Global Ambassador Profile: Jessie Santillian

""By Meghan Stark

Syracuse Abroad: Where are you from?

Jessie: Lacey, Washington (outside of Seattle)

What made you decide to come to Syracuse?

It kept showing up on a lot on College Confidential and other sites. I wanted to one-up my brother and sister, who had gone to college on the other side of Washington.

What’s your major?

Political science. It was originally earth science

What made you decide to go abroad your first semester on the Discovery Florence program?

I always loved the idea of traveling even though I didn’t do a lot of it. I always watched a lot of Travel Channel. Also I figured if it cost the same to go to Syracuse versus abroad, I should go to Italy. I was already not gonna know anyone at Syracuse so I might as well not know anyone in Florence.

Do you have any advice for those going abroad their first semester?

Appreciate where you are and explore your own backyard. Florence had so many great museums that were incredible to explore. Some tourist things are really popular just because they’re actually awesome. Also to just travel outside your home country – I went to Amsterdam on fall break and absolutely loved it.

Do you have a favorite memory from abroad?

On one of our last nights, my roommate and I went out for food and got all the expensive foods we didn’t get a chance to try during our trip.


Jessie Santillan, a senior in political science, is an innovator in the field of mini-bios. In his early years, Jessie decided that his default “fun fact” would be that his favorite Netflix show is Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting.” This long-time wearer of wool socks and Washington State resident has had minimal issues adapting to the Syracuse Snow™. When he graduates this spring, he hopes to finally have time to start the second season of Stranger Things.

Top 5 Weekend Trips from the Syracuse London Center

By Meghan Stark

You’re currently thriving in London, but need a little break from the hustle and bustle of the city? London is close to so many incredible weekend getaways that make taking a breather from the city noise affordable and fun!

  1. York

It’s got castles, museums, and even a whole center devoted to Vikings! How could you not want to take a quick trip to the countryside to see this quaint town? A quick two-hour train ride transports you from the metropolis of London to the romantic, historic city of York. Perfect for a weekend getaway!

  1. Bath

Looking to see some of the UK’s most history-rich sites? Look no further than Bath! It’s specifically known for it’s Roman baths. Roman baths look like big, beautiful swimming pools where people would historically bathe and socialize. Bath is full of history and beauty and is only a 90 minute train ride from London’s Paddington Station.

  1. Peak District

The Peak District is known for its beautiful stately homes. Chatsworth House was used as the residence of Pride and Prejudice‘s Mr. Darcy. It’s not too long of a train ride, just three hours north of London. It’s also home to a national park that’s rich in history and natural beauty.

  1. Cornwall

Way west, Cornwall is a great beach trip to get away from the hustle of London. There are endless walking trails and sandy beaches, along with great seafood. You can surf there, too! A great change of pace from the city. Definitely a longer train ride, but totally worth it.

  1. Edinburgh

While Scotland’s Edinburgh may be a bit further away it’s totally worth the trip. Check out this gothic gem north of London and experience the castles and charm of Scotland’s capital. Known for its parades and the Edinburgh Castle, you can even see the pub where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. It’s a 7 hour train ride from London or a cheap hour flight.

National study finds that study abroad has a direct impact on skills needed for career success

The study, conducted by the Institute for International Education, included the input of Syracuse Abroad alumni. It investigates the connection between study abroad programs and the development of skills that contribute to employment and career development in today’s workforce. The study was released at the IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad in Washington, DC on October 2, and the full report can be downloaded at  The study shows that studying abroad for longer periods of time has a high impact on subsequent job offers and career advancement as well as the development of foreign language and communication skills.

A key takeaway: Among alumni who studied abroad for one academic year, 68 percent reported studying abroad contributing to a job offer or promotion.

Syracuse Abroad hosts alumni gathering in Boston

Last month, Syracuse Abroad, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations, hosted a reception at the State Room in downtown Boston, Mass. for its alumni in the greater Boston area. It was a chance for alumni to mingle with one another, to stay up-to-date on the latest developments from the Syracuse Abroad office, and to listen to Professor Randall Korman share his memories from 30 years of teaching Syracuse University students abroad. Paul Miller ’09 and Michael Messina ’98 also spoke at the event about the lasting impression study abroad experiences leave on students long after they return to the United States.

Further abroad alumni receptions are scheduled for 2018! The first will be held in Washington, DC in June – keep an eye on your email for an invite in spring 2018!

Syracuse Abroad expands its global footprint in the 2017-18 academic year

The Syracuse Abroad office is proud of its commitment to expanding to offering students a wide range of abroad programs that meet their academic needs. A robust list of summer programs, ranging from three to nine credits, changes each year. Exciting new programs have been announced for summer 2018: A course examining the geography of wine and beer along the Franco-German border, an architecture course focused on public transportation issues in Guatemala City, a public health course examining issues of public health and drug abuse offered just over the border in Vancouver, Canada, and a course that takes students to Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal to examine the effects of high altitude in human beings.

At the same time, changes are underway at the Syracuse Abroad centers: engineering courses are now offered for second-year students in Strasbourg and Florence, computer science and information technology courses are available in London, and a new Discovery first-year study abroad program for engineers will launch at the Madrid Center in fall 2018.

All told, Syracuse University students can now choose from 100 programs in 60 countries. We can’t wait to introduce you to them!

9 Ways to Combat Homesickness While You’re Abroad

By Meghan Stark

1) Facetime is your best friend

None of the data usage, all of the sentimentality. Facetiming or Skyping your family and friends can relieve some of the homesickness you’ve been feeling, as seeing their faces can make you feel more connected than just hearing their voices.

2) Eat something that reminds you of home

Make something that warms your belly and your heart; eating food you usually eat at home can help connect you to home and the kitchens you love.

3) Keep familiar things around

Maybe it’s a stuffed animal or a sweatshirt from your favorite vacation spot, but keep important things close to you to foster a sense of home in your new location.

4) Pictures

Pictures of EVERYONE! Your parents, dogs, siblings, friends, anything that reminds you of happy times in a happy place, print it out and hang it up! You’ll be surprised how much visual suggestion can make you feel at home.

5) Movies/Music

While it’s awesome to get into the cultural scene of your new home, music and movies from home are a big comfort and reminder that you’ll always appreciate the music and movies you grew up with. Stream your favorite local radio station, see what movies they have on their respective Netflix (Yes, other countries have Netflix – it’s pretty wild!). Remind yourself of what made you dance or laugh when you were home, and chances are it will still make you laugh while abroad.

6) Visit friends

Chances are, you know other people studying abroad right now. Plan a weekend trip to go see them! A familiar face can do wonders.

7) Avoid obsession or romanticizing

While home is GREAT, there are hardships there as well.  It’s possible your longing for something familiar is stopping you from remembering that if you were home right now you’d still have to do homework, go to work, and do other things you’re probably not crazy about. But you don’t get the added bonus of getting to travel to other countries on the weekend.

8) Learn the language

Maybe one of the reasons you’re feeling out of place is because there’s a barrier between you and your new neighbors. Learning some basics of your new home can help connect you to the people and culture of the city you’re studying in.

9) Explore your new home

The best way to combat homesickness? Make a home where you are now. Explore your city, eat the local food, get to know the streets and people. Make new happy memories in this new place. By the time you leave, you’ll be homesick for where you went abroad.

Space Still Available in Syracuse Abroad Programs for Spring 2018 Semester

Syracuse Abroad has announced that space is still available in the following programs for the Spring 2018 semester:

  • Beijing Center
  • Florence Center
  • Florence Center and Direct Enrollment at the University of Florence
  • Florence Center and Intensive Language Program at the University of Florence
  • Florence Center: Design
  • Florence Center: Engineering
  • Florence Center: Studio Arts
  • London Center
  • London Center: Architecture (B.Arch)
  • London Center: Design
  • Madrid Center
  • Santiago Center
  • Santiago Center: Cuenca, Ecuador Immersion
  • Strasbourg Center
  • Strasbourg Center & French Language Institute
  • Strasbourg Center & U. Strasbourg

Students interested in applying for these programs should visit and begin their applications. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Syracuse Abroad to Host Q & A on International Careers

On Wednesday, September 27, Syracuse Abroad will host a lunchtime discussion at the Alumni & Faculty Center with Thomas Kattau and Elena Hedoux of the Pompidou Group at the Council of Europe.

Students interested in interning or working abroad are invited to attend to enjoy lunch and to talk to Thomas and Elena about finding work in international organizations. For students considering a semester abroad, Thomas coordinates the Syracuse Strasbourg Center’s internship program with the Council of Europe and can offer valuable advice on securing one of the competitive internships with the organization.

Students who have already been abroad are encouraged to attend to talk about finding jobs overseas after graduation. A representative from the Career Services Office will also be on hand to offer advice on working abroad.

What: Lunch at the Alumni & Faculty Center
When: Wednesday, September 25, 12 p.m.

If you’re unable to make it, you’re invited to attend the Marketing your study abroad experience workshop hosted by Career Services on Tuesday, October 3, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Schine Room 231. This one-hour stand-alone workshop will guide you on how to present your study abroad experience to prospective employers.

Questions? Email Jenn Horvath, Syracuse Abroad Marketing and Communications Manager.

Participant bios:

Elena Hedoux has been working in the Council of Europe for 12 years and for the last 4 years with the Pompidou Group. In the Pompidou Group she is the program manager for the executive trainings on drug policy and works for the Secretariat of Permanent Correspondents and the Ministerial Conference. She also holds responsibility for cooperation with countries from Latin America and Eastern Europe. Her focus of professional interest lies with addiction treatment of young people, and innovation in institutional management. In addition she is exploring specific needs of migration populations with respect to drug policy. Elena has studied in Russia, the United States, Spain and France. She holds degrees in psychology and pedagogy, her working languages are English, French, Spanish and Russian.

Thomas Kattau is the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Pompidou Group, the Council of Europe’s drug policy cooperation body. Before this he held various positions at the Council of Europe, including responsibility for childhood policies and assistance programs for Eastern Europe. Later he was engaged in conflict resolution and post conflict stabilization in the Balkans and North Caucasus. He is the coordinator for Syracuse University internships at the Council of Europe and has been teaching European Policies and international conflict resolution at the Syracuse Center in Strasbourg. Prior to taking up duties with the Council of Europe he worked in criminological research, taught comparative law and was a practicing attorney. He has studied law and social sciences in Germany and Australia and was an exchange student in the United States.

Syracuse Abroad Hosts First-Ever Study Abroad Showcase

Photo by Alison Socolow

On Monday, September 25, Syracuse Abroad will host its first-ever Study Abroad Showcase in the Schine Student Center Atrium from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Students worried about choosing a study abroad program that fits their major or minor requirements are invited to attend and talk to representatives from ten of Syracuse’s schools & colleges*. School and college advisors will be paired with study abroad staff members and global ambassadors to highlight abroad programs that work well with specific majors and minors.

In addition to the seven Syracuse Abroad centers and 65 World Partner Programs, the showcase aims to highlight 2018 summer and short-term programs. Faculty members who are leading programs in 2018 will be available to answer specific questions about their courses.

New faculty-led programs in 2018 include a Mount Everest base camp trek, led by Professor Tom Brutsaert from the School of Education and Falk College Professor Rick Burton; a spring break program to Cuba focusing on Afro-Cuban dance, led by Professor Sydney Hutchinson in the College of Arts & Sciences; and a summer program based in Vancouver, Canada, led by Professor Dessa Bergen-Cico from the Falk College, which will focus on drug policy and harm reduction.

“We want to help SU students figure out which study abroad program is right for them,” said Jennifer Horvath, Syracuse Abroad Marketing and Communications Manager. “With over 100 programs in 60 countries to choose from, we know it can be overwhelming for students who are unsure where to begin.”


*Participating schools and colleges: The College of Arts and Sciences, The Maxwell School, the Newhouse School, the School of Education, Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the School of Visual and Performing Arts, the Whitman School of Management, and the iSchool.


Syracuse Abroad Showcase

Monday, September 25
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Schine Student Center Atrium

Syracuse Abroad Statement on London Tube Explosion

Syracuse London staff have confirmed the safety of all Syracuse Abroad students in London at this time.

Staff in London have been in touch with students throughout the day. They have advised students to avoid using the Tube (London Underground) today while further investigations are being carried out. While it is believed that this was not part of a coordinated attack on the London Transport System, we are urging students to exercise caution.

If there are any updates, the Syracuse London staff will reach out to students again, and they will also alert them when British authorities have downgraded the situation and advise for all to resume services as normal.

We will post further updates if needed.