Syracuse University Abroad

Why choose Syracuse University Abroad?

Syracuse University Abroad consistently ranks among the highest-quality international study programs in the country. You’ll prepare for the world in the world with internships, field seminars, language at all levels, homestays, and community service projects. With centers in eight diverse locations and programs in over 40 other locations across the globe, there’s something for everyone at SU Abroad. For more than 50 years, students have found their place in the world with SU Abroad. Learn how you can find yours.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Fun, American University Experience in Florence

I studied abroad at Syracuse University Florence in Spring 2013 and had a great experience. There were a wide array of classes offered, from painting to film, and many included field trips around Florence and other Italian cities. I particularly enjoyed living with an Italian host family, a retired couple. This allowed me to really practice my Italian; I still keep in contact with my host family. The only drawback is only American students are enrolled in the program, making it difficult to befriend Italian students.

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Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Study Abroad Experience

I was part of one of Syracuse University Beijing Center's first programs. The experience completely changed my life. Both in terms of academics, cultural immersion, and language, this program opened me up to so many opportunities and changed the course of my life steering me towards a career in China when I previously had no intention to ever leave my home town. The people I met through the program are my family and Dr. Tong is still our "Beijing mom". We are about to have our 10 year reunion in a few weeks.

Now, years later, returning to the Tsinghua campus, the dorms we lived in, and the buildings where our classes were held makes me feel nostalgia in a way my own university in the US never could. I feel so very thankful for this life-changing experience that made Beijing a home away from home for me.

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Yes, I recommend this program

An extraordinary experience!

There are so many moments I wish I could relive during my study abroad in Beijing, China. The SU Abroad Beijing staff really wants you to have an incredible experience. They will work with you to make sure your needs are met. The SU Beijing Center is located at Tsinghua University, which is where you will be taking your courses with experienced professors. Classes will never be boring because it is a mix of discussion and field trips to historical and cultural landmarks around Beijing (The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, 798 Art District). Getting around is pretty easy--from your dorm all the way to the Chinese language center, you can practically bike all over campus! The cafeteria food is cheap and delicious! If you're feeling homesick, simply bike (8 minutes) or walk (15 minutes) to the neighborhood center, Wudaokou, for some Western cuisine!

What sets the SU Abroad Beijing program apart from others is its two-week signature seminar. When you first start the program, you will have 2-weeks to dive deeper into China's history and understand the perspective of locals who are trying to improve some of the country's issues. When I was abroad (Fall 2014), we had visits to environmental NGOs and had visits to ethnic-minority villages. You'll learn a lot about China by the time the program ends, and I guarantee you'll have so much to share after your return!

What would you improve about this program?
This program tends to have mostly political science/international relations/economics/history courses; however, independent study is also possible for other fields--such as communications (with the approval of your home college).
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Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent program and global experience

For any students seeking a unique global experience and passionate about Asia and emerging economy, SU Beijing is the right program for you. You will have the opportunity to study in China's number 1 university, Tsinghua University where its last 2 presidents graduated from. You would be able to attend 1 Tsinghua course that is being taught in English, but be mindful that it can be challenging. SU students are open to all courses being offered by SU Beijing Center and they are all excellent to help you gain understanding about China in a short period of time. I highly recommend Dr. Tong's political science courses, as you would have the chance to sit with Chinese students from Tsinghua U and have a discussion about the lecture topic. The signature seminar is another thing you should not miss. It is a great opportunity to not just travel but learn about the country at the same time. If you choose to do so, you can get a good internship through SU Beijing Center who will connect you with some local companies. Living condition can be tough, but international students' dorms are so much better compared to local students'. You will have a private room and bath, plus a cleaning service who cleans your room 3x a week. Foods are cheap and delicious, just be careful with the hygiene if you are eating out. Hope we will see you in Beijing!

What would you improve about this program?
One of the downside of the signature seminar is there are times when you are left to find your own meal. For anyone who comes to China for the first time and doesn't speak the language, this can be challenging, and terrifying even. I wish the program director be a bit more mindful in giving advices on where to get food that doesn't taste awful or not hygienic.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Music Program - A Completely Well-Rounded Program

Le Conservatoire de Strasbourg in connection with the Syracuse University Strasbourg Center is an excellent program overall that allowed me to fully grow as a musician. From the amazing professors, to my internships, to simply travelling across Europe all by myself I was able to gain the maximum benefits during my time abroad. Though I was skeptical to go anywhere abroad the faculty fully helped me adjust to the new territory.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Give us a little intro!

Hello everyone! I'm Nick, a junior at Syracuse University majoring in Spanish Language, Political Science and Public Relations on the Pre-Law track. I am from Boston, MA and I love to travel, try new things (especially food) and just have a good time. My go to move is definitely the Bachata (thank you Spain).

Why did you pick this program?

I picked SU Abroad Madrid because since I am majoring in Spanish, I wanted to go somewhere my skills would be tested on the daily. Syracuse offers a wide variety of abroad programs and Madrid was one of them. Some of my best friends were going and to be honest even if they hadn't I still would have gone because I met some of the best people on this trip that do not even go to Syracuse. Madrid has just always been a place I wanted to go and the ability to spend four months there and learn, well I just couldn't pass that up.

What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?

I definitely wish someone told me not to get PicCell because to be honest I didn't even use it and yet I was paying for it. I really only used my IPhone when there was wifi and even then I was so mesmerized by the beauty and places of wherever I was, that I didn't even care to use my phone except for pictures. Plus if you have wifi you can facetime your parents. If anything there are better cell plans that don't charge you as much as PicCell.

What is the most important thing you learned abroad?

To live in the moment and that the world is so much bigger than you know. Before abroad, I had never been outside of the U.S. I was lucky enough to see 11 countries and 24 cities in my four months that I was there. The sad part is it flew by. I miss it every day because Europeans are so different from Americans. I didn't take one day for granted while I was there because there was just so much to see.

A big thing would also be independence. I had to make sure I was going to class, doing my work and taking in all that Madrid had to offer. While on the weekends, I had to make sure I had a plan of what I wanted to see, how I was going to get around as well as everything I came with because I wouldn't be going back if I forgot something at a hostel. I also had to make sure I had a budget plan and that I didn't run over. Europe can be expensive unless you budget and have a plan. Don't take away from one trip because you went way over in a different place.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

I tell anyone who is considering going abroad that they have to go. Even if they are scared or afraid they will be homesick, they need to because not everyone has this chance. The things you see abroad and the things you get to experience are indescribable and if you pass up this opportunity you will never get this chance again.

It's different traveling with your good friends or even strangers that become good friends than traveling when you are done with school because when will you ever have the chance to be taught what you are learning by people who actually live there. It's just something you shouldn't pass up.

What was the hardest part about going abroad?

The hardest part about abroad is definitely the time difference. Your family will call you while you are asleep or maybe out at a club and you will call them while they are work. The same with your friends. It's hard on the weekends as well because most likely you will be traveling. You will experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when your family or friends are all together for breaks but you also have to remember you are doing this for yourself and having the time of your life.

However, if you have a host family as good as mine, they made sure that my home in Madrid felt like home. I was never uncomfortable or homesick to be honest and a lot of that has to do with them. You just need to be able to step out of your comfort zone and know everything will be okay. Be brave and try new things. Do not hold back on experiences because of fear.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

Hmm... this is so tough I would have to say the day I walked onto a military base. I was in Copenhagen, Denmark (a place I highly recommend you take a trip to) and I was by myself. It was my first day and in the beginning I was using a map. However, halfway through walking around I tossed the map because I decided that it's often when we are lost that we not only find ourselves but the hidden gems of places.

So with the map in the trash, I was wondering around. I ended up finding this tunnel and at the end of the tunnel was a gate. The gate was open slightly so I figured I could walk in. I started walking around and about 10 minutes later, a Danish officer approached me saying I couldn't be there because it was a military base. I apologized and said "please do not shoot the American tourist." He laughed. Before I got off the base, naturally I took a selfie and it was one of the funniest things because if you knew me, you would say "that would happen to Nick."

What made this experience unique and special?

Definitely my host family. They were my family and still are. I talk to them at least every other week if not every week now that I am back in the U.S. Without them being so hospitable, I do not think the trip would have been as great. Also, my professors. I learned more Spanish in my four months there than in my eight years of taking it in America and that is all due to the professors, my host family and the lovely Madrilenos.

It was just so eye opening and I did things that I know people will not get the chance to do if they went by themselves or went in the Spring and for that I am so grateful. I cherish that time I had in Madrid with all my heart and am constantly planning my next trip back to see my professors and host family.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Definitely meeting the cast of Teen Wolf. In a spur of the moment decision, my friend Karina (who is one of the greatest people you could meet abroad) and I found a common interest on our seminar: Teen Wolf. We heard they were having a convention in Madrid so we decided we would go for the day.

As we got to the convention we realized that we were so out of our element as people had flown in from all around Europe and stayed at the convention all weekend while we came for the day. Any who, about halfway through the convention we got the chance to get a photo op with Tyler Hoechlin (Derek Hale). He ended up speaking to my friend and I for a good couple minutes and asked us to go out with him, J.R. Bourne (Argent) and Ian Bohen (Peter Hale) that night.

Before we could exchange numbers, the woman in charge rushed us out of the room because they were behind schedule but if you ask me, it was definitely because she was jealous. So needless to say we didn't get to hang with them. I did get to talk to J.R. Bourne while I was washing my hands in the bathroom. That was pretty cool. Never met a celebrity in the bathroom before haha.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Get involved as much as you can. Take advantage of all discounted trips or events your school has planned. Go to local events in your town or neighborhood. Practice the language of whatever country you are calling home for this extended period of time. Be open to new food, new excursions and new possibilities.

You may have thought you've seen it all but you haven't. Just do not be afraid to break away from the friends you already have to make new ones with people on your trip and the locals as well. This is about finding yourself, creating memories of a lifetime and doing things you've dreamt of for a while. This time is all about you so take in as much of it as you can.

What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions, future path?

I just never knew how different Europeans were from Americans. It definitely made me stress less about certain things and as far as my future path it made me realize that there is so much more in this world that I haven't had the chance to see yet in my 20 years of life but I know one day I'll get the chance. The traveler bug has bit me and it bit hard. The more you do and get involved the more in love you will fall with wherever you go.

Do Europeans hate Americans?

The answer to that is no. If you act like a stereotypical American then yes. Of course you will be tempted by clubs and alcohol since you are of the legal age, but be respectful. This is your home for the next few weeks or months but that place is actually those peoples homes for life. Do not trash it and do not get so trashed that you don't remember some of the best nights.

Europeans are so laid back and if you treat them with respect and sit down to talk to them, then they will respect you and talk to you. If you go in and act like a drunken idiot, then yes you will encounter problems everywhere you go. You want to remember this time, not lose it and trust me it goes by fast. So be smart and the Europeans will not hate you.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Callie Best

Job Title
Admissions Counselor
Callie is a new addition to the Syracuse University Abroad staff. She oversees the admissions process for both the SU Madrid and Santiago (Chile) centers.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite traveling experience was on my most recent trip to Jamaica. My husband and I were walking down 7-mile beach and met a gentleman who referred to himself as “Fireman.” In reviews about Jamaica we had read about Fireman, but never thought we would meet him.

Fireman showed us all the favorite local hangouts, which had incredible views and some amazing people, and ended the day by catching us fresh lobster from the ocean and cooking it on an open fire for us. It was by far the best seafood I have ever had and a top memory for sure!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One story that always sticks out to me from a returning student was about her host family in Spain. Her host parents were older and retired, but loved to cook.

She had family come visit her while she was studying abroad so she and her host parents made a five-course gourmet meal for them. Although it was something as simple as making meals with her host parents, the memories she created by having her host family and biological family coming together is always one of my favorite parts of returning students' stories.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I have always wanted to visit Thailand. There is something about the Thai culture that I have always found fascinating, but the values that the Thai people hold to are something everyone can learn from.

Additionally, some of the best foods and beaches can be found in Thailand and you can’t go wrong with that combination!