My name is Alyeska Reimer, and I am currently a senior Theatre Management and Spanish student. I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain in the Spring of 2022 and I couldn’t have been happier with the experience!
My SU Madrid experience was actually a little different because I was enrolled in the UAM program as well. This meant that I took half of my classes at one of the best Spanish Universities alongside Spanish students and other international students as well. The classes were challenging, but my language ability improved so much and I met friends that I’m still in touch with! The program was also about a month longer than SU Madrid program was, but I felt that it gave me more time to settle into my homestay and really get to know Madrid.
The SU Abroad center in Madrid was also a great place to take classes, grab a café con leche in the cafeteria, and connect with the staff. They were always super helpful in helping me navigate my class schedules, work study, organizing tutors, and letting us know what activities to check out in the city. Additionally, they were a great resource whenever I needed health appointments and made me feel prepared to get tested for Covid and even find allergy testing when I needed it.
I had a lovely experience living with my host mom, María José, in an apartment by the Real Madrid Stadium. She helped me practice my Spanish by talking with me about my day and sharing with her family, watching the show “Pasapalabra” together most days of the week, and eating dinners together. She also helped me get familiar with public transportation on busses and metros – I had never lived in a city before, but I sure do have an appreciation for Spanish transportation now!
One of the best ways I found to get involved was to participate with the Erasmus program. This was a program run through the Spanish public universities that had a jam-packed schedule of social and cultural activities for international students (generally European, but we took advantage of this!). They would have weekly conversation groups, occasional trips, and more! I participated in an Improv group every Tuesday night and had so much fun, and I also loved the trip they sponsored to volunteer at an animal sanctuary.
I am grateful I experienced the UAM program as well because now I feel more confident in my speaking and comprehension. This study abroad experience has inspired me to apply for a Fulbright in Mexico in order to immerse myself in another Spanish speaking country and expand my cultural awareness even further. I really hope you consider traveling abroad during your years at SU!
Hi! My name is Danielle Luing, Syracuse University Class of 2025, and I am currently a double major in Marketing and Finance with a minor in Sociology. So, study abroad- woo! I chose my specific program because I applied in December of my freshman year. I was, and still am, so young, but wanted to be able to get a head start on my Whitman abroad requirement. I also wanted to be able to get a feel for studying abroad early on in my time at SU, so I could decide if I wanted to go for a whole semester. I chose to apply to the London program as it was important to me to go to a country that primarily spoke English as its primary language since I have Celiac Disease and wanted to be able to communicate with people so I would not get sick from what I was eating.
The course I took was “Business of Nightlife in London”. This has been my favorite course as well as favorite professor I have had during my time here at SU. The professors and staff are so personable and really get to know you so well, in London, since there are not that many students there during each specific block. This really helped me feel more comfortable being in a new country, as I knew I had people who cared about me at the Syracuse London Center. My class really helped integrate me into the new area I was in, since multiple assignments required us to go to London nightlife events and write reflections/study the dynamic of the event. My professor was quite knowledgeable about the subject as he was a club promoter, so he truly knew the industry better as he directly worked with it in the past. This class also allowed for us students to be involved in extracurricular activities, as my professor set up private events for us to go to outside of class- one being a lesson on the art of being a DJ and matching beats.
One of the highlights of my trip was the Syracuse sponsored trip to Oxford. It was one of my favorite experiences during my time in London as I believe it really allowed the group to bond. Not everyone in Block 2 went on this trip, so having a smaller number of people really allowed us to connect. From time spent on the bus, to all living on the same floor at the hotel, to the tours of Oxford where we got to interact with one another, it truly brought us all closer and made us a little Syracuse London family. The school-sponsored trips are truly so worth it, and I would highly recommend taking advantage of everything they plan as they are the experts on that country and will allow you to explore without having to plan everything.
I lived in a four person flat which was about ten minutes away from Faraday House. The housing accommodations Syracuse chooses are better than one would think. At least for me, in London, I felt very safe in the area I stayed in, as it was a community of college students, some being from Syracuse and others from different schools. My roommate and I were able to have our own bathroom, and then my other two housemates had their own bathroom, which was very nice. The kitchen was also a fully functioning kitchen, which made it easy to try to budget and allowed us to cook for ourselves instead of eating out for every meal. I feel like when I look back at the slideshows presented to us at our London meetings, I was worried about how small the flats would be, and we were warned that this was a city and the living quarters were going to be smaller than usual. I was greatly surprised when my double room was actually bigger than my room at Syracuse University, and the bathroom was bigger than the pods I was used to in the dorms. Overall, much better than I anticipated, and nothing to be stressed about before going. New housing options available as of fall 2022.
Studying abroad truly changed my perspective on the world, and made me realize that I do not want to solely live in the U.S. after I graduate. It made me start to think about jobs that would give me the opportunity to live in London, and look into graduate programs that would allow me to take classes in a different country than I am right now. I plan to travel more in the future, as I feel more confident knowing that I was able to adjust once to a totally new country and culture and feel more comfortable doing that again. I’ve learned to be more confident in myself and what I can do, since I never thought I would have the courage to go to a whole new country alone, and end up thriving.
Hola! My name is Leah Ford and I spent the Spring 2022 semester studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. I will be graduating in Spring 2023, with majors in finance and accounting. Here are some questions and answers about what it’s like to study in Madrid:
Why did you choose this program?
Out of all the options for study abroad locations, Syracuse Madrid aligned best with my academic, personal, and experiential goals. As a Whitman major, a majority of the courses offered fulfill the arts & science elective requirements, giving me a wide range of options to learn about topics I wouldn’t typically take on campus. I also knew I wanted to be somewhere with a different language to expand my knowledge and step outside of my comfort zone. I was able to learn so much through my Spanish class, living with a host family, and immersing myself in Spanish culture. The professors were extremely supportive of my academic goals and gave opportunities to visit local museums and monuments to learn through primary experience.
Personally, it was my first time out of the country, so I wanted to make sure I was really pushing myself. Besides coming to Syracuse from home, I had never felt confident enough to travel on my own. Being with the program was the perfect mix of support and independence outside the country. Personally, I wanted to become more outgoing and able to tackle day-to-day tasks. By the end, I was comfortable going up to new people and embrace being uncomfortable. My mom came to visit while I was abroad and she said she noticed a visible difference with my confidence.
It was also really important to me to have a holistic experience and take advantage of all opportunities. The Madrid program offers a lot of activities within the city, as well as travel throughout Spain. I was able to learn so much about the culture, the food and the history. Madrid is also a major travel hub and the airport is amazing, making it super easy to travel internationally.
What interesting courses did you take abroad?
Healthcare in Europe- This course compared the US healthcare system to European systems, such as Spain, NHS England, and Germany. We discussed the funding and performance of these systems. Additionally, we took a trip to one of the local hospitals to learn about how they operate.
The Business of Sport- I thought this class was extremely engaging and interactive. We completed case studies weekly to take a deep dive on certain sports events. Also, we took multiple trips to both the National Golf Center and “Go Fit.” We were fortunate enough to have a few guest speakers speak about their sports businesses.
Drugs & Human Behavior- In this course, we analyzed numerous types of drugs and how they impacted human psychology. We also focused on legalization and how different countries view drugs. It was a group-oriented class, so we were able to collaborate and create meaningful projects.
Did you travel on your own while abroad?
Short answer, yes! The program sponsored bullet train day trips. These were focused on learning about the culture in a particular city, such as Salamanca, Toledo, Valencia, etc. I also traveled outside of Spain with some of the friends I made in the program. My favorite location was Florence, Italy because it was such a beautiful city, rich with history. I was also able to meet up with friends from Syracuse in the Florence program. Another favorite was visiting Switzerland and going Paragliding through the mountains.
Traveling can definitely be intimidating, but it was so worth it! I was able to see so many countries in a short period of time. Once you get to Europe, travel is relatively affordable compared to the US, so I would recommend taking at least a few weekend trips!
What challenging experiences did you face while abroad?
An easy one is not speaking Spanish. I had taken Spanish all through high school, but I wasn’t anywhere near fluent. Fortunately, with my minimal knowledge, I was able to survive just fine. I could rely on some of my friends that spoke better Spanish, which also helped me learn.
I have celiac disease, so finding food that was safe was often very difficult and exhausting. Europe in general is pretty good at preparing gluten free food, so with a little bit of searching I was able to overcome this. I found a couple places, such as Naked & Sated and Celicioso, that were dedicated gluten free. My host mom was pretty good at preparing meals once I explained to her what my needs were.
Finally, it was difficult to take classes in a new environment. While it is a Syracuse campus, the classes and professors are different from what I was used to. The class length was longer and the assignments were much more collaborative and project based then I was used to. Overall, everyone was very supportive and you are able to adjust within the first few weeks.
What was your living experience like?
I lived in a homestay! It was a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment just north of Chamberí, the neighborhood where the Syracuse campus resides. My roommate and I lived with one woman who has grown children and missed living with others in the house. She was absolutely amazing and I could not recommend homestays enough! She prepared breakfast and dinner for us everyday and was always willing to take requests on what we wanted to eat. The food was really good and she made sure to give us a taste of Spanish food. Our host mom was very supportive of us experiencing all aspects of the culture and traveling. We stay in touch to this day and I plan on going to visit her again next summer!
What has studying abroad taught you about yourself and the world?
Studying abroad taught me that I was holding a lot of my personality back. There’s nothing quite like trying survive in a foreign country without the support of people typically surrounding you. I was forced to adapt and push myself in unexpected ways. I am now significantly more outgoing and willingly to tackle seemingly scary situations.
I have a heightened appreciation for travel and experiencing the world. I’ve been talking nonstop about how much of the world I haven’t seen and how desperate I am to do so. Going abroad truly is lifechanging and gives you opportunities to learn more about yourself and your limits.
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
Mathematics, Spanish, and Environment, Sustainability & Policy
Hi! I’m Shannon and I’m a senior duel majoring in Sociology and Public Relations. I went abroad to Florence in the fall of my junior year and it was by far the best semester of my college career (and probably the best three and a half months of my life!). Ever since I was little, I’ve been in love with the idea of traveling the world. So, when it came time to choose a college, a top-tier study abroad program was number one on my list of requirements. I can say will full confidence that Syracuse was the right choice for exactly that!
Because I’ve always loved traveling, and have always dreamt of study abroad, trying to choose from all the diverse abroad programs offered at Syracuse seemed like an impossible decision for me. I started attending the abroad fairs and talking to my academic advisers about my plans to go abroad the second I got to campus, but when junior year rolled around and it was time to make a decision I still felt overwhelmed. I was torn between the London program because there are some classes offered at the London center that could count toward my Newhouse major, and the Florence program because the opportunity to experience the culture, art, and history of Italy really interested me.
Obviously, I ended up choosing the Florence program, and it’s the best decision I ever made! The language barrier, cultural differences, and chance to live with a host family are some of the aspects of my semester abroad that most challenged me; however, I know that those are also the things that taught me the most about myself, and helped me grow as a person. The language difference and host family experience specifically were aspects of the Florence program that initially scared me and made me seriously consider choosing the London program instead. But, looking back, I wish I could have told myself not to be worried about those things because they’d end up being some of the best parts of my abroad experience!
Being worried about living in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and living with a family you’ve never met is perfectly reasonable, and it’s something that almost every student is nervous about before they go abroad. But seriously, take it from an abroad alum, don’t let that fear choose your abroad program for you! You will have an absolutely amazing experience and you’ll look back and laugh at yourself for being so stressed over those things. I’m SO happy I chose to study in Florence, and I know if I had let my fear of the language barrier and living with a host family dictate my experience, I never would have learned or grown as much during my time abroad as I did. At the end of the day, every single abroad program offered at Syracuse is an amazing opportunity to expand your horizons, experience a new culture, and challenge yourself to try new things. You will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience regardless of where you go, so choose the program that speaks to your heart and just take the leap! I promise you won’t regret it.
Hola! My name is Ariel Hylton and I recently graduated in the Class of 2020 at Syracuse University. I majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Spanish and studied abroad in Madrid in the Fall of 2018. I loved every second of abroad! I really wanted to be immersed in the culture and practice speaking and communicating with others in Spanish. I chose Spanish Identities for my seminar and loved exploring Northern Spain and a couple cities in Portugal and France. This seminar was carried out solely in Spanish and I gained so much from it. I also traveled to so many different countries. Being able to learn from locals and their cultures was incredible. But I was still looking for more during my abroad experience.
As a Jewish woman, I was worried about going abroad. I was so used to celebrating the High Holidays with my family, friends and peers in a place I’m very comfortable going to and wasn’t sure if I’d ever find a similar community. However, I discovered KAHAL, an organization providing Jewish students with various Jewish experiences throughout the world.
Being invited into a new community may be scary and worrisome at first, but attending services for various Jewish holidays was the best decision I ever made. I attended services at a local synagogue in Madrid for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah. I met those who were also Jewish students studying abroad in Madrid, locals and individuals passionate about Judaism. In addition, the services were led in English and Spanish. Because I was fluent in Spanish, I was able to communicate with the other congregants and learn from them.
A local family also invited me into their home for a Hanukkah dinner. This was an experience and evening I will never forget. The family provided me with a delightful meal and included me in their own service. I truly felt at home. I remember going back to my host mom’s apartment and telling her how much I enjoyed spending the evening with that family. My parents were also thrilled to hear that I connected with other Jews.
I also loved learning more about what it’s like to practice Judaism in another country, especially in Spain. Toledo, a small city just outside of Madrid, is historically known for their Jewish community. I was able to visit Toledo during my time abroad, see various synagogues and discover how the Jewish people in this city practice Judaism.
My host mom in Madrid was always so willing to talk to me about being Jewish in Madrid and Spain in general. During the days when I left to go to High Holiday services, my host mom showed interest in my religious experiences the moment I walked through the door. I was able to teach her about my religion and she then shared a little about her own. Even though my own parents weren’t there to talk and spend time with me, my host mom always made me feel important as I celebrated these holidays in Madrid.
KAHAL and the experiences this organization provided me with truly enhanced my experience studying abroad in another country and city. I recommend KAHAL to any Jewish student planning on studying abroad. It really made me feel at home even when I was miles and plane rides away from my family and friends in the United States. Whether you’re traveling to Madrid, Paris, Prague, Shanghai or Sydney, KAHAL will connect you to immersive experiences in your local community! Check out KAHAL’s website for more information: https://kahalabroad.org
Bonjour! My name is Eva Kamman and I’m a junior here at Syracuse studying environmental engineering. I studied abroad in the fall of 2018 at the Syracuse Center in Strasbourg, France. I chose this program for two main reasons. The first is that my family is French so being able to live there made me feel much closer to those relatives. In fact, in a weird way, it kind of felt like going home. The second was that I was able to take classes both at the Syracuse Center and at l’Institut national des sciences appliquées de Strasbourg (one of the premier engineering schools in France). Taking classes at INSA allowed me to regularly be in the same building as French engineering students and occasionally work with them. In one class, we had a few lectures where each SU undergraduate was partnered with an INSA graduate student to solve problem sets. While I was abroad, I took statics, electrical engineering fundamentals, calculus III, French IV, and I had an internship for credit.
When I went abroad, I definitely didn’t expect to hold an internship. However, the SU Center has a fantastic program that places interested students into positions around Strasbourg and I felt it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I was matched with a research professor at INSA and worked with him for a few hours each week in his student office where I was able to collaborate with his other student researchers. My work was focused on standardized precipitation evapotranspiration indexes and developing a method for calculating potential evapotranspiration in different climatic regions around the world. Being able to work with my advisor in a completely different setting than what I am used to was beneficial to both my academic and professional growth.
Though I’ve talked a lot about my academic experience so far, I am a strong believer that you shouldn’t go abroad just for the academics. Europe’s accessible transportation took me all around the continent – some notable places were Barcelona, Munich (for Oktoberfest!), and Greece. Each trip that I planned with my friends tested our organizational skills a little bit more. After all, I had always relied on my family to plan trips for me. Of course, there were the occasional flight cancellations or AirBnb mess ups, but we were always together and made the best out of whatever situation we were thrown in.
Studying abroad was probably the best decision I have made in my college career so far. I don’t think that I would be as successful either personally, academically, or professionally as I am today had I not taken advantage of the SUAbroad program. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! Merci beaucoup et bientôt.