer 2015 residency in Greece.

Upcoming Destinations

Kyoto, Japan – July 12-23, 2018

After Kyoto, our plans include Barcelona; Santiago, Chile; Vienna; and Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. (Destinations subject to change.)

Kyoto Curriculum & Culture

Faculty-led workshops form the backbone of the residency. Students attend craft lectures, readings, and sessions on publishing. They read and discuss Japanese literature and try their hand at a cross-genre exercise. After residency, students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor in an independent study focused on fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, playwriting, or screenwriting.

Classes take place in a city-center hotel near Kyoto Station. Guided cultural explorations include a tour of literary Kyoto, a half-day excursion to Nara, and a trip to Hiroshima by bullet train. We’ll take in a Kembu sword-dancing demonstration and stroll through the Gion performing arts district. Travelers can also opt to attend a traditional Japanese theater performance.


July 11 or 12: Depart on an overnight flight to Osaka, arriving July 13.

July 13: Arrive in Osaka. Transfer by shuttle to our hotel in Kyoto.

July 14: Sleep as much as you can, then gather for our opening dinner.

July 15: Classes begin with our opening session and Program Book in Common discussion. Workshop begins this afternoon.

July 16: Morning classes. This afternoon, we visit Konpukuji Temple, where Basho once stayed, and the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, eponymous setting of the novel by Yukio Mishima.

July 17: Full day of classes.

July 18: Full day of classes.

July 19: Full-day cultural excursion to Hiroshima via bullet train. We will visit the Peace Memorial Park and museum, the Atomic Bomb dome, and the Children’s Memorial.

July 20: Morning classes. The afternoon is free to explore Kyoto on your own. An optional excursion takes us to a traditional Japanese theatre performance.

July 21: This morning, we take a half-day excursion to Nara Park and the Todaji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Afterward, we return to Kyoto for a free afternoon.

July 22: Morning classes. After our graduation ceremony, we take in a Kembu sword dancing demonstration and tour the Gion performing arts district. We say our farewells at the closing dinner.

July 23: Fly back to the States or continue your travels.

What’s included in the travel package?

  • A shared hotel room for 10 nights at the New Miyako Hotel in central Kyoto
  • Opening and farewell dinners; breakfasts daily
  • Half-day tours to Nara and literary Kyoto
  • Full-day excursion to Hiroshima by bullet train
  • Kembu sword-dancing demonstration and walking tour of Gion performing arts district
  • Airport transfers on July 13 and 23
  • Customary gratuities for local guides and assistants
  • Basic trip insurance at no extra charge

International flights are not included.

How much does tuition cost?

Tuition is the same as in spring and fall semesters: $560/credit hour, or $8,400 for the semester, which includes a 3-hour residency course and 12-hour independent study course.

How much does the ground travel package cost?

For incoming students who sign up for travel by March 10, the ground package costs $3,455, based on shared occupancy. After the discount period, the student travel package is $3,839.

What’s the deadline to apply?

February 1 is the application deadline for admission to the MFA program for the Summer 2018 semester.

How do I sign up?

Email Katy Yocom for more information.