Field Trips — the Best Way to Learn?

Sometimes seeing is better than hearing, which is why these classes had some intriguing field trips in New York City.

The LES Ecology Center where the students in the History of Computing: How the Computer Became Personal took a field trip. (Photo by Akiva Thalheim)

After sitting in a classroom for hours, it can be difficult to pay attention as your Texts and Ideas professor drones on about Machiavelli’s “The Prince” while all of New York City waits for you right outside the window. Some professors recognize this issue and, putting NYU’s famous words to work, make the city your classroom.

As the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural center, New York City has some of the best resources for students to learn in the field. Gallatin junior Selly Djap went to La Mer’s headquarters on Broadway for her Advanced Practicum in Fashion Business class.

“We learned about their basic strategies of branding and marketing,” Djap said. “My goal is to have my own fashion brand, which I did start. It’s really helpful to understand how the industry works.”

In addition to having a plethora of renowned corporations’ headquarters, New York City is also home to some of the world’s most famous historical landmarks and museums. With thousands of historical structures, the city provides a great environment to learn about history. CAS junior Maggie Chirdo took the Staten Island Ferry for a Writing the City field trip.

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“It’s a very quintessential New York tourist moment,” Chirdo said. “We went around the Statue of Liberty on the water. That was really fun to tie together the readings required for class with the fact that you actually live in a city where these academic and historic figures were living as well.”

Gallatin junior YeonHee Yang went to the Tenement Museum for her Place and Behavior first year interdisciplinary seminar.

“It’s one of the last standing tenement buildings in New York,” Yang said. “It took me to places that I probably wouldn’t have gone myself. I was glad that I had the opportunity to go there and to learn about the history of those places.”

Field trips are a great way to explore the city as you can always find interesting things on a random street or an unremarkable corner of the city. Gallatin junior Devin Lewtan went to The Gowanus in Brooklyn.

“It’s a big warehouse with a bunch of old technology,” Lewtan said. “It’s like people bring their technology that they no longer want or need. It’s e-waste. A lot of it, they recycle in upstate New York.”

Field trips can turn theoretical classroom knowledge into practical experience. Tisch junior Katie Whitmire visited the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, which allowed her to see and feel the intricate architecture.

“I really appreciate architecture, so being able to see these architectural elements that I saw in class in real life was really cool,” Whitmire said.

Some students believe that NYU can provide more opportunities for students to leave the campus, to explore unknown districts and to learn more practical knowledge in real life.

“I think [field trips] give us a chance to get away from the normal way of learning about things in the classroom, and really looking at things and learning about things that are going on around us,” Djap said.

“I think universities in New York, not just NYU, have greater opportunity to access these resources and ability to take field trips, because of the subway, the public transportation,” Chirdo said.

Email Elaine Chen at [email protected]

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