Category Archives: Sam

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?

Sam

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?
Sam

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!

Sam

Study Abroad Reflection

Hi everyone!

I just got back to America after four and a half months abroad in Hong Kong.  While I am still navigating the jet lag (it’s a struggle!) I have had some time to think back on what I have learned over the past semester.

Getting to experience college life in another country is wild.  You get to meet your peers from other countries, learn from different teaching styles, and try out a new way of life.  Changing everything, from eating habits to sleeping schedules to living arrangements, is difficult.  But being out of your element gives you a lot of room to grow.

Part of why I wanted to study abroad was to try out life in Hong Kong.  As Production Management is an incredibly global major, there is a chance I might have the opportunity to work abroad in Hong Kong.  And while I loved living there for a few months, there are definitely some things I would have to consider before going there for longer!  Finding healthy food options was hard for me, and I definitely felt the time difference challenges when it came to connecting with friends and family back home.  While I could see myself possibly working abroad, it was good to try it out before taking a larger, more indefinite plunge.

Overall, I would recommend study abroad to anyone who is up for a challenge.  It is not easy, but it sure is rewarding.  Go in with an open mind and you will be surprised by everything!

Best,

Sam

Best of Hong Kong as an Exchange Student!

Hi everyone!

Over the past four and a half months, my friends and I have experienced a lot of great things in Hong Kong. Here are my top suggestions for you if you go abroad in Hong Kong!

Mr Wong’s – $10USD per person

All the beer (and sometimes wine!) you can drink as well as shared plates of Chinese food. Most go with a group to pregame for the horse races (more about those below) or on a weekend before hitting LKF (the main nightlife area). Personally I enjoy just getting to know people better, as it is a fun place to go out and socialize!

The Horse Races – free, with a free beer

Register in advance for the horse races (which run every Wednesday night) using the link for internationals and get free admission and coupon for free beer. Unsurprisingly it’s a big hit with the international crowd and lots of people go every Wednesday. When I went my friends and I placed a few $20HKD bets ($3USD) but it’s also fun to see whose chosen horse wins the race!

Hiking – just pay transit!

One big perk of Hong Kong is the ability to take a hike whenever you want! My favorite was Dragons Back. Once you get there it is free to soak up some fresh air.

Ladies Market – shopping street

Love to bargain? Want a knock off? Need funny souvenirs? Hong Kong has tons of markets but the best in my opinion is Ladies Market in Mong Kok. From fake Supreme shirts to paintings, you have to go and see what you’ll find! Don’t forget to haggle when it comes to pricing.

Flower Market – shopping and browsing

My personal favorite, especially at the beginning of the semester because I was able to pick up several plants for $20HKD ($3) which definitely helped the dorms feel like home. Go right before Chinese New Year to see the sea of luck plants and displays.

Beaches – just pay transit

Hong Kong has tons of beautiful beaches, many of which are easily accessible by public transit, and some which are more of an adventure to reach!  I would recommend Stanley Beach, as it is the easiest to reach and has the best amenities.  However it is fun to explore the options, especially when the weather starts to really heat up!

Those are just a few of the cheap and free things to do in Hong Kong.  If you play your cards right, you can have a fantastic study abroad at a pretty low cost!  I’ll miss the easy access to nature Hong Kong has when I leave.  There is truly so much to do!

Best,

Sam