The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

81° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

Across the World Abroad

Studying abroad in college can be the first chance one has to be immersed in a foreign culture. Stony Brook University offers a variety of diverse summer study abroad programs, which tend to go unnoticed. The summer study abroad ‘semester’ is one month long, and students can choose from 11 countries such as China, South Korea, Madagascar, Russia, England, France, Spain, Italy, Tanzania, Japan and East-Central Europe.

The summer program provides students with the opportunity to learn a foreign language while exploring rich histories and ancient cultures. They appeal to many Stony Brook students because they are less expensive and require less time away from the main campus than exchanges. Spending an entire semester in a foreign country raises concerns about delay of graduation, because most study abroad classes fulfill only DEC requirements rather than major requirements, but for students with such concerns, summer study abroad is a better option. New additions to the summer programs, such as Poland, Berlin and Prague make them an even more desirable choice.

‘This year 25 more students participated in our summer programs than last year,’ said William Arens, dean of International Academic Programs. The programs are well-organized and faculty-led journeys. In four weeks students receive about 90 hours of class time, either in a classroom setting or on excursions to cities and museums. Students are taken out of their comfort zones and get first-hand experiences with different foreign cultures.

In Japan, students learned that respect for elders is taken seriously. In youth-obsessed America, asking someone’s age is generally frowned upon. In Japan, however, it is considered a sign of respect because it allows a person to know how to address and how to interact with someone else. Bowing is another way to show respect in Japanese culture. It is similar to shaking hands or saying thank you in Western culture.

The summer program in Japan included a weekend trip to Tokyo and an excursion to one of Japan’s most breathtaking cities, Kyoto. Students stayed in Mishima, visited a police station where students actually participated in their training, and visited many local museums and museums in cities close by. ‘I had the most unbelievable and humbling experience in Japan. I held a 13th century samurai sword in my hand and saw my own reflection in this piece of ancient art,’ Sam Anzer, a senior at the university, said.

Students who traveled to Tanzania got first-hand experience living in a developing country. There were field trips to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, bike rides into the Great Rift Valley, the world’s largest valley, and visits to orphanages for children whose parents abandoned them or have died of AIDS. ‘One day I bought a stalk of bananas, which weighed about 50-60 pounds, and carried it for a mile down the dirt road to an orphanage. The children were just so happy that I visited them and brought a gift,’ Mary Rydzeski, a sophomore, said. Similar to Japan, respect for elders is taken seriously in Tanzania. It is considered rude to not say ‘Shikomo’ to elders as a sign of respect.

In the south of France, students enjoyed the beautiful Mediterranean while attending weekly music and wine festivals like ‘Les Estivales de Montpellier.’ The wine festival is a community event where people come to taste local wines and, for four Euros, receive a wine glass and access to free wine tastings at any local vendor. Food is an important part of French culture. Restaurant tables and chairs face the square, while people enjoy their food and watch people pass by. Rushing to eat dinner is uncommon in France and much of Europe. People will sit for hours socializing with each other, chatting and enjoying their meal. Classes in Montpellier brought students from different countries into the same classroom.

‘My French teacher, Aurielle, did not speak English, which I loved because it forced me to speak and to gain confidence when I used my French outside of the classroom,’ Danielle Otto, a graduate of Stony Brook University, said.

Studying abroad allows students to make memories and friendships that last a lifetime. In just one month, students got a first-hand look at different cultures and many were surprised by how much they learned in such a short period of time. With the help of faculty members, Dean Arens would like to add either a summer or winter program to Ireland, where the classes offered will focus on political science or history.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Statesman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Statesman

Comments (0)

All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *