Diving into a world bound by 306 square miles
Hi, I’m Rashika Jaipuriar, and I’m studying off-campus this spring in New York City. My official status with the university is ‘abroad’; but unlike my peers who are actually abroad, I didn’t take a plane to get to New York City. I didn’t need a passport or a visa. My MetroCard is probably the closest thing to ‘abroad’ documentation that I needed.
I’m just a few hours away in New York City this semester, but strangely enough, I do feel like I’m abroad. In the full sense of the word.
New York is such a global city that sometimes I feel like I’ve left the country: from exploring the many Mediterranean and Greek foods in Astoria, where I lived over the summer last year, to hearing many different languages on the subway during my daily commute. The life and cultures in the city bring it together as one cohesive, global place.
Here, you have the entire world, quite literally, at your fingertips. With international cuisines and languages, from museums to shows, you can experience so much culture in these 300 square miles.
New York City is obviously so much more different than Syracuse, where Chipotle was the only “real” Mexican food I ate, or my home in suburban Ohio, where I only visited the same few regular spots.
My first introduction to NYC was over the summer, when I arrived for an internship. I couldn't help thinking how I sometimes I forgot that I was even in the U.S. Calling out for a cab in Midtown reminded me of calling out for a rickshaw in Mumbai; the hodgepodge of the Long Island City Flea Market reminded me of the colorful markets I visited in Istanbul; the chicken shawarma and hummus I had in Astoria was comparable to what I ate during my trip to Israel.
This city is not just different because of the lifestyle, with the hustle and bustle of eight million people, but also because of the exposure you can get to so many different things. Here, there are endless possibilities to venture outside of your comfort zone and be exposed to new cultures — and that’s what going abroad is all about.
This was exemplified further as I began my internship, one of the major facets of the Newhouse-in-NYC program. As an intern at NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, I have to look beyond the East Coast. I go from helping producers gather video from the Midwest, listening to interviews in Spanish, to coordinating communications with our foreign correspondents. At NBC, I feel like my work and efforts are truly global.
Being here is a great trial run for the real world and a wonderful way to experience a multicultural city life. If I ever want to travel or live in London or Madrid or any other major metropolis post-grad, I feel like I’ll be much more prepared because of my time here.
Even though I had already gone abroad in my junior year— across the world, as far away as possible, to Australia— I still wanted more. I felt like I needed more of a chance at self-discovery away from campus.
And while frolicking in Australia for another semester wasn’t a feasible option, I’m glad I was able to turn my wanderlust and adventurous spirit into a productive, career-oriented move with the Newhouse program.
The opportunity to travel abroad is one of life’s greatest gifts. But if you haven’t gotten a chance to do so, I would strongly suggest starting with New York City.
Our “Postcards” series features stories from Syracuse University students exploring other parts of the world. Rashika Jaipuriar is a senior studying broadcast and digital journalism and citizenship and civic engagement at Syracuse University. This semester, she is studying in New York City — keep an eye out for a Postcard from the Big Apple every month!