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Oh, the places you'll go! (New York)

human interest




Oh, the places you'll go! (New York)

The chronicles of Duke students around the globe

Nelia Ekeji


Duke's status as a global-oriented university is fitting, given that the school currently boasts over 150 study-abroad programs across six continents. Over 40 of the programs are Duke-In programs where students get the familiarity of Duke's rigor and resources in settings outside of Durham. The various other programs are affiliated with a number of prestigious universities such as Oxford, Vanderbilt, and Princeton.

Though many who study away from campus do so outside of the States, for juniors Brooklyn Bass and Jasmin Jin, a city within the U.S. demonstrated greater appeal: New York City. Both students participated in the Duke in New York: Arts and Media program. While the two have different majors, backgrounds, and motivations for participating in the program, their experiences exploring the Big Apple shared many similarities.

Brooklyn Bass

Year: Class of 2019
Major(s), minor(s), and/or certificate(s): Cultural Anthropology major and Policy Journalism and Media Studies certificate
Where you studied abroad: New York City
Highlights of studying abroad: Oh there are so many! Umm, one of them would be just being in New York and getting a taste of what it’s like to live there. I’ve visited before, but that was my first time living there. You get proud of yourself, navigating the trains and stuff and not being a tourist anymore. The second one would be being able to do an internship in the career path that I want to go into - public relations. I gained more time; doing that during the fall of my junior year helped me gain some ground. The last one would probably be...I feel like I became a more cultured person. Going to plays, going to museums, some of the things we read. I just felt like through osmosis I became a more cultured person.
Difficulties of studying abroad: One of them would be just budgeting and making sure you don’t go out of control. Two would probably be the end of the semester, rushing to get your assignments done during finals and stuff. You want to have fun in New York City, but you have to do your assignments and wrap up papers, projects, and stuff like that.

Biggest cultural differences between Durham and New York City: New York is way bigger than Durham, so I don’t feel as trapped. There’s more to do. There’s never that feeling of missing out because there’s so much to do. That was a little overwhelming though. At first, during the first few weeks when I started my internship, and then also hanging out with new friends, I was overwhelmed at first. But after awhile, you kind of adapt and get used to the fast New York pace.
Best places to visit in NYC: I really liked going to the Chelsea Market. I probably went there everyday. They have great food! They have this spot called The Lobster Place, and they have all the seafood you can imagine. The Met. I know that’s popular, but that’s probably my favorite museum of all the ones I went to. Also the Brooklyn Bridge Park, where I could read, or just sit and relax and look at the Manhattan skyline.
Anything else you want us to know? When I wrapped up the program, I deliberately said to myself that I want to bring back this mindset I got from New York to Duke. This sense of freedom, independence, and me not caring. I feel like that’s the spirit of New York, and I feel like I’ve brought that back since Duke can be so rigid. Yeah...I feel like I’ve brought that with me.

Jasmin Jin

Year: Class of 2019
Major(s), minor(s), and/or certificate(s): English major and Creative Writing and Korean minors
Where you studied abroad: New York City
Highlights of studying abroad: Being away from Duke’s campus, but not in a bad way! I think it was just refreshing to be in a different environment. It was also exciting to be in a city where there are so many things to do and so many food options, like a wide variety. I got to meet new people...and I feel like it would have been a different dynamic if it was on Duke’s campus. Everyone was in the same boat. We were taking the same classes, and we were going to the same events. Oh, another highlight was I could go get Korean food and bubble tea whenever I wanted!

Difficulties of studying abroad: Sometimes it was overwhelming to be in New York. There are just so many people, and it’s not always a very friendly city. Sometimes balancing classes with my internship was pretty hard because the internship and the classes I took had their separate events. Another low was budgeting finances since we didn’t have a food plan, and food there is so expensive. I also feel like I got FOMO a lot because New York is considered one of the greatest cities in the world. Sometimes when I was in my room watching Netflix I thought about how I could be doing something else, but I’m not.
Biggest cultural differences between Durham and New York City: One cool thing about New York is the public transportation. A lot of people hate on it, but I’m from LA, and we have really bad traffic. So, the fact that I was able to get around wherever I wanted without a car or an Uber was pretty cool. Also, New Yorkers are aggressive, so it’s like “eat or be eaten.” I feel like people in Durham are more friendly. People in the South are more inclined to smile. Durham just feels more regional and local to me with the farmer’s markets and the local businesses whereas in New York, everything’s just really big, and a lot of the local businesses there thrive because of the sheer volume of people. A business can be “local” in New York, but that doesn’t mean it’s small or doesn’t make a lot of money by any means.
Best places to visit in NYC: For the Korean restaurants, I really liked Woorijip. There was also this Peruvian restaurant that was really good, but really expensive - Pollo D’Oro. I also really liked the MoMA. There’s also this place called Poet’s House. It’s a library, but not in a traditional sense. It’s a library dedicated to poetry, so there a lot of poetry books and chap books, which are these self-published booklets of poetry that are really small. So, you can distribute poetry without having to go through a publisher.
Anything else you want us to know? Overall, I think studying away was a good choice. I think it’s a good choice regardless of where the location is because it gives you a new perspective, and you’re momentarily taken out of the pressure to do really well in everything at Duke. Campus culture isn’t a big thing in New York, so you can meet more people. It forces you to be independent and explore, and I really liked that.