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Beyond the Semester Overseas
Many students consider taking a semester overseas as part of their undergraduate education, and this opportunity is available to you at The Crane School of Music. But we encourage you to think more broadly about overseas experiences - to think beyond the semester overseas! Below are some examples of the overseas opportunities Crane students are able to take advantage of.
Students at SUNY Potsdam can take advantage of a number of semester overseas options. Music majors, however, are limited to three school in England: Birmingham Conservatoire, York St. John University and Liverpool Hope University (Students from these colleges also join us at Crane each year as well.)
Typically, the semester overseas is during the Junior year. There can be challenges to staying on schedule for graduation, especially in Music Education, so students are encouraged to talk to their advisors early about their desire to do a semester overseas.
Crane student Jessica Jones (Music Business, guitar/voice) had this to say about her semester overseas at Birmingham conservatoire:
"I would definitely have regrets if I did not study abroad as an undergrad. Being a tourist or visiting another country for a few weeks cannot compare to studying and living in a country for 3 months. In Birmingham, England I got to study voice at the conservatoire in the second largest city in England. I learned a great deal in the classroom as well as outside. I was able to visit other nearby cities such as London, York, Sheffield, Oxford, Bath, as well as other cities such as Edinburgh and Paris. I got to visit the top of the Eiffel tower, try Scottish whiskey, see a show in the West End, and try a surprising amount of Indian food. I learned a great deal about cultural relativism as well as navigation and money handling. Some of my favorite experiences include seeing an Aston Villa football game, hanging with friends in the pub, shopping in the huge shopping mall called the Bullring, taking pictures, going to the farmers market, walking across Abby Road, seeing the Mona Lisa, learning about mixing and scratching in my Intro to DJtech class, attending open mic nights, and most of all the ability to be adventurous and try new things. I don't think any of my experiences would be the same if I were older, I think during college is the prime time to study abroad and see the world. Don't let anything stop you, money will come and go but you're not getting any younger."
Faculty in a variety disciplines across campus offer occasional or regularly scheduled courses overseas. These offerings will change from semester to semester. In music, one of the recent "occasional" course offerings was Dr. Peter McCoy's Exploring the Arts of South India.
One of the regular offered overseas courses is the Jamaica Field Service Experience for Music Education majors. Students work with Crane faculty in local schools in Jamaica gaining knowledge and experience in a different kind of school environment.
Music Education majors have two student teaching placements, at least one of which must be in New York State. The other one could be in Australia! Students at Crane may elect to take one of their student teaching placements in the Brisbane area, in Queensland. This a summer (here - winter there) experience, with the New York State student teaching placement occurring in the spring semester prior or the fall semester following the summer the Australia.
Crane School ensembles will occasionally tour overseas. The most recent tour was in 2013 when the Crane Chamber Choir, under the direction of Dr. Lonel Woods, went on a ten day tour of Central Europe. The choir performed in Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic; Budapest, Vienna, Eisenstadt & Prague. The tour also included trips to (and impromptu performances at): Kecskemt, to visit Zoltan Kodly Pedagogical Institute; an excursion to Terezin, the former fortress and Nazi Concentration Camp for children; a visit to the Vienna City Cemetery, the burial place of many famous musicians and composers, and a visit to the home (now a museum) of the composer Antonin Dvork.
Summer (and other) Opportunities
Students can also take advantage of summer programs overseas, and the faculty at Crane guide and encourage our students to apply for a variety of experiences. Some faculty have particularly close ties to certain programs or countries (most notably vocal professor Donald George, who lives in Germany when he is not in Potsdam!), but regardless, if a student is interested in having an overseas experience in the summer, they should speak to their studio teacher and/or advisor early in the school year.
Vocal performance major Edie Grossman recently spent a year (2012-13) in Florence, Italy at the European Heritage Institue's Instituto Europeo program.Although this was a program she and her studio teacher, Dr. Messell, found (and Edie had to audition for), staff at SUNY Potsdam helped her with making international arrangements and ensuring that her coursework in Italy would count towards her degree. Edie had this to say about her year abroad: "The program was great for the language study, which is all taught in Italian so there's no chance of speaking English in the classroom.When shopping around Florence I had to remind some Italians that I was there to learn their language and not to speak English with them, but they would gladly switch back to Italian. I would encourage anyone studying abroad to visit the little towns in Tuscany like Pienza, Lucca, Pisa, Montepulciano, and Montalcino, as they are BEAUTIFUL and really show the Italian culture without so many tourists.I also traveled around Europe a lot while I was there since the airfare and train systems are so cheap."
A Final Word
Many of these experiences are highly competitive, but by encouraging students to think broadly about overseas study, we hope many more students are able to take advantage of at least one of them. For more information, visit the SUNY Potsdam International Office's Study Abroad webpage.