Activities & Events

Pick and choose from social, recreational, and co-curricular activities

"Before the program, my definition of poetry was a couple of rhyming lines. I now look at writing in a way I could never have done earlier. This has been the best experience I have ever had, and I would love nothing more than to be a part of it again!"
– Zyna D. | India

Different events and activities will be available throughout all sessions; however, not all programming will align with students' schedules. Students will receive a full schedule of events prior to the start of the program.

The Midday Break

Recreational and co-curricular activities are offered daily during the break between the morning and afternoon class.

Special lectures

Presented by Immersion Program instructors and University Faculty, these optional talks expose students to a wide range of topics, from artificial intelligence to politics. The talks are open to all students in the program, schedule permitting, and are one hour in duration.

Potential topics include:

Technologies of the Future

Using coffee waste for biofuel, covering the world with wifi, self-driving cars, personalities for robots, brain signals as passwords, smart hearing aids, nanotech, Internet of things, and so much more. This talk covers some of the predicted inventions in the coming few years and gives an idea of the current state of each of these technologies.

Malleable Memory: Why Eyewitnesses Can be Wrong

We look at false eyewitness testimony and the psychology of falsely perceiving events, applying concepts from social and cognitive psychology to real-life legal cases.

The Possibility of Extraterrestrial Life

What are the conditions needed for life to form, survive, and evolve? Where in our solar system besides Earth are these conditions present? Are there planets outside our solar system that contain life?

How Many Words for Snow Do You Have? How Language Really Works

Does “Eskimo” really have 17 words for snow? Do men and women really speak different languages? Fake news in the language world is debunked as a linguist explores linguistic myths with surprising data about how language really works.

30+ Felony Indictments: A Tale of Wall Street and Ethics

A first-person account of a 2010 insider-trading scandal, and a look at the slippery slope of ambition and ethics.

Selling Ketchup Popsicles to People in White Gloves: How to Market Anything to Anyone

This talk will focus on the independent variables shown to influence attitude, ultimately creating, strengthening, or changing behavior. Many examples will be provided.

Brain-Computer Interfaces

With the surge of investments in the “mind-reading” technologies by Facebook and Tesla (neurolink), BCI is one of the hottest scientific topics of today’s era. This talk gives an overview on brain signals, types of brain signal recording technologies available in the market today, their applications, and future possibilities.

Can Democracy Survive the Digital Revolution?

With A.I. and Big Data comes surveillance, privacy violations, targeted disinformation, "deep fakes," polarization, etc. Can democracy survive?

What is the Purpose of Art?

This talk puts notable artists and works in relation to history and the individual, in an attempt to answer the 'need' for the creative arts in a society that has otherwise focused on productivity and the culture of work. We cover four categories of 'purposes' and offer several examples of modern and contemporary artists engaging with their audience in different ways. From the motivation of translating the intimately personal to a wider audience, to the introduction of new empathy through new perspectives, to making sense of tragedy or showing political dissonance, and to introducing humor and play, art remains a partner to the humanity within us during challenging events.

The Social Power of Conformity

We examine the psychological reasons why people conform, encouraging students to think about why it may or may not be advantageous in different cases to do so. We then look at research studies showing under which circumstances conformity is most likely to occur and discuss what strategies students can use to avoid the power of conformity if they wish to.

Grading the U.S. Government: A Historical Perspective

Over two centuries ago, the founders of our nation set forth – in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution - six specific “goals” for our federal government. We consider the Preamble in the modern age, and engage in an exercise to “grade” the U.S. Government on the achievement of these goals.

Present Like a Pro

Learn how to stress less and engage your audience more with these tips on creating and delivering effective oral presentations.

Please note that not all talks will align with all student course schedules. Students will receive a full schedule of events prior to the start of the program.

Community Outreach & Awareness

Past projects have included:
  • Volunteering in local soup kitchens
  • Teaching computer skills to the elderly
  • Visits to local sustainability and urban gardening projects
  • On-campus food and clothing drives
  • Social awareness and community-support programming

Special Interest Clubs & Discussion Groups

Past examples include:
  • Various Dance Clubs
  • LGTBQ+ Alliance
  • Pop culture lunch clubs
  • 'Love your Melanin' POC Group
  • Social topics and ethics discussion groups
  • A first-day ice-breaking party and an end-of-program outdoor jazz concert with gourmet ice pops
  • Theatrical performances, a film festival, and art exhibitions presented by students in the fine arts curricular options

Other Midday Options

  • Using Columbia's physical fitness center (3-week immersion only)
  • Studying in the university's many libraries and computer labs
  • Sampling the neighborhood's cafés and restaurants
  • Relaxing, socializing, and enjoying the sunshine on Columbia's beautiful campus