Amazing views of Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park

Kara Fox

Class of 2018, Psychology, Visual & Media Studies
Duke in New York: Arts and Media

  • Amazing views of Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park
Amazing views of Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park

Kara Fox is a member of the Class of 2018. She’s majoring in Psychology with a minor in Visual & Media Studies. The fall of her junior year, she studied away with the Duke in New York: Arts and Media program. Here, she reflects on her time in the Big Apple.  

 

On how some of her ideas and perceptions changed as a result of the program… 

“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. It was also empowering to develop a creative independent project throughout the semester – I wrote a collection of short stories and essays, which is one of the accomplishments I’m most proud of from my time at Duke. Being around so many different people all the time and having access to so many different types of spaces fueled my creativity and helped me develop as an artist. We often discussed the rich history of New York City in our classes, which made me excited to find out more about the city and be a part of it. I’m definitely more mindful and observant than I used to be. The classes gave me more appreciation for everything – even just walking down a random street or riding the train.” 

Ben Avram and me watching Duke play at Madison Square Garden
Ben Avram and me watching Duke play at Madison Square Garden

 

On why she selected the program… 

“I’d always thought I’d do an international program for my semester away. I ended up changing my mind because I was drawn to the classes on writing and culture – which were both unlike anything I’d taken at Duke but were topics I’d been interested in exploring academically. I also chose the program because of the amazing things that one can do in the city. The program gives you full access. Having a museum pass, subway pass and tickets to various shows really unlocked what New York City had to offer and allowed me to experience it in a unique way that I couldn’t otherwise do as a student. I’m from Austin, Texas, but living in such an energetic and diverse city for a semester was completely different from anything I’d ever experienced. The exposure to new challenges and perspectives was transformative for me. All that being said, I’d be lying if I said that the opportunity to see Hamilton was not a factor in my decision.” 

The first snowfall of winter in Times Square
The first snowfall of winter in Times Square

 

On how the program played into the rest of her time as an undergraduate… 

“As a result of this program I was able to get a minor in Visual & Media Studies and continued to take classes about culture and history that allowed me to express myself. I also spent more of my own time on my writing. The perspective I gained from this program motivated me to seize opportunities and be more proactive about spending my remaining time at Duke wisely. I got a taste of post-graduate life and was able to return to what I’d missed about Duke and what I wished I had taken advantage of there. Also, spending more time on my own in the city enriched my relationships a lot because I had to put a bit more work into maintaining them individually, which made them a lot more fulfilling.” 

Sunset while walking across the Brooklyn Bridge
Sunset while walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

 

On how the program will affect her next steps after graduation… 

“As a rising junior when I started the program, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation because I had so many interests and liked the idea of getting some work experience through an internship to help figure out what I wanted to do. Finding and completing a marketing internship gave me valuable organizational and administrative skills and made me realize how much I want to connect with people on a day-to-day basis. My internship experience was so multifaceted – I did everything from mailings to databases to phone calls to running dressy events. This allowed me to evaluate what parts of the work I liked the most as well as gain more focused direction in my life, while enjoying the process.” 

The Guggenheim
The Guggenheim

 

A house down the street from our dorm that I fell in love with
A house down the street from our dorm that I fell in love with

 

On advice she has for students considering the program… 

“I was afraid to choose New York for a semester away because I felt like I could live in New York City anytime and that I should take advantage of the 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity to do a traditional study abroad somewhere in Europe. Once I was there, I was so glad I didn’t give into that fear because I know that even though I will likely end up living back in New York (since I loved it so much!), I will never again experience it like I did that semester, at that point in my life. I needed New York to teach me about myself and what I wanted out of my life. Don’t stress about finding an internship too much – it doesn’t have to be your 'perfect' fit. A 'perfect' fit probably doesn’t exist. You will learn so much from whatever you end up doing, and it will work out. Make a to-do list of things you want to do and the places you want to go – there’s so much in the city that this is the best way to get it done in the short amount of time you have. It’s much shorter than you’d think! Find bits of home and places to relax and unwind throughout the city, whether that means a park or a specific coffee shop or a gallery in the MoMA. There are many options. Also, spend a lot of time in the Strand Bookstore. Follow your gut and follow your bliss."

 

Programs Featured:

Duke in New York: Arts & Media

 

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