University at Albany Education Abroad

Why choose University at Albany Education Abroad?

The University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), is an internationally recognized public research institution that brings the world to more than 17,000 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The variety of perspectives and life experiences of the student body and faculty that represent more than 100 nations provide a diversity that enriches learning. Our students can choose from 118 undergraduate majors and minors, and 138 graduate programs. In every area of study, students are instructed by faculty who are world-class scholars and teachers, many actively engaged in life-enhancing research that contributes immeasurably to the public good. As mentors, they provide numerous undergraduate and graduate research opportunities, inspiring students to advance their skills and aspirations.


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Yes, I recommend this program

My weeks at el Colegio

Every Tuesday for over eight weeks during my study abroad, I went to work with kids in a local bi-lingual middle school. I would pull out as many as five to six and work with them more intimately on the subject for that hour. This was an amazing experience to add to my many memories of studying abroad. The exposure to knowledge and freer ways of thinking that the children have access to amazes me. I loved the opportunity to speak with them in English and correct their speaking mistakes. I also became very aware of how important it is for me as an educator to pronunciate effectively so they are able to hear the differences between our languages and the sounds of our letters. This made me realise the direction of my teaching career will focus more on ESL learning with people of all ages.

What would you improve about this program?
I would say the level of classes was a lot "easier" than I had been expecting. I would say one area to improve upon is the English speaking outlet provided by some teachers and enforcing less use of our native tongue. I found some of the classes not as challenging as I had hoped, partly because of the use of English.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Learning About Cuba in Multiple Ways

The best part of this experience was that I was able to learn about Cuba in a multi-faceted way. Firstly, the classes were very informative and taught by some of the top professors in Cuba. But I also learned just as much by living with my host-family, who were so nice, loving, and welcoming. We had many great conversations, and it's great to hear from as many people about growing up through Cuba's complex history. Our visits to places like the Pedagogical Institute were also incredible. The whole trip was balanced with plenty of learning and plenty of fun.

What would you improve about this program?
There were perhaps a couple of times where our schedules while traveling outside of Havana could have included more free time and less strict scheduling. But these trips were still very good.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Most Immersive and Real Cuban Experience You Can Get

If I had to design my ideal study abroad program, the end result couldn't be better than this program in Cuba. This program brings together diverse, passionate students from around the nation and gives them an unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in Cuban culture. Every day you will be challenged by your courses, professors, homestay families, Cuban friends, and US peers to rewire your brain and think differently about Cuba's unique societal structure, democracy, and US-Cuba relations. You will leave this program better understanding your place, personally and politically, as a global citizen. And- you'll do all of this while having the most fun time of your life! From dancing salsa and listening to Cuban jazz to spending lazy days on the beach, you will get a taste of what makes Cuban culture and people so vibrant.

What would you improve about this program?
I am actually struggling with an answer for this. I would recommend just a change in allocation of time in the classroom, so that students would be free to immerse themselves in Cuba after lunch after a morning of classes. However, I want to stress how valuable these classes are. They are absolutely essential to informing your experience, so I merely suggest combining them to be in the morning. These suggestions were given to our professors after the program, and I believe they have been heard.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience!

This trip to Cuba was everything i dreamed of and more! My absolute favorite part was being able to stay with a host family, and truly grasp the Cuban experience. The families were very friendly and accommodating. Most people in the neighborhood are aware of the program and recognize the students, receiving them with open arms. I remember the last week of my program, the parents of one of my peers invited us over to have a small going-away gathering. We had a party on the roof and had music provided to us by our very own host-brothers. This is just one of the many gestures we experienced from the hosts families. This trip allowed me to experience the world in a different way; food, music, culture, history, and more. Cuba is a country that can offer you so much, you'd never want to leave! I know i sure didn't. And until this very day, i am counting down the days until i can once again meet with Cuba again.

What would you improve about this program?
Overall, the program is equipped with various topics and forms of learning. However, the communication between the instructors and the students prior to their arrival is crucial. A more detailed list of necessary academic tools (not just items needed for your trip), is highly recommended. Moreover, the requirements of assignments should be more detailed (or more direct).
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Start of my Travel Bug

Going on excursions to places that were actually interesting was the best part of our curriculum. We explored Volkswagen, Natura, and the markets. I really liked that we got to visit their version of the stock exchange. It' was a great balance of fun and education during the time. Because of this trip I'm planning on going back to Brazil again. Hopefully I can show my friends the same amazing things that I saw and more.

What would you improve about this program?
Where we stayed in São Paulo was pretty awesome. We loved the hostel because of the convenience of the caipirinha at the door. But we lacked space and wifi. We were rarely at the hostel but when we were the wifi was crucial. The space just made it mandatory to get to know our peers.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Julia Erbacher

Julia is a Spanish major from Buffalo, NY. Her go to dance move? The shoulder rock!

Why did you pick this program?

The program offers a great location to study in, classes that transfer over to fulfill degree requirements, and includes excursion trips around Spain.

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

That they MUST go! It is an experience that will change your life and your person. The amount of knowledge you gain about yourself and the world has no price tag. Everyone should go abroad for at least 4-5 weeks to understand life from another perspective and gain an appreciation for cultures that differ from their own.

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

Be prepared for schedule changes! Things come up and sometimes plans change, there is no need to freak out because you have no control over these situations most of the time.

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

I went to Granada with my two roommates and our host mom. We woke up before seven in the morning to catch the bus to wait in line for tickets to go through La Alhambra, a medieval castle built by the Arab Kingdom. We arrived and waited in line for 3 hours, to finally get tickets for that evening! Turns out, the passes we bought were for the most extravagant part of the castle and our tour being in the evening, we were surrounded by the beautiful starlit sky, which played an important role to the reflecting pools in this part of the castle. We were blown away by the amazing detailed engravings that make up this building and I walked away feeling so humbled by the beauty I witnessed made by man's hand that I cried!

Did you feel safe while traveling?

Yes. People are always terrified of the worst-case scenarios, and that tends to hold people back from traveling. The reality is, everywhere has the potential to be "dangerous". If you let that be your main concern, you will not have any fun and incredible experiences will pass you by. Use common sense and good judgement, and there is no reason not to hop on a plane or train and just go. Be aware of your surroundings and 99 percent of the time people are always willing to help you. Most importantly, go with your GUT - trust it and trust yourself.

Staff Interviews

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

Emily Menard

Job Title
Study Abroad Program Coordinator
Emily Menard (MA) is a Study Abroad Program Coordinator for the University at Albany, SUNY, overseeing 25 programs throughout Europe and the Middle East and a study abroad enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degree overseas at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy and holds a Master’s degree in Diplomacy from America’s oldest private military college, Norwich University. She is passionate about working with underrepresented students, including STEM majors, veterans, and ROTC students.

Did YOU study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

I caught the study abroad bug early on and couldn’t stop. My first experience was in Caltagirone, Sicily where I spent my junior year of high school. This experience set me on an irreversible path that would bring me back to Italy to complete my undergraduate degree in Rome.

Lastly, I decided to spend a semester abroad, in Cairo Egypt. Living in Egypt before the Arab Spring was one of the most interesting experiences of my life. I was inspired by a strong desire to get out of central Vermont and once I got started it took my six years to come back home again!

What does the future hold for UAlbany - any exciting new programs to share?

The future holds many new things for UAlbany. We are incredibly fortunate to have just had Dr. Harvey Charles appointed as our new Dean and Vice Provost for International Education. His vision will ensure that UAlbany is at the forefront of education abroad programming for years to come.

On that note, we are launching a new summer faculty-led program in Ireland in June 2016. The program is titled “Adventures in Entrepreneurship” and will include site visits to the European headquarters of major tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

Dublin is known as the Silicon Valley of Europe and also has the largest percentage of start-up’s in all of Europe. Students will have the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship in the heart of it all while earning upper level business credit.

Which study abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

I don’t think that any destination is underrated or overrated per se. I think that each and every destination should be the right fit for the student choosing that location. When I started my career, I used to think that students going to England or Ireland were choosing the “easy” path because the spoken language was English and things “weren’t that different.”

Boy was I wrong! I have seen students take Thermodynamics and Advanced Calculus in Galway before heading to a pub to watch a hurling match – this is VERY different. I think every student should choose their study abroad destination based on the best academic, financial, and personal fit. That being said, there are definitely a number of cities that experience the “study abroad bubble” and have less opportunity for students to experience full cultural integration.

The most important thing for students is to commit fully to getting outside of their comfort zone, interacting with local students, and making the most of their experience. The advice I give my students is to visit the “popular” city destinations on the weekend (Dublin, Paris, Rome, London) but to study in the more “non-traditional” ones (Galway, Hull, Aberdeen, Wuerzburg).

What country have you always wanted to visit?

I have always wanted to visit Iceland. I think that Iceland is one of the most underrated destinations on the globe. It has untouched landscapes that are gorgeous, lots of outdoor activities, and the ability to view the Northern Lights! What could be better?

Furthermore, Iceland has a very small population and Icelanders have a strong reputation of being very friendly and welcoming. Most people don’t think about Iceland when they think about planning a vacation. It is now at the very top of my bucket list and hopefully I will get to visit soon.