As part of my endless “I love Geneseo let me tell every single person who will listen” campaign, I tend to hang around on the Facebook pages to answer questions for incoming students. One of the major things I’ve noticed is that many, many students are really interested in studying abroad. There’s plenty of great resources out there if you’re interested in Study Abroad at Geneseo. Of course, there’s our official page:
But that only scratches the surface! I’ve also added here just a few experiences from some of my friends.
Major: English (Comp Lit) and French
Study Abroad Location: Paris, France
Program: SUNY Oswego
Living in Paris has been one of the most dynamic, exciting, and challenging experiences of my life. I recommend this program for anyone who’s not afraid to live a bit outside their comfort zone and who wants to experience art, history, and culture in spades.
Even though I’m not a city person, I find that I’m delighted by the variety of things to do here. I can stroll through city’s public gardens; visit any of the tens of fascinating museums stationed around the city (FOR FREE!); I can hop on the metro and see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, Notre Dame, and the Seine all within a matter of hours; and most importantly, shopping for anything is extremely convenient in such a compact, urban environment. The experience has appealed to me on a number of levels, especially the constant exposure to the language (don’t believe the stereotype that French people are rude — everyone I’ve met has been very understanding when I try to speak), the delicious cuisine, and all the different cathedrals I’ve had fun exploring. Living here is a blast!
A word of caution, though: study abroad is not a nonstop party. In my case, I am taking the equivalent of 20 credits, and my classes begin at 10am Monday and last until 5:30pm Friday, which means there’s not a ton of time for travel. It can also get discouraging when you’re struggling to learn a foreign language, and you’re surrounded by people who have been speaking better than you since they were 5 years old. But it’s all about perspective; you’ve just got to enjoy the ride, and stay focused without putting unrealistic pressure on yourself. If you go in with the right attitude, I promise that you’ll have the time of your life!
Study Abroad Location: China
Program: SUNY Albany
I’m Bethany Hyland, I’m a junior Spanish major/German minor, in the Edgar Fellows Program and I studied abroad in China for about 8 months, from May 2012 to January 2013. I did a summer program, which was in the southern city of Chengdu, and a semester program in Beijing, both through SUNY Albany.
China is amazing. China is amazing! In the West we hear a lot about Chinese economy and policies and government hoopla but no one ever talks about how genuinely friendly, helpful, and open the Chinese people are or how amazing REAL Chinese food tastes or how at first climbing the Great Wall feels like you’re doing the first three days of P90X all at the same time but when you get to a lookout point you feel like a real 好汉haohan : a brave man (or woman in my case), a true hero!
That kind of valuable information doesn’t get passed around in the spotlight very often which is sad because there is this whole wonderful, hospitable, (inexpensive), tea-loving, culturally intricate and diverse country on the other side of the world. Most things not having to do with pollution or political scandals are simply left out of most discussions about a country with the world’s largest population.
I loved my time in China. I can’t wait to go back. I want to bring all the people I know with me and gesticulate wildly and yell “LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS” in everyone’s face and feed them 担担面dandanmian and 奶茶naicha until everyone agrees it’s better to never leave ever. It is unlikely that this event will ever take place, just as it is unlikely that everyone who wants to study abroad should actually go to China, although I like the idea of that very much.
China is very different from the United States, or anywhere.Your experience in China will be very different from an experience you would have studying abroad in Europe or New Zealand or Australia, the most popular study abroad destinations. Not better or worse, just different. The country is still developing which means it does not fit in the “first world” classification. Accordingly, there many situations and happenings you might encounter in China that are absolutely nothing like anything you have encountered before or would ever find in the West. Sometimes, like anything that is unfamiliar or foreign, that can be very uncomfortable.
But if you’re up for it, if ‘uncomfortable’ doesn’t intimidate you, and the prospect of “very different” excites you, maybe you should come to China. 不见不散！
Major: International Relations
Study Abroad Location: Belgium
Program: SUNY New Paltz
I went abroad this past fall (Fall 2012) to Brussels, Belgium through a SUNY New Paltz program. I had always known that I wanted to study abroad, and a diverse availability of programs was an important factor when I was applying for colleges. Fortunately, as part of the SUNY network, students from Geneseo can apply to all SUNY campus programs, giving you options on all seven continents (seriously, Albany has an Antarctica program). Study abroad was the greatest thing I have ever done. I was able to travel to ten different countries and visit 15 cities in the course of 16 weeks – not many people can say that. While abroad, I travelled, studied, and secured an internship with the European Youth Forum, an advocacy and lobbying group representing over a million European youth’s interests in European institutions. I will never forget my experiences abroad, and they had reaffirmed my desire to work and travel abroad. My advice if you want to study abroad? Start saving now for your dream trips. They’re even better than you imagine.
Majors: English and Physics
Study Abroad Locations: Ireland and Concord, MA
Programs: SUNY Geneseo
The summer of 2011 following my freshman year at Geneseo, I studied the poetry of W.B. Yeats in his home town of Sligo, Ireland. For three weeks, seventeen other students and I traveled with Drs. Rob Doggett and Caroline Woidat of the English department to different parts of Ireland. While we also traveled to Dublin, Galway, Doolin, and the Aran Islands, our home base was Sligo and the Yeats Society’s 52nd annual International Summer School. Besides sightseeing and beer drinking, attending daily lectures, and hearing poetry readings and live music in Sligo’s pubs, each of us participated in two one-week graduate level seminars focusing on volumes, periods, or topics of Yeats’s work. While it was somewhat intimidating to a college freshman in such a small seminar (mine was five people) of graduate students and college faculty, I soon found that I was able to hold my own in the interpretation of Yeats’s poetry because of my coursework at Geneseo. Geneseo provided me with both the opportunity and the confidence to be a part of conversation in the academic community beyond it.
I again had the chance to engage with a greater academic community when I took Western Humanities II in Concord, Massachusetts with Wes Kennison and seven other students in the summer of 2012. As an intellectual and political center both at the time of the Enlightenment and for later thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Concord (and Walden Pond) provided a perfect backdrop for studying the beginnings of our country, Thoreau’s Walden, and the rest of the second part of our Humanities curriculum. Actually being in Concord, where the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired, we were better able to compare the representations of Concord, and its past, to the “real” thing (and in turn see that the real thing is somewhat of a representation itself).
But back to the conversation of intellectual communities in the present day. Wes Kennison, the seven other students, and I were in Concord during the Thoreau Society conference, and two of the students on the trip were able to intern at the Thoreau Society archives. Meanwhile, there was the farm that was Thoreau’s birthplace and all the people associated with that organization. We quickly noticed that both societies had different ideas of what it meant to study, and to take after, Thoreau’s tradition. Geneseo, too, has a connection to Concord with its own significance; all of this was in the shade of the tradition of Walter Harding, a now deceased Geneseo professor who was one of the most notable Thoreau scholars of the twentieth century. One of our essay assignments for the course was to respond to a paper presented at the conference, and from that assignment stemmed a paper connecting scientific and literary theory to talk about the “evolution” of these different interpretive communities; I’ve since been able to present this paper both at another conference and back at Geneseo.
Which reminds me, this connecting of the science and the humanities I something that I do pretty often–I’m a double major in English Literature and Physics here at Geneseo. With the requirements of two degrees, I never expected to be able to study abroad. But the study abroad and away programs in the summer were able to provide me with this experience without spending an entire semester away from Geneseo. Plus, studying in Ireland counted towards my English degree and the Concord course was a major part of our Gen-Ed curriculum. You’ll be able to do things as a Geneseo student that may not have initially fit into the plans you had for your course of study, and they will affect it in ways that you did not ever anticipate.
So there you have it. If Geneseo’s programs don’t fit your needs, you can check out the ones at ANY OTHER SUNY SCHOOL! How awesome is that? And if none of those are quite what you need, there are plenty of other options – I’m abroad as part of the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics programs. The Study Abroad office is a great resource to help you find your way abroad. If you have questions, for me or any of the people featured, just send me an email, email@example.com
(Special Thanks to Greg, Katie, Bethany, and Christine)