By Jonathan Donaghy
As a joint honour American Studies and History student at The University of Nottingham I was lucky enough to undertake a study abroad programme in New York State at the University at Albany, SUNY.
Situated a mere 2 hours away (you can’t forget that America is huge!) from the concrete jungle of New York City itself is UAlbany, as called by students. In addition to being a central point to my CV and increasing future employability prospects, without sounding clichéd, it really was a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’. Studying Abroad was an experience that I absolutely wanted to undergo. Jetting off to a new continent with 5 other students is undeniably an unnerving prospect, but these are now 5 friends that I have been able to make for life, and it is also character building. University in America or ‘college’ as it is known, is considerably different to the university experience in the UK. Unfortunately it is not as stereotypical as the parties seen within the American Pie movie franchise, but I have to admit, it wasn’t entirely far off! Studying at an American university shows you how much pride students take in the university that they are attending. Buying the school sweatshirt is an essential necessity and you have to wear it to cheer for your university team at college football.
New York, for me, was an incredible location as it almost seen as a central hub of America. Flights therefore from JFK Airport are often a lot cheaper than other states within America. Naturally you should take advantage of this, and I did as such. For Thanksgiving Break I jetted off to Orlando, Florida, to make a zealous return to the Theme Parks such as Universal Studios and Disney’s Magical Kingdom. Childhood dreams were fulfilled when I first visited Orlando, hence why I chose to revisit. Young at heart and free to explore these cosmic chefs-d'œuvre (as in my eyes, they are works of art) is something I would repeat again and again. I once more returned to the Sunshine State opting to visit South Beach, Miami, for my most anticipated event of my Studies Abroad – ‘Springbreak’. Springbreak as a word brings to mind a lot of thoughts in everyone’s head, as it is unbelievably enjoyable. Enjoying ice cold beers with your friends on South Beach, staying until the gorgeous sunset was amazing and Miami is a dazzling city with a robust nightlife with weather which is perfect to unwind on the beach.
The Big Apple is patently an amazing area to analyse. New York City offers you numerous diverse experiences; you can be a basic British tourist like I was in some instances, taking selfies on Time’s Square and eating at the Hard Rock Café. On the other hand, cultural exchanges to the city can easily be undertaken, and NYC is home to vast amounts of museum’s and art galleries to make even the most hard-core hipster ecstatic with choice.
Uniqueness is a superb adjective to describe NYC, as your experiences within the city can be tailor made to your preferences. Being a global city and state, New York offers perhaps the broadest range of educational opportunities; this comes with some of the best universities in the world such as New York University. Therefore I would highly recommend, if you are considering to study abroad, to look at studying within New York. Not only will it become your present, but it will be your future also – who can deny that studying in New York looks impressive on a job application!