Start envisioning your study away experience

Are your bags already packed? Or are you uncertain about studying away? In either case, you probably crave an idea of what it’s really like to do this. In the Student Experience articles, you will find tips, tricks, and student stories to give you an idea of what to expect on a study away experience – along with some advice for handling the unexpected! 

Piecing Together the Memories: Bri's Senior Year Reflection

Coming to Duke, Briana Kleiner didn't know what the future would hold, but she knew Duke held the promise of memorable experiences that would last a lifetime. Now in her senior year, Briana reflects back on the tailored path she ended up creating, the ups and downs of trying to find her way, the global opportunities she dedicated her heart and mind to pursuing, and the resulting confident individual she is proud to be today. 

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Rebecca's Childhood Dream Fulfilled on Duke in Rome

"By the 8th grade, I was practically a human encyclopedia of information about Ancient Rome. So, in short, this program allowed me to delve further into a civilization which had fascinated me for years. It was amazing to visit these places as a tourist—but the Duke program allowed me to view the area through a scholarly lens. I watched history come alive."
 

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Kara on Duke in NY Arts and Media: Well Worth the Risk

“Living in and exploring New York City – largely on foot – definitely made me more independent and confident in myself. Working an internship in marketing showed me that I could handle myself successfully in the 'real world' outside of Duke."
 

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Duke in Aix-en-Provence: A Brave New World for Antonio

"When I learned about Duke en Aix, I was determined to be accepted into the program. I’m a quiet and shy person, but I promised myself that if I got into the program I would be open to new experiences. I wanted to immerse myself in the French culture and be more sociable with the people around me.”
 

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Max Recounts Paris Experience: The Language and the Land

“I am certainly more fluent in reading and hearing French than I was previously, even now that it has been three years since I had any French instruction. Taking the classes at French universities also helped to improve my writing, since the writing style is extremely regimented in philosophy classes there.”
 

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What Happened in Madrid...Prepared Marissa for a Lifetime

“I was surprised by the rigor of my program, which really helped me rapidly improve my Spanish. I essentially took Spanish 204 – a semester-long course offered at Duke – in two months."
 

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Sarah on Duke Middle East in Europe: Scholarly Passion Secured

“This program confirmed my interest in working on the human rights side of migration. Advocating for and finding solutions to protect economic, social, and cultural rights is what I plan to pursue in my long-term career."
 

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Shaina Lubliner: Finding Confidence in Chicago

"The professional artists I met during Duke in Chicago became my mentors and have been extremely useful when I’ve been looking for jobs. The friends I made on the program continue to be wonderful collaborators and supporters. This program allowed me to add a second major in Theater Studies and it gave me a better sense of how I can continue to be an artist after college.”
 

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Megan's Russian Summer: Building Skills and Breaking Regional Stereotypes

"St. Petersburg is an incredibly vibrant city with museums, architecture, and a bustling city life—no American city even comes close to matching it!"
 

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Eleanor Strand in Sri Lanka: New Insight on Global Health

“This program was part of the reason why I decided to make global health a second major. I was originally going to minor in it, but thanks to courses at Duke and this experience abroad, I realized I loved global health and global development enough to add another major."
 

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Kangaroos, Koalas, and Cool New Interests

"Through Duke in Australia, I got to experience the outdoors and environmental sciences in a way that isn’t possible in a traditional classroom. The skills I gained doing fieldwork have translated into all other sorts of experiments and research on campus."
 

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The "Real Italy"

"It sounds cliche, but being abroad is about opening yourself up to new experiences and living in the present moment. If the present moment has you sprinting through the Bologna Train Station to catch a last-minute train to Ferrara on a random Wednesday night, then you're doing something right."
 

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Surprises and Highlights of Jessica's Parisian Summer

"It was truly a learning experience through and through, I was constantly learning the language, the environment and culture, and also about myself and how to push myself out of my comfort zone. The highlight of my trip, among many amazing experiences, was building a relationship with my host family throughout the six weeks."
 

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Accommodating Disabilities on Study Away Programs

The Duke University Global Education Office (GEO) works closely with Duke’s Student Disability Access Office (SDAO) to help students – both Duke students and non-Duke students – with disabilities request and receive approved accommodations on study away programs to the extent that they can be arranged.
 

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World Situation FAQ: How GEO Monitors and Assesses Security Conditions

The safety and security of Duke students studying away is the first priority for Duke University. Using trusted sources of information and analysis, we are constantly monitoring and assessing the security conditions in and around our study away sites.
 

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International SOS (ISOS): Emergency and Travel Assistance Service

Duke has contracted with a travel assistance company called International SOS (ISOS), which provides emergency assistance and other services for all students (both Duke and non-Duke students) studying abroad on Duke programs. Learn what services are offered and how to make the most of this benefit.
 

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Laptop and Smartphone Security

It is easy to carry a laptop or smartphone around; but, unfortunately, it is just as easy for thieves to steal one. In the seconds it takes you to turn around to greet a friend in a coffee shop, a thief can pick up and make off with your valuables. Bottom line: You need to guard your laptop and phone as closely as you guard your wallet.

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Five Ways to Help Your Student Succeed on Study Away

As a parent or family member of a student preparing to study away, there are a few key things you can do to contribute to the success of the experience. In this post, we share our top five recommendations for parents and families.
 

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Pre-Departure Checklist for Summer Study Away Programs

Calling all list lovers! From academics to finances to safety, this list will walk you through key things you need to consider before you take off for your summer study away program. You should begin working to complete the items on this list as soon as you are enrolled in a summer program.
 

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Smart Things You Can Do To Avoid Unsafe Situations

Just like in the United States, it is important that you are vigilant and take commonsense precautions to safeguard yourself while on your study away program. There are proactive steps you can take to make your situation as safe as possible.
 

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Study Away Programs Bridge Global Health Co-Majors

Global health students credit study away for bringing their co-majors together in interesting ways.
 

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Lauren's Semester of a Lifetime on ICCS-Rome

"I met Classics students that I was able to share my passion for the ancient world with, make nerdy jokes with across the streets of Italy, and make friendships that have already lasted beyond the timeframe of the program. The ancient world has never seemed more alive than when I was with my fellow students..."

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Study Away Programs Offering Coursework with an Internship, Research, or Independent Study Component

If you are an undergraduate looking for an internship, research opportunity, independent study program, or other practicum experience, check out the options available through courses on study away programs.
 

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Ask Away: Q+A with Duke Students about Study Away

Get ready to 'Ask Away'! This series of events and resources will help you connect with alumni of various study away programs. Check out the new GEO Peer Advisors, Q+A videos, student panel events, and a searchable directory of 190+ ambassadors!
 

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Jabril Wilson's Duke in Ghana Summer

"Without this study abroad experience, I would have still been indecisive about my path here at Duke. Now, I am on the right track with research and a senior thesis."

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VIDEO: 'Out in the World' Study Away Q+A with LGBTQ+ Identifying Duke Students

Interested in studying abroad but have questions about LGBTQIA+ topics in an international context? In this video, a panel of Duke students who have studied abroad talk about their experience as an LGBTQIA+ identifying person outside of the U.S.
 

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My Duke in Paris Experience

"Biggest takeaway: the world is mine. In Paris, I became so comfortable with the city by the end of my six weeks there that I could navigate the Paris alone with no trouble. Strangers were surprised when I told them I was American. It was quite the empowering experience and I realized I really loved big cities!" 

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Study Away Program Recommendations by Major

Looking for a study away experience with an emphasis on courses in your major? Use these guides to browse study away/abroad opportunities by major. Download the sheet for your major for a quick guide to summer and semester programs – both Duke-In and Duke-Approved – that GEO recommends for you.  

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Duke in Costa Rica: Linguistics Leads to Global Health

By Cassia Caruth

A linguistics major with a Spanish minor, Cassia Caruth '20 found parallels with her country, Trinidad and Tobago, and discovered new interests in the global health field while studying abroad on the Duke in Costa Rica summer program.

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On a Camel, Kinda Nervous: Bailey's Arab World Journey

"As I return to Duke, the memories of my desert journey will serve as motivation for me to try new classes, meet new people, and join new organizations. To anyone considering studying abroad, go for it. Especially if it makes you a little nervous."
 

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From day-tripper to local: Spending a summer in Venice

During her sophomore fall at Duke, Sujal Manohar took a Venetian Renaissance art history class to satisfy a requirement for the Visual Arts major. She said the class was fascinating and it inspired her to apply for the Duke in Venice summer program so she could experience the culture and art scene firsthand.
 

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U.S.-Based Programs: Try on a New City for Credit

You can have a global experience anywhere in the world, including right here in the U.S. The Duke Global Education Office administers a growing number of U.S.-based study away programs in iconic places such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Alaska, and Silicon Valley.

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Lab with a View: Honing Hands-On Field Research Skills in New Zealand

By Micaela Unda

New Zealand's remarkable natural beauty and the myriad opportunities for relevant, engaging field research inspired Micaela's decision to study abroad at the University of Otago. Her experience delivered all that she sought and more, including a reframed perspective on familiar ideals such as productivity and accomplishment.

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Satisfying a Biology Major Requirement on Duke in Alaska

By Blaire Rikard

The Duke in Alaska program offered Blaire a practical reason to do the program – it fulfilled the Organismal Diversity Biology Area Requirement for her major in biology (pre-med). However, she was pleasantly surprised to find the program also expanded her interests in environmental sustainability, ecology, and conservation, all of which inspired her plans for the following summer.

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Back to Back: How I Studied Abroad Twice in the Same Summer

In the summer after her sophomore year at Duke, Tiffany de Guzman ('19) did two Duke-In summer programs: Duke in Bologna and Duke in Oxford. We asked her to share what motivated her to tackle four credits in one summer and what advice she has for others considering doing the same.

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Katherine on Duke in Madrid: A Family Away From Home

“To be honest, I did not miss the U.S. at all – perhaps in part because there was an election going on – kidding! But really, I did not miss it. I could message or Skype with my friends/family if I needed to, and I think I wrote over 100 postcards while away."
 

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Connecting with Community on Duke in Brazil

The summer between her sophomore and junior year, Setonji Agosa '18 studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro with Duke in Brazil. She explains how improving her conversational Portuguese skills allowed her to immerse herself fully in the dynamic geography, slang, food, and traditions of Brazil. 

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Madeline Taylor on London: Oh, The Things that Bring You to Duke!

"We were sprinting through the streets of London, past 221B Baker Street, past famous historical landmarks, just to catch this production with an actual British rock star playing Jesus. We normally saw shows for class each night, but this one was not on the list. Even though we had a free night, we still chose to go out and see another show. It was a magical performance.”
 

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Frances in Venice: Seeing Food Politics through an Italian Eye

“Studying more of the humanities and stepping away from my usual psychology coursework for a semester really helped me refocus what I'm interested in. I loved the classes on public policy, theater and philosophy that I took in Venice..."
 

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2018 GEOReflects Winners & Finalists

GEOReflects challenges students to examine their time studying away from Duke by bridging artistic expression and educational experience. Through photography and short written pieces, GEOReflects encourages students to use their study abroad/study away experience to develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and of themselves. 

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An Almost Inexplicable Shared Human Experience

By Niisoja Torto

In her TEDTalk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks to the danger of a single story, asserting, “the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” Reflecting now on my study abroad experience in South Africa, I cannot help but attest to the validity of Adichie’s remark.

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Rounding Out The Econ Degree

By Anna Kropf

Before I began my Italian studies at Duke, I might have (admittedly) been on the side of the liberal arts education debate that was confused why so many general education requirements were necessary for graduation. If I knew what I wanted to do, why would I need to take so many classes in other disciplines? But Duke in Bologna pushed me into the realm of “hopeless romantic” for the liberal arts education.

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Mistakes Welcome: Let Go, Learn More

By Lucy St. Charles

Before going to Costa Rica, I was a perfectionist. I never wanted to make a single mistake while I spoke. During the program, it didn’t feel like I was making much progress. For weeks, I’d stumble over what I was trying to say. I didn’t notice a change until my last night...the fear that had been constantly holding me back from making mistakes was gone.

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The Professor Made All the Difference

By Andrew Padilla

I decided to participate in Duke in Costa Rica due to raving reviews from previous students on the program. They talked about how incredibly immersive the program was and how much fun they had. I was looking for a unique way to spend my summer and this program was the perfect opportunity.

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LGBTQ+ Resources

How sexual identities are defined and understood varies between cultures, including the interpretation of what is considered appropriate behavior. This applies to acquaintances as well as platonic and intimate relationships. If you are an LGBTQ student, it is important to understand that openly living your sexual orientation and/or gender identity abroad might be different from what you are accustomed to at home.

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Reflection on a Semester at Duke as a Visiting International Student

By Maja Islam

I can honestly say that the year that I spent at Duke University was not even close to what I imagined it would be – it was actually beyond anything I expected. What I am sure I will always remember are the wonderful people that I had gotten to meet, and the friendships that I have made with people from all over the world. 

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Discovering Cultural Differences in Food Science and Food Policy at CES Maastricht

By Quinn Steven

"I think that this proximity to their food is what inspires Europeans to be more vocal about their food systems and preferences.”

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My Semester in Dublin, Ireland, as a Mechanical Engineering Student

By David Talpalar

I knew when I decided to come to Dublin that I would be in a bustling city with great character. But what I could never have imagined was the relationships that I would make with the locals, the welcoming environment that I would be a part of, and the life in Ireland beyond simply the Dublin city centre. 

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Who says you can’t eat your way through Italy and get course credit for it?

Tara Nagar and Isabella Turchetta are computer science majors at Duke who both chose to spend this semester studying abroad at the Umbra Institute, an American study abroad provider in Perugia, Italy. Read how their classes here have directly influenced life abroad and how this experience has developed their multicultural perspectives. 

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Livin' La Pura Vida

By Harry Liu

The Pura Vida lifestyle is best summed up as the combination of the many daily experiences that Tico has. The experiences I’ve had taught me that in order to fully immerse yourself in and understand a culture, you have to keep an open mind, be flexible, and completely embrace it. In other words, you have to challenge yourself to try new things.

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Paris Host Mom Also a Friend for Madison Mastrangelo

"Not only did my host mom help me with French, she became a good friend, and I always looked forward to our dinners and daily conversations. Before arriving in Paris, I did not anticipate that living with a homestay would play such an integral role in my study abroad experience. I still keep in touch with my host mom, and I am excited to visit her when I return to Paris in the future."
 

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Words That Don’t Translate: Flâner (French)

By Brittany Wong

The verb “flâner” is absolutely essential in Parisian culture, but lacks a real equivalent in English: my best approximation would be “to stroll contemplatively.” Some of my best memories are of calm moments with “livres de poche” in the elegant Jardin du Palais Royal or observing precocious French children in Parc Sainte-Perrine near my homestay.

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A Typical Day Attending the Oldest University in Europe

By Sarah Perrin

Our classes were held in an architecturally and historically rich building that was once part of a monastery, then a penitentiary, until it was finally adopted into the fold of the oldest university in Europe, the University of Bologna.
 

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Las Hogueras: Festival of San Juan

"How incredible is this statue made entirely of paper and wood? During our last week in Alicante, these gigantic hogueras (Spanish for “bonfires”) appeared in the streets almost overnight, blocking major roadways and decorating the city."

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Noah's Midnight Cruise on Duke in Russia

"Studying abroad in St. Petersburg was an unforgettable experience. The classes themselves were interesting and informative, but the city itself became a teacher of incomparable value. Each day of exploration led to new discoveries and adventures. St. Petersburg, a city that is in every way a union of European and Russian culture, invites you to look at both worlds from which it draws influence with a different perspective."
 

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Surprise, You’re Being Live Streamed!

"Let me tell you about that time I spoke useful Chinese for two continuous hours to an audience of 30 … no, wait, I mean 5,000. Four weeks into my summer classes on Duke in China, a Beijing-based study abroad company asked me to speak at their information session for Chinese students intending on applying to American universities."

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Pre-Departure Tips for Parents & Families

What positive steps can parents and families take in advance to help their students prepare for a study away program? GEO offers a brief list of important things you can do now to help.

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Handling Stress and Uncertainty—Both Your Student’s and Your Own!

Congratulations! Your student has chosen to participate in a study away program, a potentially pivotal experience in their intellectual and personal development. The journey will be filled with questions … and we think that’s OK.

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Finance FAQ for Parents & Families

Eliminate unwanted surprises when you understand how the Bursar’s office will handle billing for your student’s term(s) on study away.

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Study Away Myth Busters

Find out the top six things that people get wrong when sharing advice about study abroad/away, from finances to course credits to language requirements.
 

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How To Choose a Study Away Program

When it comes to choosing a study away program, the array of options can be overwhelming. It might seem easier to follow friends’ recommendations, but study away is really about your own path. What are you looking for? What are your academic and personal goals? Here’s a list to get you started with evaluating your needs.

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Sexual Misconduct on Study Away

Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a living and learning community that is free from harassment, violence, and discrimination. Familiarize yourself with Duke’s sexual misconduct policies and the options for reporting, both confidential and non-confidential.

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Things You Can Do to Minimize the Risks of Sexual Misconduct 

Sexual assault and rape are prevalent globally, and no one is immune. While female-identifying students are statistically more susceptible, students of any gender identity should exercise caution and awareness. Sexual assault can happen at any time or place. It is important to remember that sexual violence is never your fault.

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Before You Go: Health & Wellness To-Do Items

This checklist will help you think about your health-related needs and take care of what needs attention before you depart. Things like what to pack, what to do if your routine medical visits falls during your time away, glasses and contacts, prescription medications, and immunizations, to name a few.

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Driving While Abroad

While we strongly recommend that you not drive while abroad, should you choose to do so, you may need a special driving permit, a road permit, or both to drive in certain countries. An international driver’s permit, available from your local automobile association, should be recognized by many countries and may, with your driver’s license, suffice for driving.

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Duke Students Challenge International Educators to Consider Questions About Diversity Abroad

We recently asked student groups on Duke’s campus with a stake in issues of diversity abroad to anonymously submit questions and discussion prompts for the international education community. The questions will be shared with attendees at the annual Diversity Abroad Conference in March.

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Study Abroad in Paris Inspired Daniel's Senior Thesis and Plans for a Ph.D.

"After a semester in Paris, I felt really satisfied with the experience and wanted to practice my French even further; that was why I stayed for the whole year in the City of Light. Some of the courses I took in Parisian universities were so cool, especially a course on the history of French language, where I actually learned Old and Medieval French."

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A Perfect Fit: Duke in Montréal

By Erin Butrico

Duke in Montréal was the perfect fit for my summer. For starters, I decided a bit late in the game that I wanted to major in French. I thought that I would have to overload to get all of my French courses in, but this program helped to fix that problem. Secondly, I loved the idea of an immersive course. I knew that this course was not just a sit-in-the-classroom-and-take-notes kind of thing, but an interactive, hands-on way of learning. 

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Tarela's Graduate Studies Link Back to 'Duke in China' Program

"I wanted to expedite my Mandarin language study in order to achieve proficiency. My global advisor explained that Duke in China was the best way to do so. Within my major, I became interested in learning about China’s global standing in the world but felt I wanted to see the nation for myself."
 

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DUKE CHRONICLE: From CIEMAS to Costa Rica – Duke designs study abroad program for Pratt students

"The University’s new Pratt in Costa Rica program—specially designed for students majoring in biomedical engineering or electrical and computer engineering—is a six-week summer homestay based in San Jose, Costa Rica. Students are required to take a Spanish language course and can choose to take either a bioengineering or a math course."

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Au Revoir, Montréal

By Erin Butrico

I was always the nervous type. I relied on my twin for everything. I used to stand behind her when I was scared. I liked to eat the same food and stick to the same routine. Even though I’m 20 years old now, and I’ve lived without my family for two years at Duke, I was still very nervous when my mom left me for this program. It was the first time that I was living in a city. I had never met these girls before. My French was mediocre. I felt very alone. 

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Duke in Berlin Hosts Pop-Up Photography Exhibition

Duke in Berlin students in Chris Sims’ Documentary Photography course hosted a pop-up art exhibition of their work. The exhibition will travel back to Duke with the students and will be on view in October at the Center for Documentary Studies. 
 

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Finding Family on a Boat in Greece: Kayla Speidel

"Twenty-six people and I lived on this boat for a week, traveling nearly every day to a new island...by the end of this week, we became a true family."

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Connecting Policy, History, and Culture on Duke in Montréal

By Alicia Pak

Through Duke in Montreal, I spent part of July in Quebec City studying economic and cultural development of the region and meeting with such figures as the Minister of International Relations and the U.S. Consul General.

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Mathilde's Summer of Becoming a Madrileña

"I have been learning the Spanish language for 12 years yet I have never used it outside the classroom. Duke in Spain gave me the opportunity to not only become more comfortable with the language but achieve fluency."
 

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A Spanish Excursion: Brandon Dalla Rosa

"I now realize the importance of mixing and understanding different cultures, and will definitely attempt to integrate that into any future job that I find. To any future students studying abroad, all I can say is to let your mind remain open to any possibilities that may occur, no matter how strange."
 

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Gaining Fluency in a Second Foreign Language

"Aix-en-Provence is the ideal locale for six weeks of immersing yourself in French culture and living with a host family. French is my second foreign language (I’m an English and Spanish double major) and this intensive course has been exactly what I need—the highlight of my experience has been gaining confidence in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing French!"
 

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Breakfast on the Farm

"I spent my Christmas break working on a farm to pay for my stay in the south of France. The first thing we did on the farm each morning was to throw stale baguettes into the pastures. Alpacas, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks—they all went crazy for those baguettes."

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Smashing Watermelons, Smashing Politics on Duke in the Arab World

"Every meal has been accompanied by some of the most intriguing political conversations I’ve ever had. Sure, the language barriers have kept the conversation from getting very conceptual or abstract, but this actually seems to be a positive thing. It is much more tangible."
 

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Duke in Silicon Valley 2016: Week 2 Recap

Week 2 Woohooo! We had the privilege of starting class with Dr. J (Dr. Jeremy Petranka) this week. I say privilege because several of us have already started calling Dr. J the best professor we have ever had.

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Spring in Berlin: On classes, host family, and friends

"I am a Chinese national, and I went to high school in Singapore. I knew coming into Duke that I wanted to study abroad somewhere and I wanted to learn a new language. Duke in Berlin allowed beginners and, compared to other programs, that was unique."
 

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Advice from Duke Students

The Ask Away: Q+A with Duke Students about Study Away is a series of events and resources to help students interested in study away connect with alumni of the programs. The series includes:

  • GEO Peer Advising Sessions
  • Student Identity Panels
  • Study Away Ambassador Directory
  • Q+A Video Series


Ask a Student