“I Urge You to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone”

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My name is Sylvie Yudin and I am a senior who is double majoring in Political Science, with a concentration in Global Affairs and Interactions, and Geography. I spent the spring semester of 2016 studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain through SUNY Oswego’s program with the Universitat de Barcelona.

I chose this program because all of the courses were taught in Spanish, and I really wanted to improve my conversational Spanish speaking abilities. Studying abroad has augmented my communication skills, made me more independent, and endowed me with an increased sense of global and cultural awareness. It has enabled me to grow and has given me confidence both in myself and in my abilities to adapt to my surroundings. I encourage other students to study abroad because I believe it will enable them to see the world in a new light, and the diverse perspectives gained through the study abroad experience are invaluable in both personal and professional growth.

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One thing that surprised me during my study abroad experience was the difference between the ways in which my classes at Binghamton are structured and the ways in which my classes at the Universitat de Barcelona were structured. For instance, my professors abroad all preferred to be referred to by their first name. Additionally, my professors in Barcelona discouraged hand-raising in order to participate in class and instead requested that students participate freely at their own will, rather than being called on to speak by a professor. I found these differences to be quite interesting.

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While abroad, I took a course in Catalan, as I aimed to become as immersed as possible into Barcelona’s culture. I was able to make friends of all different ages from all over the world. I urge other students who study abroad to break out of their comfort zones and try to get to know others who are not from their home country, as this provides valuable insight into other cultures. Studying abroad is an incredibly meaningful experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunities it has afforded me.

Sylvie Yudin, a Political Science and Geography major and a current study abroad student ambassador, who studied abroad in Spain in spring 2016

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