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NYU Freshmen Abroad Programs

New York UniversityUnited States

Topic(s): Internationalization
Funding Source:
Higher Ed - Public, Higher Ed - Private, NGO
Type of Institution:
40,000 plus
Highest Degree Offered:
Project Contact Information:
Fredric S. Schwarzbach
726 Broadway, Room 603
New York City
New York State
United States
Email Address:

New York University designed the Freshmen Abroad Programs uniquely for its Liberal Studies and Global Liberal Studies students to have an opportunity to immerse themselves into different cultures while they are working to get their higher education. Freshmen who participated in the program have access not only to academic resources but also to experiences beyond the classroom.

Project Description

Since 1998, New York University has been sending some of its freshmen enrolled in Liberal Studies or Global Liberal Studies to four overseas centers in Florence, London, Paris and Shanghai throughout the Freshmen Abroad Program.  The goal is preparing students to be world citizens who are proficient in foreign languages and also engaged in international cultures and ready to enter the world of work. The program also allows several hundred additional students to begin their NYU careers at the locations other than the main campus in New York City.

Students who have been accepted for Liberal Studies or Global Liberal Studies Programs are eligible to apply for the Freshmen Abroad Program. To be considered, candidates must meet at least one of the three requirements: International (non-U.S.) students; U.S. students from families living abroad; or already experienced with International life and cultural difference. If selected, students take their first year of NYU study at one of the four centers. These students may not use their NYU financial aid to support the costs of the Freshmen Abroad Program.

Both the Liberal Studies Program and Global Liberal Studies Program are under the Arts and Sciences School at New York University. The Liberal Studies is a two-year core program and a foundation program for students who will complete their education in one of NYU’s other undergraduate schools. The Liberal Studies Program features an interdisciplinary core curriculum that fulfills the liberal arts requirements for the bachelor’s degree in NYU’s other schools.

The Global Liberal Studies Program is a bachelor’s program in the liberal arts with a focus on great works, ideas, materials and methodologies from multiple fields of inquiry in a global context, including literature, history, philosophy, political science, physical and biological sciences, mathematics, foreign language, music and art.

New York University opened it’s the Study Abroad Admissions office, Study Abroad Student Services Office and Office of Global Programs in 1998. New York University already had a study center in Florence; it joined the Freshmen Abroad Program in 1998. The center in London opened in 1998 as well and started to enroll freshmen for the abroad program in 2006. In Shanghai, the center opened in 2006 and had its first freshmen in 2011. The center is Paris is the oldest of the four and it opened in 1969 and accepted its first freshmen in 2009.

In Florence, Freshmen Abroad students join approximately 300 upperclassmen annually to take classes and seminars, studying the history of Europe and its cultural legacy of art, literature and philosophy. In addition, all students are required to take intensive Italian at the beginner, intermediate and advanced level in both semesters of study.

In London, the freshmen can study with 200 upperclassmen, learning in such areas as business, science, history, art and politics. Also, the center has partnered with EUSA, a non-profit organization that works with universities and colleges to provide students with internship opportunities in Europe. Students in the Freshmen Abroad Program can work with the organization to find and accept internship placements.

In France, freshmen in the program study with 150 upperclassmen and graduate students per semester in classes including history, arts, literature and philosophy. Moreover, all students are required to take intensive French at the beginner, intermediate and advanced level classes in both semesters.

In Shanghai, freshmen learn the historical and contemporary presence of China with its cultural legacy of arts as well as literature and philosophy. All students take Chinese classes at the beginner, intermediate and advanced level in both semesters. Internships are also available in such areas as marketing, engineering, investing, television production, publishing, advertising, event management and education.

All courses at the four centers are designed to meet New York University academic requirement equivalent to courses offered in New York City.

Project Results

In 2011, New York University was the granted the NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisors) Paul Simon Award, recognizing NYU’s innovative and creative approach toward internationalization on the specific areas. Usually, no more than five institutions receive the award each year. In the fall of 2010, 439 freshmen were admitted in NYU’s abroad programs at the four centers, accounting for 50 percent of fall total for those centers.

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