New York City is a world in itself. In Manhattan, from the Financial District to Washington Heights, every neighborhood has its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. So much so that countless books, movies and television shows try to emulate the distinct feeling of being in the city, but often fall short of reality. Living in New York is vibrant, fast-paced and crowded — a much different scenario from what either of us have experienced abroad, both in Florence and Sydney.
NYU is known for its cosmopolitanism. Besides being located in New York, the university also encourages its students to have some understanding of international affairs and a foreign language. Most importantly, students can choose to study abroad from a plethora of global locations. From Europe to South America, NYU has sites spread all around the globe.
However, as much as NYU wants us to think that studying abroad is easily accessible, it is much more layered than what appears. Applications and visa processes can be stressful and discouraging, and the bureaucratic process never seems to end — not even upon arrival. When you arrive, you realize it does not matter how much you research. It does not matter how much you are used to moving from here to there. Adaptation is always hard. One time, you will feel the hardship of adaptation because you want to bake that key lime pie and cannot find the right ingredients; another time, you will feel it because you are not able to talk to your family because of the six or sometimes 19 hour difference.
Cara: There are many facets to living in a foreign country. While, as an international student, I have been doing so for a bit over two years, being in Florence has presented me with different challenges and different ways to grow. However, the bumps along the way seem small whenever I look at the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore from my window. There is nothing more rewarding than taking a stroll alongside the Arno River and casually stopping by the Galleria Uffizi to check out some Renaissance Art. With the little knowledge I acquired this past month, I can say that your experience abroad is what you make of it.
Anna: With this semester being the second time I’ve studied abroad during my time at NYU, there’s a lot to compare and contrast with the three cities that I’ve now had the experience of studying in. Being in Sydney reminds me of home in some ways, with the familiar feel of the West Coast and its oceanside charm. But it also brings to light the different things I love and hate about New York and the things I take for granted there. The easy access to the beach and nature is a breath of fresh air from the grime of New York, but nothing quite compares to getting one-dollar pizza in the wee hours of the morning. With this second semester away from the big city, I’ve come to appreciate my home campus but also take advantage of every second away.
There are 195 countries in this world. It is gigantic. If an opportunity is presented to you to grab a little piece of it, you should take it. The world is too big to stand in one place for too long.