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Student Experiences

Read more about School of Education's students experiences around the world! If you went abroad and would like to share photos and stories to encourage more SOE students to go abroad, please email suschoolofed@syr.edu.

Sara Morey - Switzerland

Sara Morey in FlorenceSarah Morey on a rooftop in StrausburgSara Morey on a beach

Major: Music Education
College: School of Education & VPA

I studied abroad in Strasbourg, France. While I was there, I studied Vocal Performance at the Conservatoire Nationale de Strasbourg. (I also studied at the SU Center.) At the conservatory I learned a lot about the art of performance and the history of music, and the impact that this history currently has on music. While I was in Strasbourg, I also got the once in a lifetime experience of performing in the choir of the Strasbourg Philharmonic National Orchestra. This experience taught me a lot about the function of American music in Europe (we performed an American piece) as well as how to work as a professional in a musical orchestra that was not affiliated with a school.

While I was abroad I traveled to some other countries on both my own time and with SU. These countries were Spain, Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, and Italy. Traveling alone like that with just another friend taught me how to take care of myself for real, not just being 8 hours away from home. I also learned how to live my life. That sounds rather cliché, however it is very true. I learned to take opportunities when they are given to me, and not to waste them. I learned to actually live my life and experience new things.

If a student is considering going abroad, I would tell them to do it in a heartbeat. It is honestly the best decision I have made by far in my undergrad career.

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Shelly Levy - London

Shelly Levy skipping a rock on a mountain lakeShelly Levy posing with friends in modern art.Shelly Levy on a camel

Major: Inclusive Early Childhood & Special Education
College: School of Education '13

I went abroad to London during the Spring semester of 2012. London is multi-cultural city with communities from all of the world living in its walls. Many of the concepts talked about in education courses about cultural diversity became more meaningful when I was living in London.

Many people think that going abroad as an education student is hard or isn’t worth it. I learned so much by being abroad and being thrown into non-English speaking countries as a traveled.

Being in non-English speaking countries put me in the shoes of students who come from a different country and do not speak our language in the schools. It was extremely eye opening and even though it is difficult to fit into our rigid schedule, it was worth it. It is an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. If I had to give anyone in the School of Education advice, it would be to go abroad and travel as much as possible.

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Melanie Lustig - London

Melanie Lustig on the London Eye with other Inclusive Education studentsMelanie Lustig and a friend in LondonMelanie and three friends pose in front of Big Ben

Studying in London has influenced my life in ways that can hardly be described in words. I was able to participate in a whole range of experiences that changed me for the better. I am an Inclusive Elementary and Special Education major, but as a drama minor, I took two drama classes that both required seeing productions everywhere, including the famous West End. I saw something like 33 theatrical performances in 12 weeks, including a live performance at Shakespeare’s Globe. I was completely immersed in courses that ranged from the arts to a global perspectives course that encouraged me to look at America and its history in a whole new way. One of the most memorable aspects of my time in London was a museums class that made me question art restoration, curators’ choices, and the meaning of special exhibitions. This class involved a short weekly trip to museums throughout London to enhance our discussions. After the class, my close friend (whom I met on the trip) and I would explore the whole museum-- absorbing everything from paintings from Monet and Renoir to artifacts such as The Rosetta Stone or pieces of the Parthenon. This was a time in my life when I was able to take classes that had me excited in a whole new way. Because they were alongside a cultural experience, I gained a strong sense of independence and self-awareness as well as newfound curiosities for a whole range of topics. Also, many students travel around Europe on the weekends and during time off from class. Over my Fall Break, I had the opportunity to travel to Florence, Italy where I sampled real Italian pizza, visited Michelangelo’s David, and filled myself with homemade gelato.

What I would tell a student interested in Study Abroad is to DO IT! It will change the way you think about the world, you will discover newfound self confidence, and you gain unforgettable relationships with people that will forever be a part of this memory. Study Abroad allows you the opportunity to explore another part of the world with no strings attached - believe me, your studies are half of the fun. And once you are filled with knowledge, you come back to America with so much to share. Just imagine how you can influence your classroom with such a breadth of experiences one day. Believe me, it is worth every second.

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Ananda Singh - Trinidad and Tobago

Major: Inclusive Early Childhood Special Education, M.S.
College: School of Education

I spent my short-term study abroad trip on the beautiful Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. While there the group of us visited a variety of programs, schools, an orphanage and community centers of varying socioeconomic statuses in various areas of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

The amount of knowledge I have gained cannot be measured. The vastness of what I was exposed to on my trip was life-changing. First and foremost, my immersion in my native West Indian culture connected me to an identity I did not realize I had. I have come away from this trip with great pride in my heritage and ability to connect with members of the communities in which we visited. Specifically in the Child and Family studies portion of the trip - visiting the orphanage in south Trinidad, the UWI Family Development and Children’s Research Centre, and the Bucco Bay Community Center in Tobago further connected me to my research interests of observing young children in Caribbean communities. I felt and continue to feel a great sense of appreciation for my interests in early childhood special education, as well as advocacy for young children; and furthermore, possible research in this subject in such communities.

While at the University of West Indies campus, seeing another culture’s college demographic was very eye-opening - from the way the students dress to class, the way classes are taught, extracurricular activities, and so on. We found many of the facets of their interests in studying to be unlike anything we’ve been exposed to before and it was even more interesting to speak with students and professors who we could openly compare our patterns of learning, studies of child and family studies, and so much more.

Everyone on our trip valued the culture, foods, people, and so much more of what Trinidad and Tobago had to offer to us. For just about everyone in the group, they had never been immersed in a West Indian culture and we all came to love it and embrace it, very openly which is a beautiful part of being in another culture that is completely outside of your comfort zone.

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