Syracuse Abroad Statement on European Travel Alert

The U.S. State Department issued an updated Travel Alert for Europe on Monday, May 1st. Alerts are issued for short-term events that the U.S. Department of State believes travelers should be aware of when planning to visit a specific country or region of the world. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events are over, the State Department cancels the Travel Alert. In this most recent alert, the State Department has not advised individuals to defer travel, but the alert advises travelers to exercise caution and monitor security information for the country or countries of their travels. An alert contrasts with a “warning,” which is also issued by the U.S. Department of State, and signals that travelers should consider very carefully whether or not they should travel at all to a specific country.

The current alert mentions steps that travelers in Europe can take to help them maintain their awareness and bolster their personal security preparedness. Please note that the advisory was not issued in response to a particular threat, but was intended to advise reasonable precaution when traveling. General advice is included below. and all travelers are encouraged to visit the ISOS website and download the ISOS app for more guidance and to provide emergency information in need. (Syracuse University: #11BCPA000177).

Syracuse Abroad takes the safety and security of our students and faculty overseas very seriously and we will continue to monitor information from the U.S. Department of State, the Overseas Security Advisory Council, foreign security agencies, the university’s insurance providers, and contacts on the ground to keep travelers notified and make potential determinations on any necessary itinerary adjustments. If there are any additional questions about the advisory or other travel safety concerns, please feel free to contact Seth Tucker, Syracuse University’s Director of International and Domestic Travel Safety and Support, at or by phone 315.443.1968.


  • Remain vigilant to your surroundings in public places, including transportation hubs, popular tourist locations, and shopping malls. Report any suspicious packages or behaviors to the authorities as a general security precaution.
  • Do not be unduly alarmed by a visible security force presence in main urban centers, transport hubs, and border crossing points.
  • Maintain flexible itineraries as security operations or alerts may cause short-notice disruption in transport networks.
  • Monitor ISOS and State Department alerts for further updates. Syracuse Abroad will be in contact with all students and parents in the unlikely event of an itinerary change for their program.

The full text of the Travel Alert is available here.

Five Syracuse Abroad Students Named Summer 2017 Gilman Scholarship Winners

Five Syracuse University Abroad students are among the approximately 1,200 American undergraduate students from 354 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study or intern abroad during the summer 2017 term. Big congratulations to:

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply. Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

The late Congressman Gilman served in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee. When honored with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002, he commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

The program is administered by the Institute of International Education. According to Allan Goodman, President and CEO of IIE, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries. It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”

The deadline for students applying for the Gilman Scholarship for Spring 2018 programs is October 3, 2017. Interested students are encouraged to contact Syracuse Abroad admissions counselor Mary Fedorko for assistance with their application.

2017 University Scholars Include 10 Study Abroad Alumni

Twelve graduating seniors have been named as the 2017 Syracuse University Scholars, the highest undergraduate honor that the University bestows, according to Syracuse University News. Ten of the scholars are alumni of SU Abroad programs.

  • Farrell Brenner, a women’s and gender studies and citizenship and civic engagement major: Women and Gender in the Arab World (Summer 2015), Religion, Law, and Human Rights (Summer 2015), and Exploring Central Europe (Fall 2015)
  • Rachel Brown-Weinstock, a sociology, citizenship and civic engagement and policy studies major, enrolled in South Africa: A Global Health Education Experience in both Summer 2015 and 2016
  • Hasmik Djoulakian, a women’s and gender studies and citizenship and civic engagement major: Florence Center (Spring 2015)
  • Emma Ettinger, a stage management major: Oxford University Arcadia (Special petition Spring 2016)
  • Emily Fesnak, an information management technology major: London Center (Fall 2015)
  • Anniya Gu, a biochemistry major: Florence Summer Session (Summer 2014)
  • Evangeline Soileau, an architecture major: Florence Center (Spring 2015)
  • Genevieve Starke, an aerospace engineering major: Florence Center (Spring 2015)
  • Bryan Sweeney, a music composition major and fine arts major: Florence Summer Session (Summer 2016)
  • Geoffrey Vaartstra, a mechanical engineering major: Santiago Center (Spring 2016)

The University Scholars will represent the entire graduating class at the May 14 Commencement ceremony. On Wednesday, May 10, the scholars will be honored at a reception at the Chancellor’s House hosted by Chancellor Kent Syverud and Dr. Ruth Chen, at which they will receive special medallions to be worn at Commencement. The scholars will also be honored at the One University awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 25, at Hendricks Chapel.

The Syracuse University Scholars Selection Committee, a University-wide faculty committee, selected the 2017 scholars using criteria that included coursework and academic achievement, independent research and creative work, a personal statement, and faculty letters of recommendation.

Exploring Central Europe Director, Professor Receive Prestigious Curriculum Award

Photo from Petra Hejnova

On March 31, 2017, Dr. Hana Cervinkova and Juliet Golden, director and professor, respectively, of the SU Abroad Exploring Central Europe program, were presented with an award from the Forum on Education Abroad. Cervinkova and Golden were selected as the recipients of the Forum’s fourth Award for Excellence in Education Abroad Curriculum Design for the course “Negotiating Identities Across Europe’s Borders.”

Dr. Cervinkova leads students on a lecture.
Photo from Hana Cervinkova

The course, the centerpiece of the theme-based Exploring Central Europe program, offers students enrolled in the program an opportunity to interact with different cultures and places on Europe’s frontiers. The course travels throughout Eastern and Central Europe, to Prague, Budapest, Berlin, Bratislava, Krakow, and Vienna. At the heart of the course is the drive for students to investigate sites tied to WWII, the Holocaust, and Soviet totalitarian rule. They explore the big questions of the 21st century—how people from different national and ethnic identities, with different languages, cultures, and traditions, are able to live together after wars and other kinds of violence and trauma.

“’Exploring Central Europe’ is a new model for SU Abroad,” says Margaret Himley, Associate Provost for International Education and Engagement. “A thematically based program, it offers students the opportunity to study the histories, politics, and activisms of an important part of the world in collaboration with each other, with Hana and Juliet, and with a host of activists and artists they encounter over the semester.”

The Fall 2017 cohort will be the fourth to enroll in the program, which runs exclusively in the fall semester. In addition to following the coursework designed by Cervinkova, students participate in internships in Wroclaw, Poland, their home for the semester, and write for the publicly-accessible Urban Labs website. There, students creatively reflect on their travels, interviews, site visits, observations, and exchanges, and share their experiences, photographs, and research with the world.

Cervinkova and Golden accepted their award at the Forum’s 13th annual conference in Seattle. Additionally, the pair presented a conference session on the course. It was determined that the curriculum they developed aligned with The Forum’s Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad by:

·         Providing an academically rigorous program of study;
·         Enriching the classroom experience through the use of the location and/or its unique resources;
·         Establishing learning objectives tied to the mission statement of the home institution(s) and/or department(s);
·         Expanding and enhancing students’ home institution curricula;
·         Setting a precedent for exceptional approaches to fostering student learning.

“It is wonderful to see this course recognized because it represents the best of international education,” said Petra Hejnova, SU Abroad Director of Curriculum & Academic Services. “It tackles a topic of critical importance, it actively engages the study abroad location through original research, and it provides academically rigorous opportunities for students to reflect on what they are learning.”

Cervinkova and Golden receive nearly unanimous praise from students who have enrolled in the Central Europe program. “I am not the same person I was prior [to the program] and I would never wish to be,” said Megan Newell, who went abroad in Fall 2014, the first year the program was offered. “I have learned so much about people and culture, the land, humility, and the course of history from this program that I could never even dream of what my life would be without it.”

SU Abroad Director, College of Law Professor Win Diversity Abroad Innovation Award

Dr. Louis Berends, the SU Abroad Director of Academic Programs, and Syracuse University College of Law professor Dr. Michael Schwartz were one of three winners of the Diversity Abroad Innovation Competition, held at the annual Diversity Abroad conference in Minneapolis on March 22.

Berends and Schwartz were among 10 finalists chosen to vie for the awards. The finalists presented their ideas and then were judged on the spot during the closing plenary session of the conference. Their presentation, “Diversifying the disability perspective: Exploring inclusive practices in Japan and the U.S.,” proposed the creation of an academic faculty-led program in Japan for students of color and students with disabilities, two core populations that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. The proposal envisioned the recruitment of a racially diverse group of students, some with disabilities and some without, for a credit-bearing trip.

The implementation of the program would involve a national drive to recruit students of color and students with disabilities. For instance, Gallaudet University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the California State University, Northridge, have racially diverse populations of students with disabilities, some who are deaf or hard of hearing. Accompanying the group to Japan would be a team of sign language interpreters experienced in international travel and customs. The goal of the program would be to compare the two nations’ approach to disability law, policy, and practice, and to meet Japanese people with disabilities.

According to Berends, the prize money will go toward Professor Schwartz’s travel to the three aforementioned schools to recruit students for the program. The program will be a part of the SU Abroad short-term program offerings in the 2017-18 academic year.

New Restrictions on Electronic Devices Entering the United States from Middle Eastern Airports

On March 21, 2017, the Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) restricted airline passengers from bringing large electronic devices (laptops, tablets, e-readers, electronic games, portable printers, cameras, etc.) in carry-on luggage on flights originating from or traveling through the following airports:

Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) (Amman, Jordan)
Cairo International Airport (CAI) (Cairo, Egypt)
Ataturk International Airport (IST) (Istanbul, Turkey)
King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
King Khalid International Airport (RUH) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait International Airport (KWI) (Farwaniya, Kuwait)
Mohammed V Airport (CMN) (Casablanca, Morocco)
Hamad International Airport (DOH) (Doha, Qatar)
Dubai International Airport (DXB) (Dubai)
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) (Abu Dhabi)

All travelers coming to the United States from or through these airports should place large electronic devices in their checked luggage. Passengers can carry cellphones/smartphones on the plane.

The Department of Homeland Security has released a fact sheet on the new security measures.

The United Kingdom has adopted similar measures for flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Spring 2018 Applications Now Open

Applications are now open for all SU Abroad center programs for the Spring 2018 semester. Applications will remain open until October 1, 2017. Students are encouraged to apply early, as SU Abroad has rolling admissions. As soon as all aspects of an application have been received, SU Abroad admissions counselors will review and begin admitting students to the programs!

Students can begin their applications here.


SU Madrid Announces New Residence Hall Housing Option

New for summer and fall 2017, Syracuse University Abroad will offer a residence hall housing option for students participating in the SU Madrid program. Pending the Board of Trustee’s approval, SU Madrid will reserve a block of rooms with two occupants per room. You will be assigned to rooms based on information provided on the Housing Request form (among the post-acceptance forms in your application). If there is more demand than space, we will conduct a lottery to assign spots.

The residence hall, Colegio Mayor El Faro, is situated in the Moncloa neighborhood of downtown Madrid and is a 25-minute walk to the SU Madrid Center. The rooms are furnished, including a small kitchen with a sink, mini-fridge, and microwave. Bed linens and bath towels are provided and laundered weekly by the cleaning staff. Three meals a day in the El Faro cafeteria are included in this option.

“We are excited about this new residence opportunity, which provides game and exercise rooms as well as social and sports activities, and a chance to get to know Spanish and other European students,” said Margaret Himley, Associate Provost for International Education and Engagement.

Interested students are encouraged to submit their applications to SU Abroad for housing at Colegio Mayor El Faro as soon as possible due to the limited availability of space. Although unlikely, if this arrangement does not work out, SU Abroad will provide a homestay for all students in the program.

All students who are placed in the residence hall will need to pay a $300 deposit and sign a housing agreement form to confirm their placement in El Faro.

SU Abroad Students Publish Book Reflecting on Summer Course

A group of seven SU Abroad students went to London in May 2016 as part of the first-ever WRT 301: Civic Writing in London course, taught by Jess Pauszek in the College of Arts & Sciences. During their time in the United Kingdom, the students explored the rich history of the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (the FWWCP), a non-profit organization established in 1976 to promote the belief that writing should be accessible to all people, especially to those in the working class.

Throughout the social turbulence of the 1980s in the UK, the FWWCP sought to promote the stories and voices of the working class, and the Federation continued its work until 2007. when it was reorganized and re-branded as the FED. The SU Abroad students on the course were able to speak to the FED’s members and to attend writing workshops that focused on the collected works of hundreds of working-class people.

This past December, the group published a book, Preserving Hidden Histories: Stories from Collaborative Writing Communities that contained a summary of their coursework and their own reflections on their time in London. Prose and poetry fill the pages, connecting students’ experiences growing up in working-class communities in the U.S. to the lessons they learned from workers throughout the UK.

The students and their professors look forward to publishing another volume of their reflections soon.

SU Abroad Student Wins GoEuro Scholarship

Anjelica Elsroth, a junior in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, has been awarded a GoEuro European Study Abroad Scholarship. She is the first SU Abroad student to win a scholarship from GoEuro.

GoEuro European Scholarships offers three individual awards for study in an EU and/or Schengen country. All students enrolled in a Syracuse University Center program in Europe are eligible to apply. The application deadline is in January for study abroad during the following academic year, and awards range from 500 to 2,000 Euros.

“We are delighted to help one of your students with their dreams of studying abroad and hope they are able to experience the best that Europe has to offer,” Katherine Shanahan, Senior Marketing Manager at GoEuro.

Elsroth joins the dozens of SU Abroad students who have been awarded external scholarships to study abroad. SU Abroad maintains a lengthy list of outside scholarships available to students interested in offsetting the costs of a semester abroad through scholarships and grants.