For many students at Stony Brook University, studying abroad is something they don’t know much about. For Journalism student April Warren, participating in the China Silk Road study abroad program last summer was one of the most rewarding experiences of her academic career.
“I took out of it a greater sense of adventure and quest for knowledge,” said Warren. “I was constantly asking our guides random questions and just always wanting to know more.”
Warren’s trip took her from Beijing to the West of China and back again. At the end of 10 days, the group had traveled the distance of New York to Denver, Colorado. Along the way, the Stony Brook University students and Chinese students studying alongside them discussed their cultural differences, Warren said.
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“There was one point where we were on a train for 10 hours in sleeper cars. It was me, one other female SBU student and two of the male Chinese students. It was just awesome to sit up with them all night talking about the cultural differences,” she said.
For many students who choose to study abroad, one of the main selling points of a particular program is the differences in culture between America and the country where they choose to study. According to the Association of National Educators only 1.4 percent of students studied abroad from New York during the 2004-2005 school year. Stony Brook offers winter, summer and semester-long programs in more than 20 countries. The the most popular programs include the summer trip to Tanzania, Africa and the winter trip to Rome, Italy.
Sessions vary in tenure depending on when they are taking place. Winter sessions are usually two to three weeks, summer sessions can range from a couple of weeks to a couple of months and semester-long programs vary in length according to the semester of the University a student is studying at overseas.
Although the programs are extensive and varied, many Stony Brook students are unaware of the possibilities studying at Stony Brook can open for them in terms of studying abroad. Stony Brook has an international reputation in academic excellence and therefore is able to host many exchange programs in addition to study abroad sessions.
An exchange program differs from a study abroad session in that for every student sent to a given University abroad, Stony Brook will host one student here. An example of this exchange is found in Brighton, England at the University of Sussex. In the past, Stony Brook has only been able to send two students per semester to study at Sussex, but recently, up to 10 applicants have been able to study in the United Kingdom due to the number of Sussex students taking classes at Stony Brook. Unbeknownst to most Stony Brook students, there are over a hundred of study abroad students that come here to study every semester.
About 50 percent of students at Stony Brook commute, and for these students, study abroad is an excellent addition to their college experience. Emma Backfish, a Political Science major and commuter student, studied abroad for three semesters during her tenure at Stony Brook. Backfish studied a full year at University of Sussex and then later in Sweden.
“It’s a great time to reflect on how you are starting to manage as an adult and really learn about yourself,” said Backfish. “I would recommend the experience to everyone, even if they are weary about it at first. It really is a life changing experience.”
The Study Abroad office, located on the fifth floor of the Melville library, is in charge of helping students find the program abroad that best fits their needs and their budget constraints. The office offers information sessions about upcoming programs every Wednesday during campus lifetime.
In terms of cost, summer programs can range from $2,000 to $5,000, while exchanges can be the same price as attending school at Stony Brook, plus expenses processed by the University. Other expenses that are mandatory for all students studying abroad include international health insurance, program fees and flights to and from the study destination. For most programs students are expected to book their own flight. Program fees are processing fees the University and State University of New York (SUNY) -wide study abroad program impose on certain programs. The financial aid office also has special information for students looking to study abroad. Many scholarships are also available for qualified students.
SUNY students seem to have a slight advantage over their private school counterparts in that students at any SUNY school in the state have access to other SUNY schools‘ programs. For example, Erin Mansfield, a junior, will be studying in Argentina next year through New Paltz’s study abroad office. As a result, the students enrolled at SUNY schools have access to 500 programs in 51 countries
For students considering the study abroad experience, Backfish offers this advice: “Definitely consider it, but do your research. You don’t want to go into an experience with no real passion for the place you are going.”
“It’s a lot of money, but it’s worth it,” Warren said.
Top 3 Study Abroad Programs
** The following costs are estimates due to past programs.
January 2-18, 2010
$1,750 + $200 administrative fee + $207 tuition for NYS students = ~ $1977.00
The Ghana program is Stony Brook faculty led and based in Accra, Ghana. Classes on this short term study abroad include “Themes in the Black Experience,” and “The Political and Social History of Africa.” Interested students are to apply by November 1st for winter programs. Ghana is one of the most popular Winter Programs.
Rome and Florence, Italy:
January 2- 18, 2010
$2,400+ $200 administrative + $207 tuition for NYS students = ~$2735.00
During the Rome portion of this program students are housed in Grand Hotel Palazzo Carpegna and are served American breakfast and lunch. Classes include “Italian Civilization through the ages,” and “Italian literature.” All classes on this trip are DEC related as well as Italian major related. Classes are taught by Stony Brook faculty. The deadline for this program is November 1. This is considered one of the largest winter session programs. Language proficiency is not required.
January 7-23, 2010
$828 tuition + $2,500 program fee + $200 administrative fee = ~$3528.00
The program in Jamaica is strictly marine science based and has a scholarship that will cover the entire cost of the program for qualified students. Students are housed at the University of the West Indies. Students examine coral reefs and also complete a research project during their tenure in Jamaica.
Dates TBA for 2010 but in the past it has been the entire month of June
207 NYS tuition + 200 administrative + program fee tba= $407.00 + program fee
This program is based out of Nihon University in Japan and includes excursions to Tokyo for students. Students live with a Japanese host family and are provided meals included in the cost of the program. Deadline for this program is March 1st, 2010.
Dates for 2010 to be announced was July 2- August 1, 2009
1200 + 207 tuition + 200 administrative+ ~ $1607.00
The Russia program also includes visa fees. The deadline for this program is May 1st. Students have the opportunity to complete 6-9 credits worth of classes in St. Petersburg and work alongside Russian students.
Dates for 2010 to be announced, was July 1- August 5, 2009
2500+ 207 tuition + 200 administrative= ~$2907.00
The Montpellier program takes students through the south of France including Provence and Languedoc. Montpellier is 3 hours from Paris and a good starting point to travel further to Spain. Students will be taking French classes and participate in historical and cultural events.
2485 tuition + 6050 program fees including housing, excursions and a cell phone= ~$8535.00
Students can choose to study in Florence for one or multiple semesters. The University offers courses in the arts, natural sciences and social sciences. All courses are taught in English and the semesters are 15 weeks long. Deadline for the fall is March 15, 2010. Class dates vary due to the Florence University calendar.
No price currently available, contact Study Abroad Office
This program requires a proficiency in German and offers classes in computer science, math, physical and social sciences. Prices for this program vary so consult the International Studies office for the latest prices and administrative fees.
University of Sussex: Brighton, United Kingdom:
Exchange program= same as tuition for Stony Brook
The program at the University of Sussex is an equal exchange program which means it costs the same as paying a semester’s tuition and room and board at Stony Brook. The program is 6 months long and runs through both the spring and summer semesters at Sussex. Brighton is 2 hours from London by train.
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