My study abroad experience was hands down the best experience of my life. The combination of travel, academia, and professional development is what every potential study abroad applicant should seek. We studied in Dublin, Ireland for just under two weeks yet it felt like an entire semester. Although I knew nobody on this trip when I stepped off the plane, I knew everybody by the time we returned home. We had the amazing opportunity to visit historic sites throughout Ireland including Trinity College, The City of Belfast, and the ancient monastic site of Glendalough. My only regret is that I did not journey on a study abroad venture sooner than now. I thank the College of Staten Island and the entire The City University of New York for making this experience possible.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
SeolBing (설빙) - Mango Cheese Bingsu with Garlic French Toast
Budaejijigae (부대찌개) - Army Stew
Army Stew originated during the Korean War with leftover foods from the U.S. Army facilities. This stew is very hardy and filling. Some typical ingredients you’ll find are ramen, scallions, sausage, spam, kimchi, tofu and other ingredients. This soup does tend to be on the spicy side, so be sure to let the waitress know that you want little pepper paste if you don't do well with spicy foods. The spot I visited for this stew was in Dongdaemun.
ChiMaek (치맥) - Chicken + Beer
Thanks to the hit drama My Love From the Star, Chimaek (chicken and beer) has become very popular in South Korea. Restaurants that serve this meal can be found all over the place. This is a great meal to have with friends after a long week, enjoy by the Han River or even in your apartment. This is a very addictive meal as the chicken is not prepared like in the US; there is something very unique to the taste that I have not seen replaced in NYC’s K-Town.
Kup Bap (컵밥) - Cup Rice
Finding something for breakfast can be pretty difficult if you are used to sausage, egg and cheese on a bagel. Thankfully, in Sinchon there is a place called Isaac Toast which serves a variation of toast sandwiches. The one I ordered was the Ham Special, ham, cheese, cabbage, sweet sauce and egg. One of the best things about this filling sandwich is that this comes in at less than 3,000 KRW.
This year, I had the privilege of returning to Italy for a second study abroad experience. I also studied in Florence last year, but as my first experience on my own in a foreign country, I had difficultly feeling comfortable. After reentering Florence for the second time this past June, I was hit with a gust of nostalgia. I remembered where my favorite gelato shops were, and I knew my way around confidently. By the end of my trip, I did not want to leave! Last year, I had felt very homesick, and although I loved Italy, there was no place like home. This year, Italy became my home, and now, I desire even more travelling around Italy and the world.
Cinque Terre, or “Five Lands,” consists of a beautiful beach and scenic view. This is one of my favorite sites; I highly recommend taking the hike to experience the full beauty!
I was reunited with my friends whom I met in Florence last year! It is so exciting to hang out with local Italians!
I LOVE Venice! There’s just something about being surrounded by water that feels so Italian to me! The gondola ride is cute, but make sure to have a group of five or six since the boats are expensive.
When in Rome! The Coliseum was probably my favorite part of Rome.
I also went horseback riding in Tuscany! Unfortunately I could not get a picture of myself since I was too focused learning how to ride a horse for the first time!
I was reunited with my Art Restoration professor from last summer! He was like everyone’s adopted Italian grandfather!
Lastly, here are my creations from my Sculpture class this year! I took one of the cups home with me. Unfortunately everything was very heavy so I was unable to bring it all.
The main reason I wanted to go to Copenhagen was for its nickname, “Europe’s most eco-friendly city”. The city is known for its public transportation, where travelling by bus, train, or bike is supported while travelling by car is discouraged. Biking, specifically, is very popular in Copenhagen and wherever you go in the city, there are bicyclists everywhere. They even have huge parking sections for bikes because they are used so much. It gives the city a clean, spacious feel due to the little use of cars. Another way Copenhagen is eco-friendly is the creation of the many parks in the city. I went to so many different parks while in the city, and every time I felt like I was transported somewhere else. The people of Copenhagen really enjoy these parks, which preserve various amounts of nature so the city doesn’t turn into all concrete. This eco-friendly culture was pushed in order to make Copenhagen better, and it was successful, since most Danes are on board with preserving their city’s nature and enjoy the use of biking. Overall, my experience in Denmark was amazing and I cannot wait to go back.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Going to Morocco for the summer was definitely the most significant, life-changing thing to happen to me, and I truly mean that. I didn’t even think that I would like traveling, but once you get a taste for it, you get the travel bug and you want to explore the world. The program I ended up choosing wasn’t actually one that CSI ran specifically, it was part of the College Consortium of International Studies (CCIS). It sounds complicated but the process was really simple. There’s this book of countries all over the world, and study abroad programs in each of them that you can participate in for a multitude of projects. I opened up the book, came across Morocco, and I was settled. For a short time I thought that the Thessaloniki program that CSI offers was for me, but Morocco seemed so interesting and foreign, and the thought of learning Arabic and having that under my belt was just too tempting to pass up.
Morocco itself was an amazing country. Al-Akhawayn, the university I studied and lived at for two months, was a fantastic place. Everyone in program was bunked up with a Moroccan student taking summer classes, and I had the pleasure of having the son of the program director as my roommate. We were as thick as thieves and hung out a lot in the local city of Ifrane, which is actually in the hinterlands of the Atlas Mountains, and it actually snowed when I was there in the middle of the summer. The program scheduled us two field trips, one to Marrakech, the famous historical city in Morocco with winding alleyways in its Old Medina, and the other to Merzouga, which was an oasis in the middle of the Sahara desert. While those two trips were indeed fun, I had my more memorable experiences on the weekend trips I planned with the friends I made there. Chefchauen, the blue city, was by far my favorite place there. I enjoyed it so much that I went twice with two different groups of people just because it was such a fascinating place.
One of the most intimidating prospects of studying abroad is getting into a program and funding it, but there are plenty of opportunities for one to get grants or scholarships. The CSI Center for International Service has plenty of scholarships and grants available to students for the programs they host; however, there are plenty of other funding opportunities outside of the CUNY system that they can get information for you on and assist you in applying to. The Gilman International Scholarship is one in particular because it is the one that I was awarded and allowed me to participate in this adventure. The application process was very straightforward; if you're a Pell Grant recipient, fill out a few pieces of information about yourself and write relatively short essays about why you think you should be awarded the grant to study abroad and your proposed follow-on project.
Studying abroad changed my life, so much so that I have not stopped spreading the news about it since I came back. In fact, during the 2014 fall semester, I helped a classmate get information on studying abroad as well as do research for scholarships and grants, and she is currently studying abroad in Paris, France for the 2015 spring semester. Studying abroad is something every student should have the opportunity to do, and when in doubt on whether or not this is for you, remember that you only live once, so you might as well make it interesting.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Taking this trip you won’t regret, here are a few things you shouldn’t forget. Fear not, family and friends will be there for they love you most. Anticipate making new memories and friends along the coast! Whether it’s Italy, China or Ecuador, remember when packing – less is more! Be prepared before you go, you’ll never know if it’s rain or snow.
Soon enough you will leave, now we are en route overseas! It is time to go on a long flight, be comfy when you go, wear something light! Things will be different, from language to people – and keep in mind the currency will not be equal. Learning from a different perspective is major; study, work hard & good grades you will savor.
Do your work & it will pay off, travel with friends on your day off. From the Eiffel Tower to the Great Wall, to the Royal Guards that stand tall – the sky is the limit, you can see it all! Be aware of your surroundings and you’ll be fine, don’t put yourself in danger because you’ve drank too much wine. Moderation is key to having a good time, stay with your friends, don’t get lost in sublime. Taking this trip will change your life, take the leap, don’t think twice. If you’ve read this far, you’re certainly wiser - Bon Voyage from the peer advisors!
Steven Arriaga, Paris, France (summer 2014)
Thomas Giordano, Thessaloniki, Greece (spring 2014)
Amanda Ramos, Florence, Italy (winter 2014)
Alexis Rizzica, Florence, Italy (fall 2013)
Jessica Schoberl, Florence, Italy (winter 2014)