Student Spotlight: Devyn Passaretti

UnknownDevyn Passaretti ’16 is an illustration major from Rhode Island. She spent the Spring 2015 semester enrolled in the studio arts program at the SU Florence Center. She earned credit toward her major by taking studio courses at SU Florence facilities, along with history of art electives and Italian language. She also was able to take part in the all-school field trips that the SU Florence Center arranges each semester. If you’re considering a semester in Florence, check out her thoughts:

What was your most difficult experience abroad, and how did you overcome it?
The most difficult thing for me to overcome while studying abroad was being away from my friends and family for so long. Although I made lots of new friends while in Florence it was the first time that I was not in my comfort zone of being at school or at home. It was interesting to experience a new country with new people. While I was traveling I learned what my own priorities are, along with those of the people I traveled with. Throughout my time abroad I found great people to spend my time with and made older bonds with friends stronger.

What experiences were most helpful to your major?
My entire abroad experience was extremely helpful to my major. I got the opportunity to study fine art in one of the most artistically rich cities in the world. As an illustration major I was able to broaden my scope to fine art practices. By looking at the masters in contrast to contemporary Italian artists I learned a lot about conceptualization. Through this process of study I learned about myself as an artist. My skills of observation and experimentation were greatly improved. Overall the city of Florence and the act of traveling gave me endless inspiration, which broadened my perspective and artistic skills.

How were your living arrangements?
While in Florence I lived with a host family with another Syracuse student. I lived with a host mother, her mother, and their two cats. As soon as we arrived they welcomed us into their home and culture. Every night at the dinner table we would have mini Italian lessons to help with our vocabulary. At the dinner table we would brokenly communicate about our days, where we planned to travel, and laughed about cultural differences. I got used to eating about a pound of pasta as the first course alone. It was beautiful to have a real family environment. They were always so loving and helpful.

Would you like to study abroad again? Where would you want to go?
I would love to be able to study abroad again. It was such an inspiring time period in my life. There’s not a day that goes by that I do not reflect on my time in Florence. That being said I would study in Florence again if I had the choice. The ancient city has so much to offer and I feel as if I only scratched the surface. I’ve also always wanted to study in New Zealand because all of the breathtaking vistas.

If you want to explore Florence and see the things you’ve learned about in history books come to life before your eyes, start your application here! Have questions? Let us know!


Student Spotlight: Shoshana Kranish

shoshanakranishShoshana Kranish ’17 is an international relations major from Massachusetts. She spent the Spring 2015 semester in Tel Aviv, Israel as an international student at Tel Aviv University – an SU Abroad World Partner program. The TAU program is one of our most popular world partner programs, so if you’re interested in spending a semester in Israel, you might find Shoshana’s experience helpful:

1. What was your most memorable experience abroad?
The most memorable part of my time abroad were the holidays – in the spring there’s a whole bunch. There’s one holiday, called Yom HaZikaron (Day of Remembrance), that commemorates soldiers who have died in Israel’s wars. I participated in a ceremony with a dozen other students, and it was an incredibly powerful way to connect with the community and give back. This holiday transitions right into Yom HaAtma’ut (Independence Day), making it a huge time for celebration. That transition doesn’t exist in the U.S. and it’s truly incredible to see the country go from somber to joyous in a short period of time.

2. What did you think of the courses you took at TAU?
I loved all the courses I took there. I had some truly remarkable professors who, in addition to teaching, were world-renowned scholars, researchers, and government consultants. I’m an international relations major concentrating in the Middle East and North Africa, so every class I took was really catered to my interests.

3. What was your favorite part of the city?
My favorite part of Tel Aviv are the beaches – there’s close to a dozen. I grew up on the beach in Massachusetts, and I really miss the ocean when I’m in Syracuse. Having a beach only a few miles from my dorm was really something I tried not to take for granted, and I miss it everyday!

4. What advice would you give to students who are preparing to study abroad?
Learn the language – or at least try! It makes life so much easier, it’s a great way to meet locals, and it’ll make them appreciate you so much more. Even more than that, who wouldn’t want to be able to say they can speak a bunch of languages (even if you can only read a menu)? You never know when a second or third language will come in handy in the future.

To read more about Shoshana’s experience in Israel, check out her blog!

If you’re interested in the Tel Aviv University World Partner Program (open only to SU students), start here! Have any questions? Let us know!

Farewell to Jean-Maurice at SU Strasbourg: Share Your Memories!

Credit BridgetHughes1After more than 30 years at SU Strasbourg, Assistant Director Jean-Maurice Marxer will retire next month. Hired in 1981 to teach German, Jean-Maurice soon began teaching French as well, and then became the center’s Language Program Coordinator. As Assistant Director for more than 25 years, Jean-Maurice has been the chief liaison with three of our partner institutions – the IIEF (Institut International d’Etudes Françaises), the Université de Strasbourg, and the IEP (Institut d’Etudes Politiques), and has helped many students through the often difficult process of navigating the complexities of these institutions.

He has also been responsible for leading some of SU Strasbourg’s local field trips in the Alsace Region and over the border into Germany. One of his favorite trips has always been to Heidelberg, since it was there that he was a student of German literature. Jean-Maurice frequently accompanied Signature Seminars, often taking sick students for medical care, or accompanying students back to Strasbourg when they encountered visa issues at the borders. His calm and reassuring presence has been greatly appreciated by staff and thousands of students during their time abroad, and he will be greatly missed.

We are collecting well wishes, memories, and tributes from alumni to be compiled into a book that will be sent to Strasbourg in time for Jean-Maurice’s retirement party in Strasbourg on December 19. If you want to share a message or photo, please send an email to

SU Abroad Alumni Win Outstanding Delegation at National Model United Nations Conference


Representatives from Syracuse University Maxwell School of Public Affairs, including several SU Abroad alumni represented the Republic of Chile at the National Model United Nations conference hosted in Washington, D.C. October 31 – November 2.

After spending the summer and early fall preparing position papers and learning the rules of procedure for the conference, the delegates skillfully and diplomatically negotiated with other delegates in the conference in their portrayal of the Republic of Chile. Their preparation and diplomatic resolutions at the conference earned them the title of Outstanding Delegation.

SU Abroad alumni represented over half of the delegates for the Republic of Chile, three of whom (Pamela Davis, Michael Getto, and Meghan Schneider) studied at SU’s center in Santiago. The alumni were able to leverage their understanding of the Republic of Chile having studied abroad there and having experienced on a first-hand basis the culture, politics, and overall nuances of the country. Alumni of the SU Istanbul and Hong Kong programs (Ivan Shivkov and Nava Auza) also participated in the national conference.

Congratulations to our outstanding SU Abroad alumni and the rest of their delegation!