Before committing to Syracuse University, I was invited to an interview. At the end of the interview, my interviewer asked me, “do you have any questions for me?” My question was, “what is one thing you wish you could re-do about your experience at Syracuse University?” He said something along the lines of, “my one regret was not studying abroad, it is an once in a lifetime experience that you should definitely take advantage of at Syracuse University.”
Just like college was never a question for me, studying abroad was not one either. During my senior year summer, in high school, I traveled to Bogota, Colombia to for a service learning project through the YMCA of Greater New York. It was such an amazing experience, and one that I knew I had to try again, and I did. This summer I participated in the Globalization & It’s Critics program offered by SU Abroad. Words really cannot describe this experience I had. In a month I visited France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and the UK. The program was a traveling seminar, focusing on globalization, economics and business in the world.
We started in Italy, where we examined the historic development of the Italian city–states, partnered up with representative of Gucci, Prada, Luxottica, and more. In Switzerland, we visited the United Nations, and the WTO. In Germany, we researched the global manufacturing industry, and also partnered with representative from Daimler–Chrysler, Airbus, Audi, Mercedes Benz, and Volkswagen. In Holland, we focused on global branding and met with Heineken. Also, in Holland we did research on the European Union and NATO. In France, we partnered up with representatives from Carrefour, Accor and LVMH, to learn about commerce in retailing, hotels and luxury goods. The program concluded in London, where the focus was on the global finance industry, partnered with Lloyds of London and global media firms, CNN and BBC.
Throughout my trip I was exposed to a new perspective on life and I was taken out of my comfort zone, which allowed for so much personal development. It was such a great experience that I am even considering living abroad post graduation. The thought of studying abroad might seem like a distant dream to some or might seem like a huge fear, but take the chance and most importantly take the opportunity offered by our wonderful study abroad program. Syracuse University’s study abroad program has been named one of the best in the country. The connections that I made abroad are priceless. I still stay in touch with my professor from the program, and some of the contacts that I met throughout the trip, including a woman that works for BBC.
I know that sometimes financial aid might be a conflict when wanting to travel abroad, so I have some advice that might help with this issue. I want to repeat that this is a once in a life-time opportunity, traveling while you have no major obligations, but school, is the best! For me, my last resorts are loans, but even if I have to take out a loan I look at it as an investment towards my future. But before you consider a loan, contact the people in your academic department, and your professors, they are all valuable resources that can help you out or direct you to financial help. Make sure you speak to the SU Abroad office, they offer scholarships. One important scholarship that I was “put on to” was the Gilman Scholarship, which offers grants to U.S. students traveling abroad.
For more information on the Gilman Scholarship, and other useful resources, check out the link below:
It is never too late to go abroad, if you can’t go during your undergrad years, try to go during the summer after you graduate. There are always options, you just have to do research and talk to the right people. Go abroad! You won’t regret it!
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