Tag Archives: study away

Meet the Global Peers: Prague

Before I start being formal and all, here is some general information about me. My name is Emily Sujka.  But, if you ever meet me face-to-face on campus, you might hear people greet me by another name: Maggie.  I have just completed a semester of studying away in Prague, Czech Republic.  My experience there definitely helped in elucidating many parts of life lurking in the shadows.  I won’t say it has been life altering, after all, going abroad hasn’t changed the course of my life.  But, all the small experiences in Prague, living in a completely different culture, with a different language, diet, set of social standards, have certainly further molded me. Recently, I spoke with NYU’s Wasserman Center about my experiences.

What is your major/class/school?

Currently, (and I say currently because it’s always changing) I am an Economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and a part of the Class of 2016.

Why did you want to study away at your particular site?

In actuality, I had no intention of going abroad.  Back in high school, I went to Spain for a month during the summer.  It was dreadful.  I longed for America the whole time.  But, my ideas about going to study in another country shifted with my freshman year RA who had gone abroad with NYU twice and whole-heartedly endorsed the opportunity for any student.  That’s when my research began…

I wanted to study away in the Czech Republic for several reasons.  And no, it wasn’t because it was cheaper or because of its convenient Central European location.  My reasons had to do with the culture.  I love Slavic Cultures, specifically that of Poland.  So, the Czech Republic isn’t Poland…but it was just a step towards a bigger goal.  My motto in life is to keep moving by any means to get to where you want to be. For a semester to be surrounded by food, language, and symbols, associated with Slavic life was just such an elating idea and I knew I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by.

What classes did you take?

In Prague, I completed Building a State: Czech and Slovak Republics, Modern Dissent, Elementary Polish II, and Architecture.

What was the most meaningful/impactful experience you had abroad?

The most meaningful/impactful experience…well geez, that’s a lot of pressure. I’ve met famous Czech politicians, volunteered a weekend at Benediktus, a volunteer community in a more rural part of the Czech Republic, hiked up Sniezka, the most prominent point of the Silesian Ridge in the Krkonoše mountains, walked along the paths of priests as St. Vitus Cathedral, and even eaten Falafel in St. Wenceslas Square where the Velvet Revolution took place- where the Czechoslovak youth expelled the Communists from their lands, denouncing fear once and for all.  And that’s only the Czech Republic.  I also traveled to 6 other separate European countries during my time here strolling down the Chain Bridge in Budapest, riding bikes in Amsterdam, following the Mural of Princes in Dresden, munching on macaroons in Paris, meeting famous actress and politician Mrs. Vasaryova in Bratislava, and visiting Sukiennice, for my second time, in Krakow.  Being in Europe, seeing as much as I can, taking it all in, has just been a real pleasure.  Borders between countries are just man’s invention.  Yes, some are reasonable, political borders drawn along rivers and mountains, but others are just imaginary lines.  However, you see what you perceive as commonalities.  “We do that too.”  “That is NOT a pancake.”  Humanity ties us together no matter where you are.  People help, speak, wonder, and eat no matter where you are.  It’s humbling to see the world in its grandiosity and still feel connected to the world.

What have you learned from your experience that will impact your career endeavors?

I managed three internships this semester.  I know, sounds crazy, but there were too many things presented to take advantage of that I just couldn’t pass up.  Closely working with Wasserman, I learned how to organize an event for any occasion, including how to advertise an event and make material accessible for students.  Seriously, I learned that cookies work wonders on attendance.  In general, I acquired skills in working with people I never thought I’d have.

Furthermore, I also assisted in English teaching in a local elementary school. This was building on previous experience I already had, nonetheless it still allowed me to further understand people.  In childhood lies the rawest state of our being.  Children can teach us more than any seminar and so, even though I don’t wish to pursue education or another career path having to do with kids, I have greatly valued this experience that has allowed me to do something outside of my comfort zone while allowing me to cement this sentiment.

Another good bit of advice: Even though it’s optimal to figure out what you want, crossing stuff off this list isn’t such a bad thing either.  I also helped create a survey for the Bohemia Jazz Festival, a free music festival held in the Czech Republic annually.  Something that sounds so big not only took time in its creation, but it also took many edits and rewrites, tracking down the right people and being persistent.  Sometimes it is not only the skills and new techniques we obtain from an internship or job experience, but also small achievements along the way.

Meet the Global Peers: Madrid

Carrie Pichan is currently working on her M.A. degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (TESOL). She’s currently studying away at NYU Madrid and we recently caught up with her to see how things are going.

You’re pursuing a Master’s degree in Madrid – had you lived in Spain before or was this your first time in the country?

I spent my junior year of undergrad in Madrid through my university (University of Michigan – Go Blue!)  The search for graduate programs became a lot easier (well, stopped) once I found out that NYU offered a program at the Madrid site.  Not only is being in Spain very relevant to my field, but it’s also a great opportunity to spend more time abroad, and in a city I already knew and felt very connected to.

How did you decide on Madrid the first time around?

Knowing I wanted to spend a year in Spain, my options were between Sevilla and Madrid.  In the end, I chose Madrid because being from a small town in Michigan, I’m very drawn to and fascinated by big city life and everything that comes along with it – public transportation, diversity, great food (although that’s very rarely a problem here even in small towns). Plus, Madrid has the huge benefit of being right in the center of the country, so traveling around is quite easy, whether it’s to Galicia in the very northwest or south to Andalucía.

How have you assimilated to Spanish life?

It’s been a process!  I think it’s a common expectation that studying away, whether it be for a summer or an entire year, guarantees a great level of integration into the host country’s culture, language, and other realms of life.  While this isn’t untrue, there is a degree of disappointment that can be felt when students see that they still go out with mostly the same friends, speak English on a regular basis, and aren’t quite as connected to the country and its people as they had hoped.  That being said, I’ve found it immensely valuable to take part in language exchanges (in groups or one-on-one), frequent cafés and other businesses that make an effort to connect with customers (to feel like a regular!), and simply spend as much time in contact with the country as possible, whether that’s going for walks around the city, participating in local events, or being extra observant at the grocery store.

How do you think your time in Madrid will impact your career endeavors?

It’s easy to see the direct connection between my own career goals (teaching foreign languages) and the NYU Madrid experience since the Spanish language is central to both, but the benefits extend far beyond that. As I’ve witnessed with my peers and experienced myself, the time spent outside of one’s own country or immediate comfort zone will have a positive impact on that individual’s independence, maturity, and ability to adapt to new circumstances.  These skills are highly applicable to any and every career, regardless of the field or nature of the job, and they are qualities that employers value immensely.  Communicative competence is also tested and grows significantly during this time, not just in terms of using a foreign language but in cross- and intercultural situations as well.  In our increasingly global world, these skills are at a premium, and I strongly encourage any study away student to hone these as much as possible while the tools are at their fingertips!

What’s in store for you after your year in Madrid?

I’ll be heading to Washington Square, actually!  The joint M.A. program is a two-year program, first here in Madrid and then in NYC.  One of the funnier things about being an NYU student here in Madrid is that most people assume I have very strong ties to NYC, but that’s not the case.  It’ll be great to finally get to know the Washington Square campus (including Wasserman!) and to be a part of the larger NYU community.

Awaiting the 2020 Olympic Games decision in Madrid

Teaching Spanish/TESOL class visit to the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid

Study Away Recollections

Senior Global Public Health student Fanta NGom had an incredibly transformational experience while studying away at NYU Accra in Spring 2013. Learn about her semester away, the influence of the city’s one and only mental health school, and how she used the experience as a catalyst to start her own non-profit organization, P.R.O.M.O.

Fanta NGom (Center)

Global Public Health ‘14

When I decided to attend NYU back in 2010, I never imagined my NYU experience being as great and rewarding as it has been. For one, the clubs I have joined, such as the Academic Achievement Program (AAP), Black Students Union (BSU), and the African Students Union (ASU) have contributed to both my personal and academic growth. These clubs were instrumental in turning me into the leader that I am today, a leader dedicated to creating an experience full of academic and social success for all students at NYU. Throughout my years here, I took amazing classes such as Complementary and Alternative Medicine that solidified my love and passion for mental health. I hope to not only educate society about mental health, but also raise awareness, and find more effective treatments for all disorders.

 The experience that greatly affected my career path and contributed to my growth was my decision to study abroad in Accra, Ghana, my junior year. That year I took a risk; that risk was leaving behind everything and everybody and studying abroad for a whole year. I studied abroad in London during the fall and then left for Accra in the spring. At first, I didn’t really know why I made the decision to go to Accra. Yes, as an African I wanted to visit Africa, as this would be my first time on the continent. Yes, I wanted to experience a place way out of my comfort zone. And yes, I wanted to attend a study abroad site applicable to my minor and my overall interests. However, when I left Accra, I realized that I went there for a purpose; to develop a non-profit that would change the lives of many women across Ghana and hopefully across Africa.

While studying in Accra, I had the wonderful opportunity of interning at the only mental health school in all of Accra. This school, The New Horizon Special School, has both a school for children between the ages of 5 and 18 with a variety of disabilities including learning disabilities and a vocational school for adults. I worked with the youngest students at the school and it was in fact a life changing experience. I noticed how much of an impact dance and music has on one’s life and how it must be incorporated into the treatment of mental health. I realized that at the end of the day, despite their disabilities, these students were happy, loving people who should be treated no differently than the little girl or boy who goes to the school right down the road. Going to my internship was the highlight of my days in Accra. Being here really strengthened my desire to go into the field of mental health and today I am doing just that.

As a senior, it is completely normal to have anxiety about graduation and be stressed out about our career plans. However, being in Accra, made my senior year less stressful. Currently, I am developing a non-profit along with one other NYU Accra Alumna and my past mentee. This non-profit is called P.R.O.M.O.: Protecting the Rights Of the Marginalized and Oppressed. P.R.O.M.O. seeks to address cultural and societal perceptions on mental and reproductive health within Ghana in hopes of developing new ways to promote self-sustainability. By providing access to essential medical resources, health education, and a safe space for women of reproductive age and older with mental disabilities and HIV/AIDS, we hope to create a sense of belonging through a new community. Our purpose is to provide our sisters, the women in our space, with the means to self-sufficiency, which will act as an access point to establishing and maintaining happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. We seek to provide a safe space where women can be educated on mental and reproductive health issues and be provided with the resources and skills needed for self-sufficiency. Our safe space will act as a shelter for those who wish to regain their self-sufficiency and health. Our space will also serve as a temporary refuge for our non-residential sisters, where they can attend our awareness and educational programs.

Going to Accra inspired me to do this. Going to Accra made me realized how much of a passion I have for mental health. Going to Accra affected my career choices. Without this experience, I wouldn’t be able to say that I am working towards the betterment of the lives of many women in Ghana. Today, we are semi-finalist for the NYU Reynolds Changemaker Challenge! We are also in the stages of applying to various grants to fund this initiative. This spring break, we are hoping to travel to Ghana to further research our venture, meet with the Ministry of Health, see the space where we will launch our non-profit, and travel to Tamale to meet with Dr. Abdulai (5th recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Peace and Social Justice in 2012) who has a clinic in Tamale and has agreed to collaborate with us, as well as other individuals who are key to the success of our venture. Our market research done in Ghana will allow us to determine all potential start-up challenges, have a better understanding of our target market, determine our competitive analysis, and other important elements essential for a successful start-up of our non-profit.

I encourage everyone to study away and if not for a semester, go for 3 weeks, or a summer! It will honestly impact you in ways unimaginable!

Learn more about and support Fanta’s efforts in bringing P.R.O.M.O. to Ghana by visiting the group’s Gofundme page.

Make The Most of Your Study Away Experience

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”—The Beatles

A Semester Abroad in London!

By Jillian Shainman/Steinhardt, Class of 2014

Last January, I was planning the logistics of packing six pairs of shoes, two winter coats, and one dachshund into two suitcases. Last January, I had never been out of the U.S. Last January, I was watching SNL with my dad when I suddenly brought up that “I’m really nervous to go to London.” Because last January, London’s merits in my mind were that I could speak English, I could combine my love for the Beatles and the Spice Girls in one city, and that I could begin my search for the perfect combination of David Beckham, Prince Harry, and Hugh Grant to be my British husband. While these benefits all proved true (except the husband part), London turned out to be so much more than that.

It is a city that is filled with incredible history and traditions reaching back hundreds and hundreds of years; renowned for its business ventures, music industry, and cutting-edge fashion; and admired for its composed, polite, and still fun-loving citizens. For me, London was the best of both worlds. It is similar enough to New York that I did not completely feel like an outsider, even when I was still new to the city. However, it is different enough that I felt immersed in new culture, customs, and practices that I have definitely been missing since my return to the U.S. (why don’t Americans break for tea time?!)

My four months abroad were the most incredible of my life–I met amazing people, traveled to 5 countries without losing my passport, and as cliche as it sounds, grew so much more than I ever thought I could.  I hope this blog post inspires people to take advantage of NYU’s amazing study abroad program. London was the best, most welcoming home away from home I could have hoped for. I hope all of us at NYU left a positive impact on the city just like the city left a positive impact on us. Because after all, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Want to hear more about different study away experiences? Come to Going Places: Making the Most of Study Away on Thursday, October 3rd at 12pm. Pizza will be served!



Meet the Global Peers: Buenos Aires

Suzi Brown, CAS, Class of 2014

What is the best advice about NYU you have received? At NYU, it is so important to be proactive and get out there. If an opportunity comes your way and you are even the slightest bit interested, go for it. You never know what you might stumble upon. This is how I ended up being involved in Alternative Breaks. I applied to volunteer in the Dominican Republic freshmen year, not thinking I would get a spot on the trip. However, because I just went for it and gave it my all, I travelled with 11 other like-minded students and taught English at a school in the DR over my spring break. It was such an amazing experience that the following year I applied to be a site leader and lead my own group of students back there to teach. If you are willing to put yourself out there, NYU can help you find a community and foster your passions.

Why did you decide to study abroad in Buenos Aires and Madrid? I have always wanted to study abroad, so that part was a no-brainer. Argentina and Spain share a strong history, both colonial and cultural, but they are so different down to the their core. In many ways, Argentina has a European flare, and many times tries to cultivate this flare, but this country also makes a point of being unto its own, proud of it’s pre-European roots. Then we have Spain, such a strong and powerful country for so long, now fading somewhat into the global landscape. There is a lot going on politically in each country, and as a politics major, it is very interesting to see, in real time, the progression of things in this sphere (already in my time here, there have been multiple, very lively, political protests in the streets). I am so excited for this amazing opportunity to study abroad for a full year in two countries and two hemispheres. I can’t wait to improve my Spanish and learn about these cultures constructed from either side of history.

What advice would you give about searching for an internship? Cast your net wide. When applying for internships, it is important not to get so bogged down in the one idea or image you had about what your internship would look like. Apply to a variety of positions so that you may have a choice at the end, and see which companies or organizations get back to you. You might be surprised at the types of places that are interested in your resume, and you might also be surprised at the different positions you are fit for and actually enjoy. On the other hand, it may also show you what types of things you are not interested in, but knowing this is just as important. None of my internships have ever been the same, let alone in the same general field, and I have learned vital lessons from each. I’m still not sure what I want to do, but my diverse experiences have given me a taste of the kind of environment I prefer to work in and the kinds of responsibilities I want.

Meet the Global Peers: Prague

Ben Strulowitz, Stern, Class of 2014

What is the best class you have taken at NYU and why? I’m a Finance and Economics major at Stern, but the truth is that my most enjoyable classes at NYU were in Steinhardt. I took private lessons in Guitar with Tyler McDiarmid, who also happened to be nominated for a Grammy. I also took Piano Tim Nuernberger, who taught me how to crush “Old Susanna.” Both classes were tremendous opportunities to enhance my college education in a 1 on 1 format that is not your typical college classroom… And both professors were very cool guys. Highly recommend them.

What’s your best tip for making a great first impression at a new job/internship? Always be busy. At times, your employers will simply not have the resources or availability to teach you and give you attention. This “downtime” can make or break an internship. If a higher-up notices that you are doing additional research or other tasks during your downtime, he will respect your work ethic and assign more responsibility your way.

If you could spend two weeks at any of the NYU study away sites, which would you pick and why? I would spend 2 weeks at the Sydney Campus. I am somewhat outdoorsy, so the hiking and beaches are very appealing. The English language is a plus, and I’ve heard the beer is delicious.

Meet the Global Peers: Prague

Lacy Reilly, CAS, Class of 2014

What is the best class you have taken at NYU and why? Hands down, Human Society and Culture, the required course for all Anthropology majors. I was lucky enough to take the course with Bruce Grant, an extremely knowledgeable and dynamic professor. The class confirmed my choice to pursue Anthropology. After one semester, I felt like a more curious, observant, and accepting human being—curious of the world around me, observant of the grand diversity of humanity, and accepting of that diversity as beauty.

What’s you best tip for making a great first impression at a new job/internship? Take notes! Especially while getting acquainted to a new position, you’ll need to have written reminders of your responsibilities and your boss will be impressed by the care you take to ensure that you complete your tasks correctly. Taking notes along the way will also limit the amount of semi-embarrassing procedural questions you ask, and put you on the path towards self-sufficiency!

If you could spend two weeks at any of the NYU study away sites, which would you pick and why? I’d choose the site I’m at right now: Prague! I could not have picked a better place to study away. The city is gorgeous, living is simple and cheap, and the culture is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced—which makes this a tremendously exciting learning experience for an Anthropology major!

October Spotlight: The Global Advantage

This month is all about the global advantage! NYU offers over a dozen different international study away locations to provide you with the ultimate global experience.

To kick off the conversation about the advantages of studying away, here’s a Wassertube video spotlighting insights from our employer partners and NYU students:


If coming to NYC for your education is a part of your global experience, then attend the international student orientation through the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) to make the most of your time here at NYU!