Author Archives: Samantha

Taking a Foreign Language while Abroad

Hi everyone!

This past semester when I was studying abroad I continued to work on my Japanese minor. While I really enjoyed taking the class in a different country and getting a different perspective, there were some unexpected challenges along the way! Here are some things to consider if you take a language class abroad.

1. Different pace or syllabus
I found that the class I took as a comparable class to Japanese 4 at FIT was a bit behind in grammar, but way ahead in vocab! I knew all the grammar concepts we covered, but definitely had to hustle to catch up on vocab we were expected to know. I would recommend checking the syllabus to see what will be covered, as each teacher has a different teaching pace.  Additionally, we were using a different textbook.  In a language, where everything builds upon itself, knowing where you stand in the classes comprehension is really important!

2. Similarities to local language
Japanese and Cantonese (the local language where I studied) have a lot of overlap in the characters used! Thankfully the professor understood that I hadn’t been writing in the system since primary school, and allowed me to use other systems of writing. I did try my best to study as many characters as possible while there, even though we were not tested on them like we are at FIT. If you find you’re behind in an area, be sure to discuss with your professor and do your best to catch up.

3. More opportunities to practice!
In NYC I barely get a chance to speak Japanese, but while I was abroad I got to travel and test my speaking abilities! This was by far the most beneficial experience for me, I learned I still have a long ways to go when it comes to numbers- which is good to know. I can now focus more studying on that.

It can be really difficult to take a language where local students have more experience in it.  My friends taking Mandarin ran into a lot of issues, since Cantonese and Mandarin are a lot closer than English and Mandarin.  They definitely had to work even harder to make sure they kept up!  Once you get past the first level of a language, the classes do get more challenging, but I think learning a second (or third!) language is worth the extra effort you have to put in.

Overall, I would really recommend taking a language as a minor at FIT, and working on it while you are abroad if you have the chance.  It is a lot of work sometimes, but it looks great on your resume, and being able to communicate with someone you might not have been able to is incredibly rewarding.

What language would you minor in?


Fun on a Budget in NYC

Hi everyone!

Even if you have only visited NYC, you’ll notice how quickly costs add up! When you’re a student on a tight budget, this can make having fun seem like an expensive treat. However, there are many fun things to do for little to no cash.

Free Museum Days
Many NYC museums have free days, or nights when you can pay as you wish. If there’s one you’re interested in going to, check on their website. They even might have student discounts or special events. MoMA has free admission for SUNY students (which means an FIT id gets you in for free!) and many other places have similar arrangements.

Cheap Eats
Want to go out with friends on a budget? I would recommend grabbing dollar slice pizza and taking it to a park, or checking out Chinatown. The good eats abound in Chinatown, my friends and I are really big fans of Shanghai Dumpling on Mott St. Get their soup dumplings- it’ll change your life and the shared plates system means you get to try a lot of things while paying less than you would for one meal out most places.

Take a Walk
When I first moved to NYC, I would walk EVERYWHERE! Since where I worked was a 30 minute walk, instead of taking the subway I would just grab my sneakers and go on foot. It’s great exercise, and saved me quite a bit in the long run. Additionally, it’s one of my favorite ways to find new places in the city. Passing by a cafe or cool shop while walking gives you the freedom to pop in for a bit and check it out. Save on metro fees and turn on a podcast to go – the savings do add up!

Picnic in the Park
Enjoy a nice day in the park with friends! Grab some snacks or make a few sandwiches and hang out in one of NYC’s many parks. Bring a deck of cards and a speaker and enjoy the outdoors!

College Student Potluck
My personal favorite- instead of everyone bringing a full dish to share, each person brings an ingredient and everyone cooks together. It’s a lot easier than finding time to prepare in advance and it makes for a cheap and easy dinner! My friends and I have made pizza (one person grabs crust, the other sauce, etc) and sushi amongst other things.

These are just a few ways to have fun on a budget! As much as I love a good $5 latte (oops), there are so many ways to enjoy the city and hang out with friends on the cheap.

What ways have you found to have fun on a budget?

Tokyo Trip

Hi everyone! Last month after wrapping up exams me and my friends from FIT studying abroad as well took a fantastic trip to Tokyo. It was so much fun! Here are the highlights and recommendations.

Maid Cafe

My personal favorite! As far as I know, Japan is the only place in the world where you can have this experience. The maid cafe we ended up at was super cute, and they even gave us cat ears to wear while we dined! We got a Polaroid with the maid that took care of us- she was super sweet and did her best to communicate with us.

Takeshita Street

Harajuku’s main shopping thoroughfare, this street in lined with tons of shops bursting with color, patterns and fun. Make sure to get a crepe if you go!!

Puri Kura

While you’re on Takeshita Street, pop into a photo booth to take some pics! For about $4USD you can take, edit and print super kawaii pictures. This was our favorite activity in Tokyo, and we may or may not have gone over 5 times.

Itoya Stationary Store

Floor after floor of stationary supplies! If you like school supplies, planners or anything crafty, you will have a field day in this store!

Tower Records in Shibuya

Love music? This is the place for you! Each floor has a different genre, from all around the world. Look for the headphone stations, where you can sample music from selected CDs. Their store merch is really cool too.

Check out a Baseball Game!

We got standing tickets to see the Tokyo Giants play the Hanshin Tigers, which was a blast! Japanese baseball fans go hard when it comes to dressing up and cheering for their teams. It was a Wednesday night but the stands were packed.

Vintage Shop in Koenji

I’ve never seen so many cool little vintage shops in one area before! Just keep walking and you’ll keep finding spots to shop. The vibe is very really laid back and it has a very neighborhood feel.

There was so much to do in Tokyo and over our 9 days there we did quite a bit, but these are truly my favorite things we got to experience.  I look forwards to going back someday, hopefully soon!



Summer Goals!

Hi everyone!

Special summer post here. This break I’ll be interning here in NYC, and I hope to get lots of experience but also have lots of fun! I have 3 goals I’ve set so as to get the most of my next 3 months.

1. Go to Meetings!

As an intern you may or may not get invited along to meetings. Personally throughout my intern experience I haven’t gotten to attend many, so this summer I want to go to as many as possible to start seeing how they run and how they function. In order to achieve this, I’ve asked my boss to bring me along and this week alone I’ve been to four! It never hurts to ask, especially for something relatively small.

2. Make a social plan every weekend!

It’s easy to get home from work Friday night and just hibernate and do chores and errands all weekend, especially since going out with friends usually means a long haul on the train. But I want to fully enjoy this summer, which means going out and enjoying my friends and the freedom of summer. Also, I’ve been enjoying hosting my friends! Last weekend I had fellow blogger Henry over for dinner and banana bread muffin baking. It was loads of fun!

3. Stay learning

While a break from school is great, I really want to take advantage of the time to study more Japanese. Getting to use the bit I know when traveling to Japan last month was amazing, and I want to know more! I’ve been using Memrise, and really enjoy the app. I paid for the premium version and study offline on the train to and from work.

I think these 3 goals are a good focus for my summer, aside from interning and getting a break from college. Setting up plans and sticking to them is a rewarding feeling as well!

Do you have any summer goals?

Til next time,

Summer Plans Ahead!

Hi everyone!

This semester flew by for me and now it is time for summer!  This summer I will be interning for Madewell, which is owned by J Crew, in their Long Island City office!  I will be doing Production Management for them, which even though it is my major I have never technically interned in- I’ve always done Product Development, my future dream job. I’m excited to see how a larger company does production, as most of the production work I have helped with has been for luxury or small businesses.

I worked at Madewell all during my freshman year as a sales support associate, so it really does feel full-circle to return to them for my senior summer.  I look forwards to putting all my brand knowledge to good use in corporate, and getting feedback from my peers still at the retail stores!  Working retail in high school and college is a great way to get your foot in the door at potential future corporate employers- find a company you admire and see if they are looking for retail workers. It can give you a big upper hand when it comes to internships down the road, and looks great on your resume.

Aside from work, I hope to go to a Yankees game and Coney Island!  I’d also love to have a few picnics with friends, and check out the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  Since last summer I spent my time in LA, I look forwards to getting some NYC summer living in.

I have the summer off from blogging, but I look forwards to hopefully updating you all in the fall about what I learned and did.

Have a great summer!