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Recap: International Education Week!


A flyer featuring our IEW events

To celebrate the experience of international education—as well as the contributions of the international students who enrich our education here at Skidmore—our community came together this past week to share our educational experiences from around the world. Last Wednesday, we celebrated Global Skidmore Day, in honor of the global education which has nuanced so many of our perspectives and tangibly impacted the way we interact with our studies.


Last Thursday night, OCSE hosted a photo gallery in Spa to feature some of the wonderful student submissions we received for our annual study abroad photo contest. The photos represented the experiences of Skidmore students in countries ranging from England to Jordan to South Korea, and offered glimpses into the cultures that have furthered their intellectual pursuits at home and abroad. We had a great turn out—thanks to everyone who stopped by to share some sweet treats and abroad adventures!

IMG_3900 IMG_3898 IMG_3915

Additionally, to express our support and solidarity for Paris, a city which many of our students and faculty call their adopted home, we encouraged the Francophone community on campus to bring photos of Paris to the gallery event. The following day, we decorated a column outside Burgess cafe with the photos, in honor of the lives lost in the recent attacks.



Keep an eye out for upcoming emails regarding our Student Blogger positions for next semester! Help further our community of globally educated students by blogging about your study abroad experience. Here are the links to our current student blogs:

Congrats to the 2015 Photo Contest Winners!

Off-Campus Study & Exchanges is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 OCSE Photo Contest. OCSE received over 200 photos from students that studied off-campus during the 2014-15 academic year. Photos were submitted in one of four categories: My City, My Self(ie), My Host Culture, & My Studies. A first-place winner was selected for each category. A Best in Show award was also given for the best overall photo. Here are the winners!

Cuba_Trinidad_Dorothea Trufelman_Cuban SunsetWinner of the “Best in Show” category.
“Cuban Sunset” was taken by Dorothea Trufelman while studying on the NYU Tisch Special Program in Cuba.


Winner of the “My City” category.
“London’s Light and Dark” was taken by Leila Farrer while visiting London. She studied abroad in Denmark with DIS Abroad.

Ghana_Accra_Anna Sand_Friends at the Twin Ceremony

Winner of the “My Self(ie)” category.
“Friends at the Twin Ceremony” was taken by Anna Sand while studying on the CIEE program in Ghana-Legon.

India_Jaipur_Eliza Dumais_Dadi-Ji

Winner of the “My Host Culture” category.
“Dadi-Ji” was taken by Eliza Dumais while studying on the SIT program in Jaipur, India.

Jordan_Petra_Corinna Goodman_Absorbing Jordan's History at World Wonder Petra

Winner of the “My Studies” category.
“Absorbing Jordan’s History at World Wonder Petra” was taken by Corinna Goodman while studying on the CIEE Diplomacy and Policy program in Amman, Jordan.

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted photos! It was such a pleasure to see all that you experienced abroad. We’ll be featuring some honorable mentions on our website and Instagram (@globalskidmore) shortly!

OCSE Blogger Feature

“I am writing this on a Sunday night and Paris is sleeping. On Sundays, at around one in the afternoon, all shops begin tucking themselves in. Restaurants, boutiques, bars, cafés, patisseries: all close their eyes until Monday. You can even hear the streets sigh.”

         ~Claire Foster, ’17


You won’t be surprised to learn that Claire Foster is an English and French double major. Her blog, Lettres de Claire Louise, is addicting — her writing is studded with sparkling French phrases and insightful observations on cultural differences. She catalogues her immersion with a compelling immediacy, exploring the language and the lay of the land in every post. In an attempt to live vicariously through her while awaiting her next post, I interviewed her via email:

Hi, Claire! So you’re currently studying abroad on the Skidmore in Paris program. Why Paris? What inspired you to go for the year instead of a semester? Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with the city and the language prior to studying there?  

This is my first time in Paris, and the adjustment has been surprisingly easy! I knew very little of the city before coming. In fact, I had a very hard time conceptualizing what life would look like here. Over the summer, I was unable to fantasize about my forthcoming year–I simply could not (or would not) imagine. I was convinced that research would lead to disenchantment. Paris was, to me, nothing but a nebulous and vaguely-shaped half-idea.

Now that I am finally here, the fog has cleared. I feel as though I am falling into a familiar rhythm here–I breathe easier in cities–and feel very alive. As much as I love Skidmore, the small campus often suffocates my urban sensibilities. Paris, on the other hand, is one of the grandest grande-villes in the world. There are world-class symphonies and breathtaking ballet companies. Beautiful art is as ubiquitous as a métro stop.

Even though I just began learning French last year, I have always admired the language. I am staying for the full year because I really want to feel French–and Paris–in my bones. (When else in my life will I have the opportunity to live in the fifth arrondissement of Paris for a year?)

The dream of reading Barthes or Duras in their native tongue is actually what impelled me to begin formally learning the language. That, and the Charlemagne quote: “To have another language is to possess a second soul.”

How has the level of French you arrived with affected your semester so far? Any lost-in-translation moments you’d like to share? (I know I had plenty). Living with a homestay family shaped my language progression above all else–has that been true for you as well?

I arrived in France merely with FF203 under my belt, as I only began French last year. I am fortunate, though, because nearly everyone else in the Skidmore program has been taking French classes through high school and college, and is therefore much more proficient in the language. It has humbled me to be surrounded nearly-exclusively by others whose French is more advanced than my own. Nothing is more motivating than being perpetually behind the beat.

I am also fortunate because my host mother is Italian, and therefore very good at slowing down her French for a non-native speaker. Conversations with her are always gratifying, as so much linguistic growth can happen in one day: suddenly, in her sentences, I will hear words or grammatical structures I have recently learned about in class–and finally understand their place and significance. Language is a thrilling game to master.

To narrow down all my linguistic faux-pas to one example was a harrowing and humbling task, but I’ve done it:

Towards the beginning of my stay here, I was going to a lot of museums on weekends (that is, before I realized that during the weekdays is a much smarter idea…). I would return to grammar class on Monday and our professor would ask us all what we did over the weekend. When it came to be my turn, I said how my weekend was full of exhibitions–je suis allée à beaucoup d’exhibitions! I knew that I hadn’t said what I wanted to say when I saw a good-natured smile creep onto the professor’s face. She then told me that the word for exhibition in French is exposition. In French, exhibition connotes sexual exposure. This is a pair of faux amis–false friends-that always gets me into trouble.

How is blogging for the Skidmore OCSE office going so far? Does it play a role in how you interact with the city at all?

I was so enthusiastic about the blogger position because I think it has forced me to grow as a writer and observer. There is something special about achieving a degree of separation with certain experiences as they happen to you, the separation that comes from knowing you will have to cull from your memories–memories that are being created in this moment–that which is most artistically useful, interesting…dare I say true? In this sense, crafting new experiences into written accounts helps to solidify my sense of being. With the responsibility of keeping a blog, I feel as though my experiences are rendered even richer, as I am obliged live actively and consciously. Maintaining a blog has raised my standard of writing—a benefit for both my personal standards as a writer and as a student abroad in Paris.

How is studying in Paris supplementing your education here at Skidmore? In what ways do you think your experiences abroad will enhance and fuel what you learn on campus?

I know that when I return to Skidmore, the time gained will feel like a dream. As easy as the métro system in Paris is, nothing can compare to rolling out of bed, grabbing a coffee,  and making it to class in fewer than ten minutes. “Skidmore time” is a luxury that I will never again take for granted.  Moreover, my glimpse into the French education system has obviously shifted my outlook on the American system. It is such a privilege to be able to profit from both institutions/philosophies and be able to compare and contrast. Finally, and most importantly, I’ve adopted a kind of intellectual autonomy–imposed by the French system–since I began studying in Paris, and know that I will be taking this with me to Skidmore upon my return next fall.

In Paris, I am able to do everything I could on the Skidmore campus, but on a grander scale. I am now taking violin lessons at a conservatory, seeing classic films at the cinéma, and buying books at Shakespeare & Co. rather than Northshire. Life feels surprisingly normal here. Hugo wrote in Les Miserables that “to study in Paris is to be born in Paris,” and I can attest to that.

Be sure to read more on her blog!


OCSE Photo Contest Submissions

Submissions to the annual Skidmore OCSE Photo Contest are currently being reviewed! Here’s a look at some of the wonderful, wanderlust-y photos we’ve received:




Locations: Copenhagen, Denmark; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; London, England; Paris, France; Himalayas, India; Wadi Rum, Jordan; China; Ferrara, Italy; Venice, Italy; Ahmedabad, India

Photo Credit (in order of appearance): Leila Farrer; Elena Veatch; Leah Docktor; Anna Tashie; Dominique Ramirez; Eliza Dumais; Corinna Goodman; Madeleine Conover; Sukie Emerson; Katie Pazienza; Emma Giles; Emily Knickerbocker; James Rider

Thanks to the students for sharing their work!

Annual OCSE Photo Contest!!

Open to all students who studied off-campus in 2014-15! This year we have brand new categories, and more categories means more chances to win. Each category will have a $100 prize winner, and there will be a $200 PRIZE for the Best in Show category.

My Self(ie)
Submit photos of yourself or other students on your program during your off-campus study. Special consideration given to photos highlighting students interacting with the local culture, with their homestay family, or for creative selfies.DCIM100GOPRO

My City
Capture the atmosphere of your program location or the place(s) you visited during your off-campus study. Photos can include landmarks, landscapes, scenes from daily life (such as bustling local markets or commuting crowds), local residents, etc. Special consideration given to photos taken in the city or town you lived in.Morocco_Lauren Bosche_Water Delivery in the Medina_2014

My Host Culture
Submit photos that best exhibit your city’s cultural celebrations or traditions, such as national holidays, performances, regional cuisine, routine family gatherings, or ceremonies.Spain_Valencia_Dan Plumer_Feria en la calle_2014

My Studies
Show us what the “study” part of studying off-campus looks like! Photos could feature (but are not limited to) your school, action shots of fieldwork, long-term projects you completed, and you or other students volunteering or working in the local culture. China_Lanzhou_Katie Amo_first day_2014

Best in Show
The best photograph, regardless of category, as determined by the judging committee.

Students may submit up to five (5) photos across all categories.

DEADLINE: October 12, 2015

visit our website for more info:

Follow our Instagram (@globalskidmore) to view the submissions as they come in!



Come to Speed Advising!

Thinking about studying abroad? Want FREE pizza?? Come eat & talk with students who’ve participated in programs across the globe and learn more about what’s right for you! In one hour, you could learn about up to 20 different programs from our study abroad returnees. Bring an appetite and an open mind! 

speed advising flyerpizza

Where: 2nd floor Dhall

When: Thursday, October 8, 2015, 7-8pm






Trusty Tips on Where to Go and What to Do There

Wondering what to pack for your sojourn abroad? Looking for authentic cuisine, new exhibits, local concerts or free events? Look no further: whether you’re preparing to study off-campus or you’re already there, here are the best websites to keep you updated on what’s happening in your city right now.

Time Out:IMG_2426

One-stop shop for all your cultural curiosities. Pick a city, then a category: things to do, restaurants, bars, theater, music, art, shopping. New events and discounted tickets are posted regularly, so be sure to check back often. Search by neighborhood, popularity, or price range (i.e. restaurants in Soho; top 10 restaurants in NYC)–you’ll find whatever it is you’re looking for, and likely some new spots to add to your list as well.

P.S.: check out their list of the 50 Best Travel Apps

Lonely Planet:IMG_2431

Fan of the old-fashioned travel guide, but not of the extra five pounds in your luggage? Go digital! Lonely Planet, my trusty travel companion, has one of the most aesthetically pleasing websites on the internet, in my humble opinion. Search by city to find precise and personal guides, covering all the tried-and-true hot spots; search by purpose (family travel, adventure, group tour, budget, sightseeing, etc.) to find professional recommendations tailored to your travel plans.


The ‘places’ tab on Instagram is one of the most underrated (not to mention interactive) ways to explore your local community. Looking to meet new people in a foreign city? See who’s recently posted in your area and reach out by commenting on their account! Everyone pushes their comfort zone while travelling–stay smart and stay safe, but stay social, too.

Beyond showing you who’s around, ‘places’ features what’s around as well–scroll through photos tagged at local restaurants, museums, monuments, and other venues. Look up nearby restaurants to see photos of their food, or local museums to see photos tagged at recent exhibitions. If you’re wondering how to pack or what to wear, peek at the outfits of people who’ve tagged photos near you. Social media is only as social as you make it.

Comment below if you have any other trusty sources for making the most of your time off-campus!

Welcome Back Ice Cream Social









Did you like studying off-campus? Do you love free ice cream? If so, then join us from 4-6pm this Thursday in the ICC Lounge (2nd floor of Case Center) to catch up with fellow study abroad returnees and chat about your travels! (Did we mention the free ice cream??)

Back to School

Labor Day Weekend came and went, but the humidity is here to stay. It feels incongruous with the first day of school—a fresh start calls for fresh air, no? Campus is buzzing with the heady potential of the year ahead and New Year’s-style resolutions: I will get straight A’s, be proactive on long-term projects, join the Outing Club and go rock climbing, and I will get a job and still make time for weekly dinners with my housemates. Or at least I’ll try.

Many students’ initial intentions include studying abroad, and yet the application process often joins the ranks of those clubs they swore they’d join, or that coffee detox they never quite managed to do. With each week, the commitments to classes and campus build up, and application deadlines arrive as quickly as this past weekend.

With our new online application system, studying abroad is easier than ever. Don’t let the process daunt you—come in during our walk-in hours (Mon-Fri, 1-4pm) to find the program that’s right for you!

We look forward to meeting you—stay tuned for useful tips and tricks about pre-departure, making the most of your time abroad, and re-entry from our study abroad returnees.

And They’re Off!

While we eagerly await your return to campus, many of your fellow classmates have already arrived to their study abroad destination for the semester or academic year!! Want to keep up with what some of them are up to?! Here are the new bloggers for OCSE:

Also fun to read:

Are you still trying to decide where you’d like to spend your semester or year abroad? Come see us! We start our walk-in advising next week: M-F, 1-4pm.

Did you just return from your time abroad?! Come see us!! We missed you:)

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