Global Studies Program: From NYC to London

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Isabel is on the New York – to – London circuit, courtesy of her enrollment in New York University’s Global Studies program, so thus far her college experience has not been a typical one. Technically, she is spending her freshman year in London, and she will join the NYU New York City campus as a sophomore next fall. As a dual UK/US citizen, Isabel is very happy indeed at how things have worked out.

NYU, however, was a late choice for her. When she entered her senior year of high school, she had been looking at the Universities of Washington, Toronto and Edinburgh, but she was still trying to figure out where she really wanted to go. Sometimes, though, older brothers have the answer. Isabel’s brother, Julian, already a student at NYU, suggested she come up and check out his school. Isabel hadn’t been too enthusiastic about attending a school in New York City, but she agreed to visit, and the weekend on campus completely changed her perspective. She loved what she saw and learned about the university – and found that she liked the city too.

That led her to offer a piece of advice to students who are currently going through the admissions decision process: visit the schools you are considering. She says you can’t know what a school is like until you experience it for yourself. Great point, Isabel. We agree!

That visit paid off for Isabel, as did NYU’s option to declare first, second, and third choice programs on the admission application. Isabel’s first choice was Arts and Science but she instead was offered acceptance into her second choice, the Global Studies program. She was happy to accept the offer, which meant only a slight rearrangement of her four-year course of study. In the end, she will still have a study abroad experience, and after completing two years in Global Studies, she will transfer into Arts and Sciences to complete her degree.

Isabel expects to major in psychology but also hopes to include studies in the field of public health. The courses she is taking this year, however, are of a different stripe. She’s enrolled in three philosophy-based classes and one required writing course. She is enjoying them all but does describe one notable difference from her previous experiences: each class meets just one day a week, for a whopping three-hour session. She says some professors give a break in the middle, but nothing is guaranteed. The long sessions are tough, but the workload is manageable. Because of the nature of the courses she is taking, most of her work outside the classroom consists of essay writing. She describes her workload as having increased not in quantity but in quality, and she finds that she has to do a lot of reading to prepare for each essay she writes. Class sizes are small, averaging about fifteen students, which facilitates the classroom discussion that is the hallmark of each course.

Her London-based year has a different feel and structure from that of a traditional college campus. Classes are held in NYU’s building in the center of London, and Isabel’s dorm room is in NYU’s residential building a few blocks away. The principal extra-curricular activity for all the students in her program is exploring the city, the U.K., and other points abroad. That comes naturally to Isabel, who was born in London and has two half-sisters living there. Her personal connections to the city have added to her enjoyment of this year, although she still admits feeling some homesickness. Even so, that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying her first college year, and one of the things she appreciates is the diversity of NYU students. She estimates that only half of the other freshman Global Studies students are American. The other half come from all over the world.

Isabel is making the most of her NYU experience in London but is also looking forward to returning to the States after the spring semester. She will, however, face one additional change. Since she applied to NYU, her family has moved from the D.C. area to NYC, so now the city she once couldn’t embrace will become her year-long home. That’s okay with Isabel, though, because she is looking forward to returning to New York and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities that NYU has to offer.

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