A successful semester in Santiago

Hola!! I am Olivia Budelmann and I am pursuing degrees in Mathematics, Spanish, and Environment, Sustainability & Policy. My anticipated graduation date is May 2023. I chose to study abroad in Santiago, Chile during the spring 2022 semester. This program is longer than most of the other Syracuse Abroad programs, so as I’m writing this in June, I still have a month left of living in Santiago!

I selected the Santiago program because of the cultural immersion. Even though it was absolutely terrifying to think about living with a host family and taking all classes in Spanish, I knew it would help me allow me to better learn the language and culture of my host country. And I am so incredibly thankful that I chose this program! I absolutely love my host family – they have had over 20 host daughters in the past, and have treated each of them like they are actually part of the family, not just a student who is living with them.

I have had the opportunity to spend time with both of my host brothers & their families, as well as siblings, cousins, and friends of my host parents. I truly feel as though I am a part of the Chilean family I have here, and I know that that will be the case “para siempre.” When my host brother got married five years ago, 12 of his “gringa” sisters (previous host daughters of this family) flew to Santiago to attend the wedding. Some even brought their husbands and children to the wedding! I feel so thankful to have been welcomed into this family, and am excited to come back and visit for future familial events.

I also feel very closely connected with the program director, Mauricio, and the assistant director, Paula. They are two of the most incredible people I have ever met. It can be really difficult adjusting to living in another country, and it can feel very isolating. However, whenever I needed help or support or was just feeling down, Paula and Mauricio were always right there to help me in whatever way they could. So it was almost like I gained two families when I came to Chile: my host family of course, but also the program directors and the other students in the program.

As a group, in addition to exploring different sectors of Santiago, we also travelled to Patagonia, Valparaíso, and San Pedro de Atacama. In smaller groups, I also visited different parts of Chile such as Pucón and Concón, as well as Buenos Aires, Argentina. I feel so lucky to have been able to travel to all of these different regions, and Paula and Mauricio played such a large role in making that happen.

All of my classes are taught in Spanish, but only one of them is with Chilean students. It has to do with the geography of Asia and Latin America, and it is super interesting to learn about because I would not be able to take a class like it in the United States. We have to do group projects as well, which I was very nervous about at the beginning of the semester (how could I possibly do a project in Spanish with Chilean students?!) but now is something I feel completely comfortable doing, which is such an incredible feeling. It is so amazing to be able to witness yourself experience such a large amount of  personal growth. I have a similar situation with my internship as well. This semester I have been working with Chile Sustentable, which is a very serious and well-known organization. Before this semester, I would never have thought it possible to do a serious internship completely in Spanish, yet now it is something I am in the midst of doing. Qué bacán!!

I am not sure what my plans will be for after I graduate from Syracuse University, but after studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, I know that I want the Spanish language to always be a part of my life. I would love to return to Latin America to study, work, or simply exist in another country so that I can learn the culture of other Latin American countries and continue practicing my Spanish. During this semester abroad, I learned how to navigate a completely different country and culture, and although it was not always easy, I now have the confidence to continue taking risks and trying new things. But of course, I will be coming back to visit Santiago, which I now consider my second home.

Olivia Budelmann ’23

Syracuse Santiago

Mathematics, Spanish, and Environment, Sustainability & Policy

Living, Learning and Interning in Strasbourg

ben at council of europeBonjour and Hallo!  I’m Ben Shultz and I spent my final semester of graduate school abroad at the Syracuse Strasbourg Center, and just graduated this spring (2022).

As a dual-degree M.A. in International Relations and Master of Public Administration student at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Strasbourg presented an unmatched opportunity for me to explore the European policy space in a hands-on manner.  I took one graduate course at the Syracuse Strasbourg Center and undertook an internship at the Council of Europe International Cooperation Group on Addiction and Drugs (Pompidou Group).  My experience studying abroad was life-changing and opened many doors for me in personal, academic and professional contexts.

What intrigued me most about Strasbourg was its international, cosmopolitan nature.  Situated on the Franco-German border in the Alsace region, Strasbourg is one of the four European capitals, home to the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights.  It is also one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Europe, and it certainly lived up to the hype.

I lived with a local host family, which was tremendously helpful from integrating in both a cultural and linguistic perspective.  I arrived in Strasbourg speaking almost no French and left being able to navigate fully in daily life—from checking into an AirBnB, taking a train, or buying a pain au chocolat from the bakery.  Additionally, living in Strasbourg was useful for practicing my German.  I was conversational before arriving in Alsace, but found plenty of ways to improve, including taking the tram across the border to Kehl, Baden-Württemberg and speaking in German with my colleagues at the Council of Europe.

For Americans, the chance to intern at any of the European institutions is incredibly limited.  Syracuse University’s partnership with the Council of Europe enabled me to gain valuable experience working ‘on the inside’, so to speak.  My broad focus at the Maxwell School has been cyber and tech policy, and at the Pompidou Group I was given the chance to explore this focus further.

At the Council, I was assigned to a longer-term project for the Expert Group on Drugs Online that involved researching the status of illicit substance sales and trafficking, as well as money laundering, via online and mobile video games and chat rooms.  These platforms represent a gap in the existing European drug and addiction policy, and I was asked to present about my research and potential policy recommendations at the Expert Group’s 2022 Annual Meeting.  More than 30 senior members of law enforcement agencies across Europe, from Ireland—to Turkey—to Finland, attended the meeting.  It was incredibly rewarding to hear presentations from these leaders about their experiences and research on a variety of issues, and I was equally proud to present my own research into emerging threats via online gaming platforms.

ben in strasbourgHaving been back in the U.S. for less than a month, I’m pleased to say I’ll be starting a new role with Deloitte Global Public Sector as a consultant.  I’ll be conducting disinformation and cyber threat analysis for public clients, and I can directly link my work at the Pompidou Group to this new job.  Not only was my time in Europe something to converse about with my soon-to-be colleagues and supervisors, but they found my experience of working on an emerging cyber policy issue across the Atlantic valuable, in terms of the insights I was able to glean from the European policymaking process that might help improve U.S. cyber policy.  As well, given the broad global nature of public policy, the language skills I picked up and sharpened in Strasbourg may be useful for me at Deloitte.

In total, my time in Strasbourg was simply phenomenal and I am so grateful for SU and the Maxwell School for helping me organize this semester abroad.  It was a perfect way to conclude my time as a graduate student and directly set the stage for a quick transition into the professional world.  I hope to be back in Strasbourg very soon, this time as a tourist!

Benjamin Shultz ’22

M.A. in International Relations / M.P.A. Candidate

Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Surprises in Ireland

Lily in IrelandDia duit! My name is Lily Rhuda. I am a junior biomedical engineering major(Class of 2023) here at Syracuse University and I was able to study abroad through the World Partner Program at the University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.

As an engineering student, people often think that it is super hard to go abroad but I’m hoping that through my experience and what I can contribute to the Ambassadors that I can help change that perspective! I was led to my program by my advising staff and one of my fav professors, shout out Dr. Yung, because while it’s not difficult to go as an engineer we do have to be careful about choosing our program.

I chose UCD because after doing a bit of research, that was my best option for going abroad as a Junior and it was in Europe, which is where I’ve always wanted to go. While sophomore year is ideal for bioeng majors I was unfortunately not able to go because of COVID. Honestly so happy that happened because I would not trade my experience in Dublin for anything!

Rugby team in IrelandI spent my semester living and learning at UCD which is just about the city of Dublin. I stayed in the university accommodation which was great because I was able to get much more involved with my organizations and friendships on campus. While I was there I was able to join the women’s club rugby team and the engineering society and both were great craic! The rugby team was an awesome way to meet new people because in addition to all the Irish girls there were a bunch of other international students on the team. It was so great to have the opportunity to bond with them in a team environment like that and now I’ve also got tons of connections for my future travels!

Castle in IrelandSpeaking of travel, that was 100% one of my favorite things about studying abroad. I was able to travel extensively within Ireland and Northern Ireland. The UCD Study Abroad program had several weekends of day trips to famous destinations that were completely free for us, and my friends and I went on every single one of them. My favorite was probably the first weekend where we got to kayak through the Irish sea out to an island, climbed up a mountain(not a crazy hike lol) to get some panoramic views of the coastline, and finally did some cliff jumping at the local baths. In addition to those trips, I traveled with my friend and with my family when they came to visit.

Part of what I loved about traveling around Ireland was that anything could be a day trip. Which gave us so much flexibility. My absolute favorite trip of the semester was taking a long weekend and going up to Belfast with a big group of my friends. We went on a game of Thrones film location tour(One of the best days of my life) and to Giants Causeway. This will forever be one of my favorite trips and I will look back on these memories for my whole life!

I know it sounds clichébut looking back on my time in Dublin I can really say that study abroad changed my life. By traveling so extensively within the country and joining the university organizations I was able to experience so much of the culture of Ireland. I can also say that I have grown so much as a person since I stepped foot in logan airport ready to embark. I also never knew how close I would get to my friends in the short time that I was there. I’m so thankful that I was able to have this experience and I will cherish it forever.


Lily Rhuda

Biomedical Engineering

World Partner Program: Dublin, UCD

Q&A: Life in Copenhagen

Hello – my name is Kara Mueller and I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark in fall 2021 with World Partner program DIS Copenhagen. I’m graduating in 2023, majoring in Human Development and Family Science. Here are some questions and answers about life in Denmark:

DenmarkWhy did you choose this program?

  • My major was the main component that led me to choose the Copenhagen program. Human Development and Family Science is a super small major so there were not many programs that adhered specifically to HDFS, so I looked to World Partner to find which programs best fit my major. Copenhagen had a Child Development and Diversity program and I thought that fit perfectly with what I wanted to study.

What were some interesting courses you took abroad?

  • Child Development and Diversity in Education in Scandinavia: This was my core course which meant that this is where most of my credits were going toward. Every core course had two trips, one in another part of Denmark, and one in another country that fit our field of study. Having these core courses allowed us to get close with our fellow classmates which was a really cool aspect of the program.
  • Child Development and Diversity in Education in Scandinavia Practicum: This class was an extension of my core course, but it was a placement for every student at a Danish school. We got to rank our preferences for what age group we would want to work with and had the options of infants, day care age, elementary age, or middle school age. I chose middle school because I want to work with adolescents in the future and I was able to work with 8th and 9th graders once a week in the countryside of Copnhagen. This was an amazing experience and a great way to get to know a very different part of Denmark since our commute was about an hour.
  • Danish Language: This class was a Danish language and culture class. The language barrier was not bad at all because almost every Dane knows English, but it was still cool to be able to learn some Danish terms. My favorite part about this class was learning about the Danish entertainment industry. We read some Danish fairy tales and watched Danish movies and learned about how their culture is portrayed through their media.
  • Positive Organizational Psychology: This course was all about psychology in the workplace. We learned about all different characteristics of work life that affect the personality of someone’s career. Balancing these characteristics and making well-being a priority helps work to be so much more pleasant.

Girls in CopenhagenWhat’s one of the best experiences you had?

  • I met some of my best friends through this program. I loved the idea of going on a program by myself and meeting new people from different universities, and that is exactly what happened. It is such a great dynamic because we can now visit each other at our schools and meet each other’s friends. It is definitely strange adjusting back to school life that doesn’t involve them because we became so close, but I am so happy to have met them and be able to travel the world with them. Traveling and learning a new culture together is such an amazing way to get close.

Did you travel within or outside of Denmark during the semester?

  • We had time for field trips every Wednesday which was a great opportunity for immersion and building knowledge about different aspects of our course content. My class went on a 3 day trip to Odense, Denmark, and a 6 day trip to Finland. We had meals together and were able to spend a lot of time as a class and learn a lot about each other. Every class did a 3 day trip to another part of Denmark, and a 6 day trip to another country, so everyone had the same amount of time to travel with their course.

What was your living situation like? How was the experience?

  • I lived in a residential community which involved two floors of people and about 15 people per floor. Each floor had a shared kitchen, two common rooms, 2 bathrooms with showers and 3 bathrooms without. In my individual room, I had two roommates from two different schools. Everyone was spread out across the city and there were other living options like a host family, or in a Kollegium which involved local students as well as American students. I loved my living situation and all the shared spaces worked out so much better than I expected them to. It was a great way to meet people and work on living with others.

After college, I am definitely going to emphasize traveling, which I may not have planned on doing if it wasn’t for studying abroad. I would love to work abroad for a little while, or at least for an international company that allows me to travel for at least the first few years. There is so much of the world to see and it was so helpful to learn about the way different countries function and how it works for them.

Kara Mueller ’23

DIS Copenhagen

Studying in Strasbourg: Internships and Adventures

Katie Blomkvist in StrasbourgMy name is Katie Blomkvist and I studied abroad in Strasbourg, France in the fall 2021. I am majoring in Public Health and Policy Studies and am graduating in Spring 2023. During my time in Strasbourg, I was an intern at the Council of Europe International Co-operation Group on Drugs and Addictions.

I chose to study in Strasbourg because of the closeness to many governmental buildings and the opportunities that Syracuse was able to provide for me with internship opportunities. In addition, I took four years of French in high school, which allowed for a smoother adjustment to the new language. Choosing a location with a language other than English was important to me because I wanted to challenge myself with learning a language.

My favorite course that I took was titled Conflicts of Religion in Contemporary Europe with Professor Samim Akgönül. I really enjoyed this class because I did not have much knowledge of many religions. I was not raised in a religious family, so I was really able to absorb a lot of knowledge. We had the opportunity to go on multiple trips to different religious buildings around the city, going to places I likely would not have visited without taking the class.

Katie Blomkvist ParisThe Strasbourg Center had organized trips and activities for us to attend through the entire semester. With the school, I visited nine museums in Paris, dozens of waterfalls from glaciers throughout Switzerland, and Alsatian vineyards in the country. Partaking in these activities and trips was a way to connect with the other students in the program and to experience new cultures. On these trips, we were able to try traditional foods and drinks of the areas we visited. Eating crepes in Paris, fondue in Switzerland, and wine in the Alsatian vineyards was such a fun and unique experience!

During my internship with the Council of Europe, I worked within the Pompidou Group on drugs and addictions. I had various tasks through my semester, many of them not relating to one another, so I was able to learn about many different topics. I was exposed to topics that I had never learned before or had any knowledge of. Although my internship was almost entirely virtual, I had a very good experience and made many connections at the Council of Europe!

I was able to do a lot of traveling on the weekends in France, Germany, and Switzerland. One of my favorite experiences was during our fall break. A small group of friends and I traveled all along the South of France for our 10-day break. We started in Nice, went to Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, and ended in Bordeaux. The four of us were hopping on trains almost every other day, visiting museums, watching the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea, and eating the most delicious foods. These 10 days were extremely long and tiring, but I had the most wonderful time seeing the most beautiful and historic cities. We all agreed that we learned and grew a lot from our time on our trip. None of us had been on a long trip in a different country on our own, so planning the trip was a first for all of us. We learned to give and take and get along with each other. We were constantly being pushed out of our comfort zones and enjoyed every second of it.

Katie Blomkvist MunichIn Strasbourg, all students live with a host family. In my family, I lived with my two host parents, Isabelle and Jerome. They have three children who are grown and out of the house but come to visit frequently. I had a very positive experience with my family. They helped me to improve my French and made me feel at home even when family was so far away. We would eat dinner together every weeknight and talk about how our day went. My parents and sisters came to visit me while I was away, and Isabelle and Jerome invited them to come over for dinner because they wanted to meet them. They were very kind and welcoming! My host family lived very close to a bus stop that I would take to school every day. The public transportation in Strasbourg, although intimidating at first, is very easy to use. There are buses and trams that you can take within the city and out to the suburbs as well.

I definitely got bit by the travel bug while I was in Strasbourg. Ever since coming home to the United States, all I can think about is when I’ll be able to go back to Europe. Studying abroad was a life-changing experience and I am so glad that I decided to take the risk of traveling during the Covid pandemic. I am so thankful for the memories I have made and the people I met. I can confidently say that I have learned just as much about myself as I have about my host country.

Katie Blomkvist ’23

Syracuse Strasbourg ’21

Dancing my way through Spain

Victoria Amado in Spain¡Hola! I am Victoria Amado, a junior studying Policy Studies, Information Management & Technology, and Spanish Language, Literature & Culture. I will be graduating in the spring of 2023, and I had the pleasure of studying abroad in the fall 2021 semester in Madrid, Spain. To say it has changed my life would be the understatement of the century.

I knew I wanted to go abroad to Madrid from the moment I stepped foot in the city while visiting my older sister years ago, also studying abroad with Syracuse. I had gone home from that trip enchanted by the language, cuisine, and culture. Coming from living in a COVID world and having done little to no travel in two years, I knew junior year was my time to explore. What I couldn’t decide was when to go to Madrid, fall or spring. Alongside my strong desire to go back to Madrid, was the dream I had since I was little to go to London. After a lot of deliberation, and pro/con lists, I decided that neither of these goals was going to be compromised, and instead I would go abroad for the entire year, first to Madrid and then to London. From there, it was an easy decision that fall 2021 would be my time in Madrid.

Victoria Amado and friends in Madrid

My classes abroad were some of the most rewarding work I have done. We got to experience everything we were learning in the classroom directly in the streets. All of the professors were so passionate about teaching us the ins and outs of Spanish life. One of my favorite courses was a Spanish course called De Madrid Al Cielo. We were reading and exploring Spanish literature, history, and society in the classroom, but the professor would include a wide range of places to visit, eat, and enjoy that was directly connected to what we were learning! Another one of my favorite courses was a history course called Arts of Spain, where we would analyze different artworks and architectural designs and then see these practices in art at different museums across the city!

While classes may be the focus of your time abroad, another thing that is nearly just as influential to the experience is travel! During my time in Madrid, we had to adhere to COVID protocols and were not allowed to leave continental Spain. Some thought this would hurt our traveling opportunities while abroad, I think they did just the opposite. During my time in Spain, I was able to explore the country and all of its glory. I visited Salamanca, el Escorial, Valencia, Cordoba, and my personal favorites Malaga, Barcelona, and Sevilla. From attending a soccer game in Malaga, to walking the streets of Barcelona, and to having my heart melt during a Flamenco show in Sevilla, traveling in Spain was nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Victoria Amado barcelonaOne of the things that are most important to me in life is dancing. While abroad, I knew I wanted to continue my training and learn new styles from the professionals in Madrid. Anxiously walking into a dance class in a new city was one of the scariest things I did abroad, but also the most rewarding. I ended up finding my home away from home, taking 2-3 classes a week from different Spanish choreographers, and loving every minute of it.

It was honestly one of the hardest things to say goodbye to because it had become such an important part of my abroad experience. But it wasn’t the only thing I was sad to leave behind. My neighborhood, favorite stores, and

cafes, professors, and staff at Syracuse abroad, my new Spanish friends, and the magic of Madrid were hard to leave. I hold my semester in Madrid very close to my heart and know it has made me the person I am today.

Victoria Amado’23

Syracuse Madrid ’21

My summer internship at the Council of Europe

Student at Council of EuropeHi – my name is Karen and during the summer of 2019, I spent my time interning at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The Council is an intergovernmental organization with 47 member states, working to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law within its jurisdiction and beyond. As I am working toward master’s degrees in both Public Administration and International Relations, this presented an opportunity for me to gain insight into both my areas of interest simultaneously. I had my office in the Agora building, which not only gave me great access to my team members and other interns, but also provided for a very interesting work environment overall.

Council of EuropeMy assignments were focused on various research projects relating to human rights, with the main emphasis being on environmental issues as these impact, and are impacted by, human rights. I also wrote speech drafts, proofread documents to be sent out and published, and took notes at different meetings. The most valuable experience for me during my internship, however, was the opportunity to experience how the organization functions. It was important to my supervisor that I get as much out of my experience as possible, which led to her encouraging me to attend different plenary meetings, sessions, and voting procedures. These areas were not directly relevant to my work per se, so I was not required to take notes and work during that time but was encouraged to just attend and take in the experience. Through these instances I also got the opportunity to network and socialize with relevant actors from my field during breaks and lunches, which gave me much insight into the world of international relations and thus complimented knowledge gained from the classroom.

As an international student, I originally did not intend on going abroad for my internship experience. However, gaining directly relevant experience from various cultures is immensely important, especially in a field as diverse as international relations. Being from Europe originally, but having taken all my higher degrees in the United States, this internship also provided me with an opportunity to develop experience from and connections with the European diplomacy.

strasbourg france

My time at the Council of Europe overall stands out to me as one of my most valuable experiences so far. It provided me with opportunities to learn processes, skills, and tools for my future work, in addition to giving me insight into the world of international diplomacy on several levels. Additionally, Strasbourg is a beautiful city, with a vibrant student environment and many opportunities for European travel. I definitely recommend taking advantage of this unique opportunity!

Karen Reitan

Strasbourg Summer Internships 2019

Learn more about Internships in Strasbourg

Virtual summer internship leads to tangible results

Levi Heath Maxwell studentMy name is Levi Heath! I am an MAIR student and during summer 2021, I participated in three courses through the Graduate Institute Geneva. The Graduate Institute offers a series of standalone “modules” each summer, each worth 2 ECTS credits (the equivalent of 1 SU credit). This summer, these were all held online. I attended modules on: Cinema, International Relations and Human Rights’ Advocacy; Humanitarianism: Its History and Politics; and The United Nations in a Changing World. Each module consisted of three days of synchronous lectures and class discussions followed by a short final paper, due a week after the last class period. As an MAIR student, I found each of these courses interesting and relevant to my degree.

The professors leading each module supplemented their own lessons with guest lectures from experts, academics, and practitioners whose work connected to the topics of the class. I had the chance to learn from human rights advocates, leaders of NGOs, and career diplomats. For me, the insights these guest lecturers gave into careers in the field of international relations were among the most valuable parts of the classes.

In addition to the professors and guest lecturers, I was able to learn from my fellow students. The Graduate Institute’s summer programs attract students from academic institutions around the world. Mid-career professionals who are not in school are also able participate in the modules as students. This meant that I had classmates from multiple continents and with diverse academic and professional experiences. This created a rich environment for classroom discussion. My classes ranged from about 20 to 50 students. Particularly in the smaller classes, people were able to share insights drawn from their own experiences and ask questions informed by their unique perspectives.

Graduate Institute Geneva
Graduate Institute Geneva

I was particularly interested in taking summer classes through the Graduate Institute Geneva because of their flexibility. During the summer, I also interned remotely with the Carter Center, based in Atlanta. Since the Graduate Institute offers modules throughout the summer, and since each module is only a few days long, I was able to plan my classes around my internship schedule and vice versa. Although I would have loved to attend the classes in-person in Geneva, having the classes online made it easier to balance my class schedule with my internship schedule.

Summer classes at the Graduate Institute Geneva are ideal for someone interning with an organization in Geneva, but if they continue to be offered online, they also work great for someone working part-time elsewhere. The topics of the modules offered change each year, but they are always interesting and relevant. I would recommend Graduate Institute Geneva classes to anyone interested in a career in international relations. Feel free to reach out to me at leheath@syr.edu if you have any questions!

Levi Heath

MAIR, Maxwell School Graduate student

Exploring Diverse Communities Abroad

Whitney in MadridWhen studying abroad in Madrid, Spain some of my favorite experiences involved learning about and exploring different cultures within the context of another country. My name is Whitney Welbaum and I am graduating in December 2022. I am majoring in public relations with minors in Spanish and cultural anthropology. I chose to participate in the Madrid Summer Session 2021 to improve my language skills and to learn more about Spanish culture. What I did not expect was to also be able to experience the diversity of different groups of people also living in Madrid from other countries and cultures.

City streets in SpainI first learned about the Lavapies neighborhood in my Spanish language and culture class. Lavapies is known as the multicultural neighborhood in Madrid, where you can find people from diverse backgrounds all living in the same area. In my class, we learned about the diversity present in Spain as well as the issues that come up during cross-cultural exchanges. My studies really helped open my eyes to the depth of cultural identities in Spain and how diverse cultures functioned in different contexts. I was also able to explore my own identity as a biracial person, I found it exciting to learn about Chinese communities living in Spain. Exploring my own identity and finding communities that I could directly relate to was a truly enriching and comforting experience.

Some of my favorite memories from my time in Spain are from exploring Lavapies. There were days where I would just wander the streets and alleyways of the neighborhood, stopping by shops that caught my eye. I was able to practice my Spanish with the shop owners while also learning about local artisans. Lavapies was also one of my favorite places to eat lunch or dinner, there was a wide variety of international foods to choose from. I was able to sample Indian, Greek, Japanese, and other international cuisines. I look forward to when I can visit the neighborhood again in the future, it is the type of place that I feel like I can constantly learn more from.

Whitney Welbaum ’22

Syracuse Madrid Summer Session

Living and Learning in London

Ezra in LondonHi! My name is Ezra James Capiral, and I studied abroad in London during the Spring 2020 semester. I’m a Television, Radio & Film major and will be graduating in Spring 2021. My time abroad was nothing short of life-changing. I seriously cannot think of another adjective to describe it, because that word so accurately describes my experience. Even though I was only abroad for a couple of weeks, and was cut short due to the virus outbreak, I made the most of my time abroad and do not regret the time I chose to do so.

What led me to apply for the London program specifically was an utter fascination and curiosity about British culture. I knew language wouldn’t be a barrier, so I took comfort in that fact. However, I knew that living in a different country for an extended amount of time, being that I’ve never left the US in my 20 years of life, would prove some sort of challenge.

Living on my own with no meal plan meant having to buy my own groceries and cook for myself, which in turn would also save money since eating out every day would not be within my budget. Taking public transportation every day to get to class and simply get around London was something I had to learn as well but after only a week or so, the Tube proved very easy to navigate.

Finding the time to incorporate my studies while also having the opportunity to explore the city was also a challenge, as sometimes you can let your excitement get the better of you and cause you to prioritize differently. As I overcame each of these small obstacles, I found myself to feel more comfortable in the new environment, which in turn helped me manage my time better and maximize the productivity of my days. With more free time, I took advantage of the fact that travel to other countries from London would be cheaper than it would be from the US. That took me to Gothenburg, Sweden, for a weekend, where I got to eat plenty of fresh seafood, visit art and history museums, and ride an electric scooter for the very first time! Back in London, I would frequent the V&A museum, various food stops (mostly hot pot), and my favorite, Hyde Park, only a 20-minute walk from my flat.

In terms of academics, I can definitely say I was the most invested in my classes abroad than I have been throughout my time at SU. What I enjoyed most about my course schedule is the fact that at least half of the classes require you to venture outside the classroom, thus allowing learning through cultural immersion and exploration. While some of these field trips were led by the professor, a lot of them actually required you to travel on your own time, gather the information that you learn, and then report to the classroom the next day about your findings. Each day, and each week, I was constantly inspired by the academic material, and how interactive learning was highly encouraged through personal exploration and engaging conversations inside and outside the classroom.

In the future, I definitely plan on going back to London, as well as visit other places within the UK that I was not able to explore yet. There is always so much more to learn and discover, and I cannot wait for what my next adventure has in store for me!

Ezra James Capiral ’21

Syracuse London

Newhouse, TRF