Settling Back in Shanghai: A Recap of the Study Away Re-Entry Conference

Pramugdha Maheswari covers NYU Shanghai's Study Away Re-Entry Conference, the first of its kind on campus.

Drawing a close to the NYU Shanghai Global Week, the Global Affairs office at NYU Shanghai organized a Study Away Re-entry Conference for the Class of 2017 students. This conference was the first of its kind in the NYU Global Network. Here’s a recap of the day’s events.

The day started off with registration at 8:30 followed by breakfast (yum!).

Keynote Speech

Almaz Zelleke, Visiting Assistant Professor and Social Science Area Leader, kicked off the day by welcoming Class of 2017 students back and reminding them of the goals and plans they had when they submitted their personal statements for the study away applications. Some of the common reasons students wanted to study away included learning a new language, interning in different parts of the world, and those who applied to the New York site were particularly interested in taking classes at Stern.   

Speed Mingling

Structured like a typical speed dating activity, answering prompts by Student Life staff, the attendees had one minute each to share their study away stories and learn more about each other’s experiences. They had lots of advice for the people who were planning to study away, but the main theme of all of these was to keep an open mind, try out new things, and step out of your comfort zone. Oh, and if you’re going to London or New York, make sure you have a somewhat steady source of income or savings. After the session senior Krista Young “felt that being able to talk about my study away experience and hear about other’s was a really great way to reflect on my experience and find connections with my classmates even though we were in different countries.”

Welcome Home, Now What? Making the Transition Back Home

Conducted by Writing GAF Sophia Gant, students listed down some of the challenges they faced since returning to Shanghai and things they missed about the study away sites. They discussed reverse cultural shock and read an arguably terrible essay on the same by Bart Schaneman.

Writing Your Global Story

In this session led by Jennifer Tomscha, Associate Director of the Writing Program, students listed down the following to help make sense of their global stories:

(i) What skills have you developed since coming to college?

(ii) What are two texts/thinkers that are important to you?

(iii) Your favourite courses that you’ve taken in the past year

(iv) What do you love to ponder upon? What are you obsessed with thinking about?

(v) How are you different now, compared to the person you were one year ago?

(vi) Where do you see yourself in ten years?

And finally, they wrote a story describing in detail a moment from the past year that still puzzles them, or a moment they’re still trying to understand. Senior Meizhi Ng said, “It was useful to think about how we all grew as people in different tangents and similar directions.”

Student Global Research Expo & Study Away Photo Display

Students who conducted research outside China were invited to present their results to NYU Shanghai faculty, staff, and students. Attendees also looked at photographs taken by students during their time away and voted for the ones they liked best.

Value of a Personal Brand (concurrent with the Global Internship Panel)

David Pe presented questions to help students get started in thinking about their personal brand and what they want people around them to perceive of their personalities. Ng thought “[this session] was helpful in some regards, and got me thinking about my global story and how I can market myself as a brand.” Geared toward sophomores and freshman, the global internship session saw a panel of seniors reflecting upon their internship experiences while studying away and giving advice to the underclassmen.

Making the World Your Future: Fellowships, Gap Years & Global Awards

Anna Kendrick, Director of Global Awards and Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature, discussed several fellowships that NYU Shanghai students can apply to. If you know what your eventual goal is, but you don’t know what to do right after graduation, fellowships might be a great idea, and one way or another get you to your goal. Students also heard from Class of 2019 student Andre Lucas about the Peace Corps and Rotoract and from Kerry Murphy about her experiences with fellowships.

Closing Remarks

Students heard from Tyler Rhorick, Class of 2017 Representative, who reminded them that they are all going through the same thing. They are all graduating in less than a year and although some of them might have jobs lined up or plans laid out, they are all, in one way or another, anxious about graduating. (Just talk to the next Class of 2017 student you meet: you’ll know.) NYU Shanghai wants to help you achieve your goals. If you reach out for help, chances are you’ll get it.

This article was written by Pramugdha Maheswari. Please send an email to to get in touch.
Photo Credit: NYU Shanghai

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