Looking to Save Money Studying Abroad? These Scholarships May Apply To You!

SUNY Oswego offers many international scholarships to its students for various study abroad programs. Many of these scholarships are awarded to multiple students every semester. I personally have applied for the GETGO Scholarship and was awarded $500 towards my quarter course trip. The requirement for this was a 20 minute presentation about my trip abroad. All international scholarships have different requirements but it is worth looking into and applying! Below is the link for all of the international scholarships SUNY Oswego offers:

https://www.oswego.edu/international/scholarships

 

Good luck applying!

The Flamenco

I have never been more proud to be living in Spain until this moment. On March 8th (International woman’s day) I had the opportunity to see the unbelievable Sara Baras dance Flamenco at the Nuevo Apolo Theater. We stood outside the polished theater, show lights sparkling, wondering what awaited us inside. We sat in red velvet seats surrounded by native Spanish flamenco lovers; our American ignorance was all over us. The lights dimmed and a single spot light appeared on the stage showing the one and only Sara Baras in a beautiful dress, she started off very slowly, taping her feet and swinging her dress. But as the energy and anticipation grew, she got faster and faster and as the music grew stronger our faces brightened. The crowd was silent, except for the occasional Olay, but rightfully so, the performance was breathtaking.

She danced many different types of Flamenco, some with big dresses that she spun around, made shorter or longer and used as if it was part of her. She danced tango with a man, Jose Serrano, that depicted love and hate all at the same time. But what was most interesting to me was the dynamic between the dancers and musicians. They cheered each other on during their individual performances and when Baras did an interpretation (making her dance up on the spot) the musicians were right on cue with what she was going to do next, making sure the music and feet matched. The dancers used the different types of Flamenco in a special way that allows for them to show their own identity and interpretation but also keeping the traditions from generations past. That is one of the most important things about the dance, remembrance. During each dance style change, a recording was played from different famous flamenco dancers expressing their feelings about flamenco and why it is so special.The dance originated from gypsies living in Spain (also has roots from the middle east) to express the oppression they felt at the time. Throughout the dance, you can see the mix between the feelings of romance and desperation to freedom and suffering. The emotions embedded in the dance are what make it so powerful.

Dare I call myself Spanish for living in Spain for 3 months… no. But the feeling I had walking out that theater was nothing less than Spanish patriotism… Olay!

 

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Sal y Ven or Sal y Sue?

Let’s get one thing straight. The majority of students who study abroad are young, don’t speak the language and don’t know anything about living in a foreign country. This being said, when SUNY Oswego recommended that we find housing through an agency called Sal y Ven, we blindly trusted that would be the best thing to do. Well we were wrong.

We were placed into an apartment that previously had problems with the student tenants who lived there the semester before us. Those same students had warned us that the landlord was rude and that the people living in the apartment complex gave them a hard time. We took this warning with a grain of salt; those students could have been loud and maybe didn’t speak Spanish so communication could have been hard. Again we were wrong. From the moment we moved in there were rules, no socializing in the kitchen past 11pm, no using the water past 11pm, no visitors, no noise, no mail can be received to the apartment, no locking the bedrooms etc. We accepted these rules and moved on, living as quietly and respectfully as possible. Then the complaints started. The landlord received two complaints about us; one was that we threw a party… on a weekend that the four of us were in Budapest. The second complaint was to the agency Sal y Ven that said that the people in the building were going to sue the landlord if we did not move out of the apartment.

When we were told we had to move they included that it was not our fault it was the fault of the landlord. Well if it’s not our fault then why are we the ones being punished? We signed a contract to live in the apartment until May, no one, not the landlord or Sal y Ven should break that. The agency knew that there were problems in the past with this landlord so we should never have been placed there to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, we did not want to live the way we were in that apartment, but moving after we had just settled in was a big burden.

We got over the fact we had to move and went to go see an apartment that Sal y Ven said we could move right into. They had said that this was the only available option for us if we wanted to stay together. We were shocked when we saw the place they wanted us to live. It was 1/3 of the size of our other apartment and had no kitchen. HAD NO KITCHEN! They expected us to pay the same rent and live in an apartment with no kitchen for 4 months. It was rude that they even sent us to see that apartment.

That’s when we decide to take things into our own hands. We wrote an email to all party’s involved, SUNY Oswego study abroad advisor, the director in Spain and Sal Y Ven. we explained that we felt that we were being taken advantage of and it was not fair for us to have to move. It was not our problem that the people in the apartment complex did not like our landlord and we wanted some compensation for having to leave. Sal Y Ven wrote back explaining it was not their fault and that we could go live in another apartment for one month until they could find us another place…thus moving twice in 2 months. This was the best/ only option for us so we agreed.

We never heard back from SUNY Oswego, not even after the first move just to make sure everything was okay. That was the biggest disappointment, they were supposed to be on our side and let us down.

Moral of the story, do your research, ask questions, don’t blindly go into anything especially if they have had problems in the past. Don’t trust everything the school tells you and stick up for yourself because when we finally did it was too late.

Broken Abroad

After about two weeks of painfully walking around beautiful Sydney, I decided it was time to get a ct scan. And well it’s official, I fractured my heel.

I’ve been making the most out of this series of unfortunate events, however. This past weekend, CAPA rallied up the students to feed happy kangaroos and pet a furry koala at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. I’m so glad I decided to go rather than stay in my room sulking; feeding that roo was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Afterwards our group was carted over to The Blue Mountains to see the iconic Three Sisters. I wasn’t able to hike the trails but I was able to appreciate the amazing views from lookouts and the railway cars. I am grateful CAPA has been so accommodating and comforting in this overwhelming time.

I am trying to be as positive as I can be while paired up with crutches and a boot. It’s hard, especially since I’ve been to the doctors more than I’ve been to the beach. BUT the sunshine brings me comfort and the salty air clears my mind. Only three more weeks with my hardware and then I’m a free woman!

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G’Day Mate

After 20+ hours on a tightly squeezed airplane, I lug my suitcases in the 96 degree heat to the taxi van. With a sigh of relief I can’t help but squeal, “I made it,” to the taxi driver.

CAPA had our next few days planned out for us; between scavenger hunts, field trips and jet lag it’s safe to say I was a zombie by the third day. It was hard to find the energy to be social and hold conversations with my classmates. That was until I finally had a long nights rest and I began to feel like myself again.

On Saturday, the 21st, I had a free day since my internship, at DEC Public Relations, wasn’t scheduled to begin until Tuesday. So, a few of my roommates and I ventured to the infamous Bondi Beach. We soaked up the Aussie sun and made sure to avoid the Blue Bottle jellyfish in the cobalt water. I was a little too adventurous that day and hurt my foot while exploring the Bondi Cliffs. Although the view from the walk was worth it, it was very hard the next day feeling immobile in such a beautiful country. I trekked to the General Practitioner and had to get an X-ray to reassure me (and my mom on the other side of the globe) that there wasn’t a serious injury. Thankfully, nothing was fractured, especially since walking is our main source of transportation in Sydney. I am still healing but I hope to be fully recovered this week.

Tuesday I was introduced to the office culture in the Central Business District at DEC PR. The streets in CBD are full of beautiful men and women dressed to impress. I thoroughly enjoy commuting to work and being apart of a “team.” I have already learned so much in the two days I’ve worked at DEC and I am so excited to see what the next 12 weeks brings.

It is nice to start being placed into a routine again. I am grateful my days are so busy because I feel as though I am making the most of every day I have here. Yes, I do miss home but I know I will see everyone in just a few short weeks. Therefore I plan on seeing everything and anything I can before I head to the Sydney Airport at the end of April. I am grateful for this spectacular opportunity and I’m excited to share my experiences with you. Thanks for tuning in.fullsizer-1 fullsizer-2 fullsizer img_2768 img_2772 img_2778 img_2787 img_2802

Australia Bound

After a nice meal and a few tears, my family sent me off to the security checkpoint. My heart is pounding out of my chest. The day has finally come; I will soon be boarding my plane to Australia.

Hello everyone, I’m Lydia and I will be studying and interning through CAPA, The Global Education Network, in Sydney. I am filled with excitement and prepared for the unknown. Yes, living in a foreign country for five months may seem daunting. However, in order to grow as an individual, one must be pushed out of their comfort zone. The next post you read will be posted from the “Land Down Under.” See you soon America, you will be missed!

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