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Harvard, Yale and popular culture

Published on Tuesday 18 October 2011
 
 

With their huge campuses which combine ancient oak trees and red brick buildings, American universities are rooted in our collective imagination, thanks in particular to the movies. Thankfully, ou don't have to be a student or star in a Hollywood movie to visit mythic Yale and Harvard universities.

Have you ever seen “Good Will Hunting” or “Legally Blonde”? Then you probably remember that they are both set at Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachussetts. Did you follow the American series “Gilmore Girls”? Rory, the main character, goes to Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut.

There is a myth associated with American universities, which has been propagated by all movies and TV shows that are shot on site, or that are set there, even if they were shot elsewhere. There are many guided tours available for those who wish to visit the places where movies and TV shows are shot in the United States, so why not visit two Ivy League Universities?

HARVARD

Harvard University did not authorize any shooting on its campus between “Love Story” in 1970 and “The Great Debaters” in 2007, which means that many movies that we associate with the University had to be shot elsewhere. For example, certain scenes from “Good Will Hunting” were shot in Canada, at the University of Toronto. Other movies where shot at UCLA (California), Wheaton (Illinois), or Bridgewater State (Massachusetts), but used aerial images of the real university.

It is possible to visit Harvard with one of the guided tours offered by the university. The free tour departs from the information centre is guided by current students and lasts about an hour.

It is also possible to stroll around on Harvard Yard, the park situated between the university’s different buildings. There are a lot of chairs allowing students to relax a bit between classes.

Fun fact: The statue representing John Harvard, in Harvard Yard, is also known as “the Statue of three lies.” John Harvard is not the founder of the university, but the first benefactor: the university was founded by the government and was renamed after Harvard donated his personal library. Also, the statue that represents him actually does not represent him! Harvard died portraitless, so Daniel Chester French used a friend as a model to create the statue in 1884. And finally, the university was founded in 1636 and not 1638 as stated. Regardless, visitors and students continue to rub “Harvard’s” foot for good luck!

For more information: http://www.harvard.edu/visitors/tours

YALE

Yale is known for the beauty of its campus, often classified as one of the most beautiful of the world. The style of many of the buildings is Gothic, or Colonial Revival, but there are buildings from different architectural eras. Even the most recently built buildings are built with a great respect of the architecture. You could not tell what is new from what is old, if it wasn’t for the “2007” marked on this brick wall…!

One of the buildings stands out from the lot: the rare books library. A very modern building with marble plaques instead of windows, in order to protect the books from light, the library holds many of the world’s rarest books, including Gutenberg’s bible.

It is also possible to visit Yale with one of the many guided tours offered by the university. Certain tours are geared towards future students while others are geared towards the general public.

Fun fact: M. Burns, from the popular show “The Simpsons” studied at Yale University.

For more information: http://admissions.yale.edu/tours

 

Blogger : Béatrice B.Poulin

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Blog: Harvard, Yale and popular culture

With their huge campuses which combine ancient oak trees and red brick buildings, American universities are rooted in our collective imagination, thanks in particular to the movies. Thankfully, ou don't have to be a student or star in a (...)