Student reflects on January term

Gelato, leather and art; this was what my January encompassed. To ring in the New Year, I decided to spend the first month of 2015 in Florence for a January term session. Participating in January term abroad is one of the best decisions I have ever made as an NYU Abu Dhabi student. Taking an NYU Abu Dhabi course was a completely different experience, the biggest benefit of which was getting to meet such a diverse group of Abu Dhabi students.

Last spring, I studied abroad in London for the semester, and I am still constantly reminiscing about that experience. Being abroad for a semester is a wonderful opportunity, and participating in a January term gives you a taste of what it would be like, which is perfect for students who are unsure how they would fare for an entire semester abroad. January term is also a great solution for someone who has already been abroad, loved it and can’t do it again during the regular semester.

The class that I took, Introduction to Machiavelli, only had 14 students in it, which made it easy for all of us to get to know each other, including our fantastic professor Stephen Holmes. Every day we had a tour of a museum or a historical site of Florence relating to Machiavelli before going to class on the beautiful campus. The fact that we could read “The Prince” and then visit the house in which Machiavelli actually wrote it added another layer to the course. It was a busy — but fulfilling — three weeks abroad. I do think that being abroad for a semester allows one to familiarize with the culture better, but the January term does a good job of immersing you completely from day one to get as much as possible out of your short time.

The mornings in Florence were my favorite. My roommate and classmate Allanah and I immediately bonded when we both realized that we had a shared passion for coffee. Every morning before our daily tours of the museums, we would leave early to take in the city and, of course, to get a delicious cup of espresso.

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While overall my experience has been amazing, I do have to admit I was a bit intimidated at first. Being only one of three NYU New York students in the program, you might feel like an outsider in the sea of mostly NYU Abu Dhabi students. But in the end, we are all NYU students and in my three weeks with my new friends I have learned so much. January term abroad is a great way to bring together two of NYU’s portal campuses — it truly underscores the fact that NYU is a global university.

A version of this story appeared in the Jan. 26 print edition. Email Sabrina Palacios at [email protected]

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