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Dragon Focus

Spencer Dennis

Spencer Dennis knew, before even setting foot to Drexel’s campus, that he wanted to study abroad. Dennis, now a freshman studying music industry in the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, found out about Intensive Courses Abroad (ICA) when he visited campus last spring during an Accepted Students Day. He participated in his first ICA on leadership in the city of Prague, Czech Republic in September before he came to Drexel for Welcome Week. In Prague, the class, led by Dana D’Angelo, a clinical professor in the LeBow College of Business, met with business executives to discuss leadership skills in a business setting, as well as practice leadership skills by teaching English to students in a school.

Spencer Dennis with a view of Prague

 Dennis realized that it was the perfect way to bridge his interest in building leadership skills with travel, one of his biggest passions. He also said that the ICA allowed him to build friendships and a steady support network that made the transition to college go smoothly. 

After travelling to Prague, Dennis began researching other options for Intensive Courses Abroad. He applied and was accepted to Drexel Winter Break in Brazil: São Paulo Music & CultureThe class introduced him to the music and culture of the vibrant, gritty and artistic metropolis. Dennis visited several famous recording studios, including YB Music, the main studio which produced the music for the 2016 Summer Olympics. He also learned about various Brazilian music genres and explored the city with his classmates

This experience was vital for expanding both his knowledge of music and his worldview. After completing the ICA, he started to combine Brazilian Funk with Pop music inorder to create his own unique style and genre of music. Witnessing the music culture inBrazil firsthand, along with seeing the motivation and drive of thelocal musicians in spite of a difficult economic recession in São Paulo, inspired Dennis to work harder on his own music. 

Spencer Dennis squatting in front of graffiti that says 'Brasil'

Dennis found that participating in two ICAs was the perfect way to bridge his interests in building leadership skills, learning about music and traveling to new places. He also found that the trips had benefits that lasted for much longer than the trip themselves – both allowed him to build friendships and a steady support network that contributed to a smooth transition into life at Drexel. 

For example, Dennis became acquainted with Drexel professor Darren Walters shortly before the trip to discuss working with the Mad Dragon Music Group. However, the bulk of their relationship was developed during the trip to São Paulo. Through the trip, Dennis built his network so that he could further expand his DJing venture, which now plays at Drexel and outside events, and is releasing an EP shortly. Dennis’s ICA experiences have shown him that he can combine his love for travel and music during his time here at Drexel. Dennis’ Global Drexel story does not end here – this summer he will attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and continue his path in learning about music and immersing himself in different cultures from around the world.