The Benefits Of A More “Obscure” Study Abroad Site

Like it or not, study abroad is a major factor in bringing about NYU’s prominence in the academic world.  A lot of college students dream of traveling the globe, viewing the opportunity to study around the planet as an integral part of not only the college education but also the college experience. Who doesn’t want memories of taking a late night stroll along the Seine, or riding the top level of a red double-decker bus in London, or basking in the Spanish sun sitting at a café in Madrid? (There actually are some of you.)

These cities are probably all places that instantly come to mind when you think of taking your studies internationally. But NYU, being the Global Network that it is, has site offerings scattered in some not so typical spots. Accra? Tel Aviv (provided there’s no evacuation)? Sydney? DC? The thought of living at these sites for a semester or two often doesn’t appeal to the masses of students. But there are a few reasons why going to that hidden away city may actually be a better option (and experience) for you.

Applying to one of the more obscure NYU sites abroad could be considerably less competitive. In the past couple of years, getting into programs such as London or Paris has been difficult due to the sheer number of applicants. Slots fill up, and subsequently, some students’ hopes and dreams get crushed.  This isn’t an issue in places like Accra and Buenos Aires. Often times, all of the spaces aren’t even filled.

“Accra has a capacity of 45 students and in the fall of 2012, only around 17 went,” said Global Ambassador Natalia Radia, a senior in Gallatin. “In Buenos Aires at that time, which has a capacity of 200 students, only around 50 or 60 were enrolled,” she continued. Natalie had her own path-changing experiences while studying away at Buenos Aires. She points out that having lower numbers allows staff abroad to really focus their attention on the students as individuals, in both classes and residential life. “Having a smaller community allows you to bond with your peers and look after each other, which isn’t something you can get in a larger city, like NYU London or Paris,” she said.

Natalie makes a valid point. In cities like London, Paris or Berlin the allotted spaces are bound to fill up. The community may feel just like New York: more crowded and impersonal. So if you’re looking to escape NYU, small could be the way to go. “It’s easier to escape the NYU bubble and experience the culture around you,” said CAS senior Dom Bouavichith.  But also keep in mind that with “smaller cities like these, you’re going to have to adjust a bit rather than staying in the American mentality.”  Yet, there is also a chance that you will get sick of your peers, since there are fewer of them and few places to avoid them.

While these are compelling reasons to take your education to a smaller corner of the world, it’s always good to reserve some caution. Some smaller programs, like Sydney, are newer and less established, so working out glitches along the way is almost certain.  While a replay of the Tisch Asia saga is highly unlikely, never say never. And in the past, scary and dangerous events have taken place in Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires.

But in the end, don’t let these unlikely circumstances dissuade you from an adventure of a lifetime. After all, isn’t college supposed to be about experimenting and broadening your horizons? Go out and see the world, y’all. It’s waiting for you.

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  1. Trevor Goddard says

    EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) 2013 most livable cities – SYDNEY ranked 7 and NY 56
    Monocle’s Most Livable Cities Index 2013 – SYDNEY ranked 9 and NY outside top 25
    QS Best student city ranking 2013 – SYDNEY ranked 7 and NY 18
    Times Higher Ed ranking 2013 – Uni SYDNEY ranked 62 and NYU 41
    ARWU rankings 2013 – Uni SYDNEY ranked 97 and NYU 27

    Sydney – ‘not so typical’ but a world class Australian education and life experience

  2. says

    @Trevor Sydney is of course a world class city, along with the other places listed within the post. But at NYU, Sydney is a small and new study abroad program. Samantha is not trying to derail Sydney. Quite the opposite in fact. She is encouraging students to consider the smaller NYU sites, such as Sydney, for their study abroad experience.

  3. Trevor Goddard says

    Agreed (and thank you). Great to see NYU students spreading their wings and congratulations for promoting Australia. Its always fascinating to see how we are all perceived from ‘the other side so to speak, it makes us reflect on our own impression of ourselves. At times we (Australia) are stuck with the “sun sand and surf image”, which while true, often hides the magnificent value of our world class education system. So we welcome NYU one and all, love to see you ‘down under’.