Curious About Going Abroad?
Talk to someone who was there!
Albany International Representatives (AIRS) are returned education abroad students, who have volunteered their time to advise students and promote education abroad. These students are great sources of information what it is like to live and study in your host country as a student. You will find the AIRS at education abroad events around campus, in your dormitories, and at student orientation events.
Speak with an Air
We hope that hearing the voices of our alumni will inspire you to embark upon your own experience abroad! To be put in touch with an AIR, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine and I didn’t want to be one of the 9 out of 10 students that regretted not learning in a different culture. I definitely would not have gone through with the application process if it wasn’t for my mother’s persistence and desire to give me what she never had. If you are on the fence about going abroad, my best advice is to take that leap of faith and go for it, you really never know if you will ever have this opportunity again. When I was in Australia, it was undoubtedly the best 5 months of my life. The people are so nice and welcoming, the professors are qualified and helpful and I don’t think I saw one unattractive dog when I was there. The reason I chose Australia was because it was a trip of a lifetime across the world. The beaches and hikes are gorgeous, but I quickly realized that they have so much more to offer than their nature. Their laid back culture, tan people and strict pedestrian laws are three things that will stick with me forever. Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have made in my college career and I would go back in a heartbeat to see all the friends I left behind.
This program really solidified my niche in teaching due to it being a rigorous two-week experience that was solely catered to building educational content and relationships with the Belizean learners. Due to those study abroad programs, I landed a summer teaching job in Troy, NY and a post-grad job offer even before I’ve graduated. My experiences abroad allowed me to take my own unique route in undergrad. While I’m not an Education major, and I still remain in the Journalism program, I was able to do the profession I love by engaging in study abroad.
The idea of immersing yourself into a diverse culture that speaks a different language can be intimidating, but taking advantage of the opportunity can have an incredible influence on your life. I studied in Viña del Mar, Chile while working at two internships in the city. There was very little English spoken around town and in my internships, but the classes I took in Chile really prepared me for everyday life and communicating in general. My level of Spanish proficiency definitely accelerated because of the chances I took, and going out of my comfort zone. The city is a beautiful beach town that has plenty to offer. I took advantage of the diverse Chilean landscapes from surfing in the ocean one day to hiking in the Andes Mountains the next. The school offered cultural events such as cooking classes and dancing lessons. The homestay was the most beneficial part of the program for me because I lived with an incredible family that took me in, and really welcomed me into their family. The people I met and the relationships I made in Viña del Mar make me eager to return as soon as possible.
Studying abroad has helped me a lot because it allows me to directly participate in and experience globalization. I was originally an international student from mainland China. Although Hong Kong and the mainland are a country, but they have completely different political systems. The reason why I chose to go to Hong Kong is because I want to understand the culture of Hong Kong. What is more important is to feel different teaching modes and cultural models at HONG KONG? After a whole year of exchange study, I believe that I have gained a deeper understanding of the teaching model of the universities Hong Kong and the lifestyle of Hong Kong. In my current university stage, I have deeply felt three completely different models (China, USA, Hong Kong, China). This makes my university life more colorful, and also makes me more memorable about university life.
During the summer of 2019 I studied Chinese in a language intensive program in Guilin, China. I lived in Guilin for 6 weeks while attending the Chinese Language Institute (CLI) through SUNY New Paltz’s program. At first I decided to study abroad so I could take Chinese classes during the summer to lighten my class load. I was very on the fencing about going at first because I found going abroad alone for a month and a half terrifying. However, now I miss Guilin everyday and would go back in a heartbeat.
I would encourage everyone who is on the fence about going abroad to take the leap and go. Not only was I able to improve my language skill, I also made life long friends and had great fun traveling around China. At the CLI all classes are one-on-one which made the classes very flexible and personalizable. The classes were great to further my academic understanding of Chinese but being able to live in China greatly improved my colloquial knowledge of the language. Having one-on-one classes also allowed me to definitely solidify my understanding of each lesson before moving on which is not always possible with a full class at UAlbany. I will always miss Guilin and would highly encourage any student to find time and go abroad.
Truth be told, I was very hesitant on studying abroad. I almost didn’t send in the application and then even after that I wasn’t 100% sure on if I wanted to follow through with it. I am SO glad that I pushed myself to go. Going to Denmark was the greatest decision I have ever made. I think that the biggest factor in making me follow through with the application was how incredible and unique the experience was going to be and how I would regret not following through with it in the future.
My time abroad has helped me grow as a person in major ways. Through my time abroad I learned to become more independent, as well as just how different culture really is. I knew that not everyone lived like we do in the U.S., but experiencing it is an incredible and eye-opening experience. I enjoyed the academic as well as the social aspects of my time abroad. Being able to experience a different way of learning was pretty amazing. I had gotten so used to the way of learning in my Albany classes that being able to experience something different has opened my eyes to the many possibilities of how to learn and look at academic papers. The education system in Denmark is much more informal but, although it was very hard to get used to at first, I think that is was a very incredible experience. I wouldn’t change my experience abroad for anything and am so grateful for the opportunity to go that I got through Albany.
After my very first day studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, I knew it was going to be a memorable and rewarding experience. I can now say that it completely exceeded my expectations. The few weeks I spent abroad added great value to my undergraduate experience and expanded the areas of study I am interested in. As a Biochemistry major on a heavy set of science based courses, studying abroad allowed me to take a refreshing course outside of my comfort zone. Now I feel deeply connected to a new culture, a new group of students, and especially to myself. I can say with confidence that my time abroad changed me as a person, making me more confident and excited about life. I would recommend to any student that is hesitant about studying abroad to absolutely do it! There is no better was to learn about a new culture than to be completely immersed in it. And there is no better way to experience personal growth than to be outside your comfort zone. I am so appreciative to UAlbany for helping my study abroad dreams come to fruition.
I chose to participate in a study abroad program to expand my knowledge base. I felt like I was lacking the knowledge on how to apply the theories and techniques I was learning in the classroom to real-world scenarios. This was normally down to lack of time to cover more than the theories during the semester. When I made the decision to study abroad there was a shortlist of where I would like to study and Germany was at the top. When I began my research I was introduced to the UAS7 program by one of the study-abroad advisors at UAlbany. The schools within the UAS7 program instantly grabbed my attention because they offered practical work-based classes for things I’d only been learning about in theory at UAlbany. Out of the seven universities within the program, Hamburg was the one that catered to my field of study best.
Overall my time in Hamburg taught me to expect the unexpected, and how to cope with problems when I didn’t have a direct support system. Beyond getting the flu my first week, I had to go through the traumatizing experience of my fiance getting into a car wreck while I was in Germany. It shook me to the core because, for the first time in years, I wasn’t able to be there for him. It actually had me second-guessing my entire trip to Hamburg for several days. One of my flatmates was a complete angel though and sat with me while I waited for news. It was a harrowing experience but I do feel that I walked away stronger for it. It was a lesson in patience and not always being in control that I had never experienced before. These are lessons and skills that you can’t learn without going out of your comfort zone. I can’ recommend going abroad enough if only because the experience will teach you how to handle different life experiences then you may be used to.
Studying abroad made me go beyond my comfort zone. This was my first time overseas and I am so glad I did it. Of course, I was scared to travel and go to a developing country, but I am so grateful I had this amazing opportunity. Participating in this program has made me realize that going out of your comfort zone is intimidating, but is worth it in the end. I think it’s important for students to study abroad because it is important to discover new cultures and ways of life. More importantly, studying abroad boosts your resume for potential employers. Program Coordinator, Jay Stokes influenced me to study abroad because I will stand out from others who are applying for the same job as me. My favorite activity while studying abroad was spending time with the children at Vedike Global School in Bangalore, India, playing educational games and dancing with them. I really enjoyed having such a positive impact on all of them. That is something I will treasure for a lifetime.
I left my time abroad with great memories, friends across the Atlantic Ocean, and a newfound confidence in myself. This momentous life experience gave me an immersive cultural experience that cannot be compared to tourism. Through the immersion came inevitable adaptation to the new environment, which helped me to become more confident in unfamiliar spaces here at home. In a room full of people, I no longer feel uncomfortable being the first one to start a conversation or speak to new people. Becoming enriched in a foreign culture firsthand opened my mind to various customs that I would not have seen in America. Seeing these differences reminded me that each country has their own separate pasts, beliefs, and values that should not be undermined simply because they do not match my own.
Studying abroad in Galway, Ireland exposed me to a new form of education that vastly differed from America’s teaching system. Attending a European college allowed me see how student life differs based on class times and sizes, amount of work assigned, and courses that are offered. As a History major, studying abroad was extremely beneficial as I was able to learn history outside of the American perspective. Being opened up to Irish history and having a closer look at European history gave me a wealth of information that I most likely would not learn here in America.
My favorite activity to do abroad was walk in the town center, Eyre Square. Being in the Square was always a surreal experience, no matter how many times I went back each week. It was a small piece of everyday activity for native Galway people, but for me it was a lens into their lives. It was first an unfamiliar place, but it began to feel more like home as I went back each week with my newfound Irish friends and as I became increasingly immersed into the culture of Galway, Ireland.
I had always wanted to study abroad, ever since high school when I was looking at colleges, the school I picked had to have a study abroad program. When I picked my study abroad program, I chose Ireland because I had been there before. I liked the country immensely and wanted to go back. Studying abroad there was a fantastic opportunity that I would regret not taking, so I selected Achill Field School and was the second person from U Albany to attend. Because I chose an archaeological field school, it allowed me to learn invaluable skills in archaeology which, regardless of which sub-section of archaeology I choose to pursue, I will have those skills to use toward any research I take part in. I also learned about different world perspectives and ideas from meeting people from different cultures.
The group at the field school was small, all girls, mostly from the United States and a few from other countries. None of us were from the same university, so it allowed us to compare and contrast different regional ideas and policies. We were led by our field director who conducted our lectures, field trips, and managed us on site. He was very helpful and knowledgeable on the topics and made sure we learned the material. I enjoyed traveling during our field trips, my favorite was the day when we went to some local castles and ruins. I also enjoyed my weekend trip to Galway; however, there were so many experience it’s difficult to rank them all. Ireland is beautiful, although it rained a great deal, the landscape is beautiful. The rural environment on Achill Island is great to get away from the hecticness of city life. If someone asked me why they should study abroad, I would tell them to go because it provides a deeper world perspective, allows you to see the world, and try new things.
I always knew I wanted to study abroad, especially after hosting several exchange students in high school. I looked thorough the SUNY programs and decided to spend a semester in Florence, Italy, because I wanted to learn Italian and I had never been before. During my time abroad, I spent hours walking around Florence, meeting new people, and traveling. I learned how to navigate the city and fell in love with Italian culture. Study abroad opened me up to new places, people, and opportunities that have changed my life. To anyone who is considering study abroad, just do it! You won’t regret it.
My study abroad experience has changed my life. Education abroad is an opportunity to expand your perspective in a different environment. I was able to develop as a person and as a professional. This is a unique opportunity will set you apart in the professional world. The courses I took in Florence, Italy, really pushed me to observe and embrace the people and culture around me. Unlike the courses I have taken at UAlbany, I was able to connect with the culture around me and connect it to the material. The courses were much more interactive. My study abroad experience has changed my life for the better, I recommend everyone to take the risk because it is worth the reward!
The final push on following through with my application has to be when I naturalized to become an American citizen. Knowing that I could finally explore Europe without having an visa barriers is what I needed to be able to begin my adventures abroad. Through aperitivos I got to meet my travel buddies for a lifetime, receiving countless opportunities to get lost in the many piazzas Italy has to offer. I got to try new things that I have only ever dream of doing, such as learning how to crank out pasta from scratch and riding in a gondala in the canals of Venice. Through the Erasmus Student Network and Cattolica I was able to go on various trips to other cities such as Verona and Turin, as well as tours throughout Milan to get a better understanding of Italian culture.
I chose to study abroad in Japan because I really love the Japanese Culture. I chose to study abroad because I believe that there’s a world out there that we don’t know. I wanted to know how life is like as a college student outside of the United States. This program really changed the way I look at things now. I am more open about different peoples’ culture and background than I was before. Once I became a outsider in Japan, I realized how difficult it is to adapt to new environment. It’s because of this that I would want people to study abroad. It’s also a chance to explore a country, do things out of your comfort zone, and experience an education life internationally.
My favorite activity while studying abroad was actually wearing a kimono because I was having a hands on experience with the culture, which is something that I can’t normally do. Most of my favorites experiences in Japan have been the ones where I was a part of the culture. To someone who is on the fence of studying abroad like I was, you can always explore the world, but there are barely any opportunities to be a college student in another country.
I decided to study abroad in Japan because one day I aspire to become a translator. Not only that but my grandmother was born in Japan and I wanted to connect with those roots. Studying abroad was probably the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve learned so much about myself and I’ve grown as a person. I got to interact with so many other cultures, not just Japanese culture, and I learned how to better communicate with those of differing backgrounds. I’ve become more independent and I’ve learned how to face difficulties head on. If you’re on the fence about studying abroad, I think it’s best to ask yourself, “If I don’t do this, will I regret it?” If that answer is yes you will then, you should just do it!
My time studying abroad was absolutely amazing. My goals before I went to Japan was to make many friends, see parts of Japan that were very famous and not famous at all, practice Japanese, and try new things. While I was there, I was able to try the most amazing food in my life, many of which I’d never had before, and I was able to experience living in a ginormous city and practice my Japanese everywhere I went. Right away I was able to make friends from all over the world as most international students lived in the same dorm, and I joined the ultimate frisbee club. Joining the frisbee club allowed me to go to areas of Japan that not common, it also gave me a great way to practice my Japanese both with my team and the other schools.
My experience abroad, has helped me prepare for the future, because I was able to further my interest in Japanese studies, and language. I think it allowed me to find a confidence to talk to people, and or put myself in a situation that I know I will need to speak Japanese to get around. I also did a lot of navigating through the biggest city in the world, sometimes with no WIFI, and no way of asking for help in English. Theses reasons I think are important, as it was very easy to get away with only speaking English in Japan or avoid areas that don’t have English presence. I know many people who barely practiced Japanese out of class or studying. I was also able to pick up good direction skills, or I wouldn’t have been able to get around sometimes.
The people I met and the new culture I got to experience all around is my number one reason to go abroad. I think it’s very important for people to experience somewhere different than the United States. It adds to character and allows for more put together interactions to new cultures, and or people in the future. Truly, new people and new friends came out of places that I didn’t think would ever happen in my life.
My last reason I would suggest going abroad is a new way of being taught at college. I thought the classes were fun, and well taught; the teachers also brought a lot of life into the class, as well as the students. It was really awesome as each student was from somewhere I had never been in the world, and we would eventually go on to describe where we were from in Japanese. Also, every student had to know English, so we were able to speak a lot after class. Overall every aspect of my study abroad was great both in and out of the classroom, and in and out of campus!
During my time in community college and at the University at Albany, I have participated in several programs abroad. My initial program was a summer semester in Paris where I learned about French Grammar and Global Society. I then visited central America to participate in a service-learning program in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 2018 brought me to Israel, where I learned about all aspects of Israeli culture, government, and military in a summer excursion. Finally, in Morocco, I took courses relating to language, globalization, and North African studies.
Foreign exposure introduces us to new thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and interests. As students, we must value the exposure to new cultures and societies and seek different experiences to shape our overall perspective. I think my biggest takeaway is self-advocacy and privilege. Studying abroad has opened my eyes to new horizons, allowing me to look at the world differently. One of my favorite moments was visiting the Sahara Desert. It was a place that I grew up hearing about. I saw numerous pictures but I never imagined I would be able to see the desert in person. It was astonishing to be standing in a deserted, dry, wasteland; yet simultaneously it was peaceful and stunning. After spending a significant amount of time in a new place, you grow to appreciate the deep history and culture.
My two times abroad have shaped my college experience because they ultimately changed the path I wanted to take once I graduated. Prior to studying abroad my sophomore year I had figured that I would land a job in the journalism field and that would be my lifelong career. Once I went to Cape Town, South Africa and taught middle school English, everything began to make more sense and I realized that education was my real calling. Upon returning to UAlbany, I got more involved in organizations that fit my new goal of education and I started thinking about my post-grad options differently.
South Africa had such an amazing effect on me that I went on to study abroad again, this time in San Ignacio, Belize on the Cross-Cultural Exploration of Teaching and Learning program. This program really solidified my niche in teaching due to it being a rigorous two-week experience that was solely catered to building educational content and relationships with the Belizean learners. Due to those study abroad programs, I landed a summer teaching job in Troy, NY and a post-grad job offer even before I’ve graduated. My experiences abroad allowed me to take my own unique route in undergrad. While I’m not an Education major, and I still remain in the Journalism program, I was able to do the profession I love by engaging in study abroad.
For my spring semester junior year, I spent a semester in Madrid, Spain through the UAlbany in Madrid program. While I was there I lived with a host family, took two classes, and had an internship at an organization called INCIPE. Studying abroad for me was something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was applying to colleges in high school one of the main things I looked into was their study abroad programs. I liked how Albany has their own programs, but also being a SUNY student you are able to apply to study abroad programs throughout the entire SUNY system, which I thought was not like any other school. I wanted to have options, and make sure that I picked the right program and the Study Abroad office helped me do that.
Spanish is one of my minors and I’ve been taking Spanish courses since middle school. The language always came easy to me and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to really learn the language unless I lived in an environment where I could use it as much as I can. That’s why I decided to apply to the UAlbany in Madrid program, because the options of allowing me to take classes, have an internship, live with a host family and be able to practice using Spanish for an entire semester. It was something I couldn’t pass up.
While I was there I was introduced to so many new people not only from UAlbany, but the people I lived with, my professors, the employees at my internship that I would’ve never have met without going. This program not only broadened my perspectives that there is more beyond my small town home in Long Island, but gave me insight on what type of career I want to have when I graduate college. My study abroad friends are people that I will be friends with forever and we are already planning trips to go back to Europe! Without the support from my family and friends I wouldn’t have been able to live on my own in another country for an entire semester. If you are hesitant about going abroad my biggest advice would be find the right program for you and just go for it!
Studying abroad in Madrid is an experience I will never forget. I’m glad that I was motivated by people around me to get out of my comfort zone and do something that not many get the chance to do. More students should participate in study abroad programs because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is an experience that you can’t get in a regular classroom, this forces you to become more open minded to the world around you. Whether it be to actually go to school in another country or if it’s just for volunteering, I would recommend any student to take the opportunity and go. It might seem frightening at first to be away from your family and to live in a new country for some time, but once you’re there, all those negative thoughts are forgotten, and you just enjoy every minute of your time abroad. While I was abroad, my favorite activity had to be getting the chance to go to different cities in Spain and throughout Europe. I visited so many places in a span of four months, that I never thought I would be able to do. This program made it all possible.
I chose to study abroad because I felt like I needed someway to add excitement and more meaning to my education here at University at Albany, for my academics and for myself. I had heard many exciting stories from friends and acquaintances about their experiences and how much going abroad opened them up to different cultures, and a a new way of thought of how life could be. I also felt that in being immersed in a culture where they spoke Spanish it would feel a little like home, but still with the benefits of learning new words and attributes to the Spanish language.
I always figured that studying abroad was expensive, so I thought I couldn’t financially support it or even support the idea. I was very wrong! I actually spent less money studying abroad than staying another semester at UAlbany, which my parents loved. I was able to get a scholarship that the study abroad office offered and that helped me tremendously, as well as financial aid. With those funds the majority of my experience was paid for. As for the rest, my parents and I worked hard before sending me off to pay for the remaining cost of the program, so the rest of my expenses would only be spending money. One challenge I faced was budgeting because their were so many activities, trips, and other adventures I wanted to do with my new friends. To keep my budget manageable, I decided to participate in the activities that I planned before I arrived and not what my new friends wanted to do. That way I was able to enjoy my time abroad and also save money.
When I was going to college, one of the things I was most looking forward to doing was studying abroad. I always had the feeling that sitting in a classroom and learning through a screen was limiting me. If I could see what I was learning about, I knew I could take conceptualizing and visualizing to a whole new level. At first I was intimidating by studying abroad, I didn’t know where to start or if I could survive alone in a country I’ve never been to. To solve this problem, I learned about Faculty-Led study abroad programs. By going on a Faculty-Led study abroad program I never had to worry about organizing housing or weekend trips or meals or really anything, everything was set up by the professor. All I had to do was pay the program fees, find a flight and make sure I got to the flight on time and everything else was set. By a large margin, studying abroad has been the best choice I ever made. I’ve loved it so much I actually ended up studying abroad 4 times so far in my collegiate career (possibly another time in the Spring or Summer.) I have met some of my closest friends through these programs, some from UAlbany, others that live all around the world. Study abroad has helped formed the person I am and want to become.
I also attended the following programs:
- Netherlands: (Faculty Led) Leading with Cultural Intelligence
- Scotland: (Faculty Led) Leading with Cultural Intelligence
I had an amazing time while during my semester abroad at Regents University in London. Not only did I enjoy being in a wonderful school in one of the best cities in the world, but I also enjoyed the classes I took. I would say that my favorite activity while abroad was being able to visit many of the different cities in Europe; which I was able to do because of my proximity. While studying in London I visited Paris, Barcelona and Milan, as well as other parts of England such as Stonehenge, all of which were experiences I will always cherish in my memory. While in London, I opted to take acting classes in addition to the classes pertaining to my major of political science. I would never have taken acting classes while at Albany. but when I was in London I decided to give it a shot and I am very glad I did. I enjoyed being able to express myself in the acting classes without the stress of normal classes. To those students who have still not made up their mind about a semester abroad I would say that they should give it a shot. I don’t think I’ll get another opportunity to have such a great time while still young, so you should take the chance to go. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.