This past winter break I had the most incredible time volunteering in Vietnam! I had the opportunity to work in a hospital as well as teach English to high school and college-aged students. My time spent there was so eye-opening and rewarding. I was able to explore a new culture and make international friends while making a positive impact abroad. Being a biology and psychology major, this experience was a great complement to what I have learned in the classroom. I highly recommend traveling, whether it’s studying or volunteering abroad, to every college student. It provides you with an entirely different perspective on the world, and not to mention, a lifetime’s worth of memories!
I studied abroad in Belgium for the SUNY Model European Union Simulation during the Winter session. As part of the New Paltz delegation, I played the role of Foreign Minister for Team Belgium. Other than myself, my teammates played the roles of Finance Minister, Prime Minister, and Coreper. We were assigned a model agenda and our role as an EU member state was to pass it. For 2 days, each team split up into their respective roles and discussed the agenda items that were pertinent to their field of specialization. This year, the migration crisis was a major issue in the Foreign Affairs Council. Overall, it was really fun and engaging to get to know students from other American colleges as well as international ones.
I spent the Fall semester at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. My study abroad experience was a bit unconventional. I took a leave of absence to study at the drama school of my dreams. I spent approximately 35 hours in class each week to earn a diploma in classical drama. Studying at the school that boasts such alumni as Benedict Cumberbatch (LAMDA's new president), John Lithgow, and Ruth Wilson, I was taught about everything from Shakespearean and Joacobean plays to Historical Dance. I also had masterclasses with working professionals such as Lolita Chakrabarti and Alex Waldman. I couldn't travel outside of the U.K. much, because of the work load, but I got to know London like the back of my hand. I wouldn't trade my experience, the people I met, and the city that I chose to study in for anything!