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Brits in America: New York, New York

Having the city of New York incorporated into every aspect of Bonnie's curriculum at Barnard College helps her to discover more parts of her new home

  • Student life
  • Study abroad
Bonnie MacRae's avatar

Bonnie MacRae

October 11 2017
New York


I’ve been in New York for just over a month now and I'm continuously finding new things that surprise me. 

The heavy workload of each of my classes has meant that sometimes it is difficult to explore the city. It’s easy to be caught up in the bubble of university life but I try to get off campus at least once a week. 

I’ve found that I don’t study well in the library and much prefer to be in an open space when doing my work. To try to make the most of the warm weather, before the East Coast’s infamous winter rolls in, there have been a number of occasions where, instead of cooping myself up in the library, I’ll head down a few blocks and sit in Central Park to finish my reading.

Last week I took the subway downtown to Bryant Park and started an essay on the lawn. Admittedly, I did get quite distracted with both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building towering above.

Read more of Bonnie's journey here 

Brits in America: changing perceptions of women-only universities

Being in the city was one of the main reasons why I was so eager to come to Barnard College; every single one of my classes has the city of New York integrated into the syllabus.

My architecture class features an assignment requiring me to visit numerous buildings in every borough, my jazz history class asks me to attend several concerts in and around the city and write about the performances. In order to fulfil my PE requirement, I am asked to go on morning runs down the Hudson River.

Recently, I won a free ticket for a tour of the Empire State Building through Columbia’s Urban Lottery – a programme offering undergraduates the chance to attend a selection of Broadway shows, sporting events and free admission to other city attractions. In my first few days of being on campus the entire Class of 2021 were given free tickets to a Yankees vs Red Sox Game. I didn't have a clue what was going on but the atmosphere was incredible and this was my first experience of US sporting culture.

Another advantage of living in New York City is the regular visits from friends and family. My participation in the Sutton Trust US Programme means I have a number of close friends dotted all over the US, with many of them located within an hour or so away. Acting as a tour guide for the weekend and showing them the exciting and eclectic neighbourhoods of New York is something I really enjoy. 

Recently a friend visited from Massachussetts and we cycled down Broadway into Central Park and spent the afternoon exploring Chinatown and Little Italy. When another friend visits soon we will be heading to a concert on a rooftop in Brooklyn.

Having access to New York City and all that it offers is still such a novelty. As my workload intensifies and the temperature drops to conditions similar to home in Dundee, it will become harder to get off campus. However, having the heart of the city only a subway ride away will hopefully make that a lot easier.

Read more: Best universities in New York

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Sutton Trust US programme

Brits in America: From Dundee to New York

Supported by the Sutton Trust, Bonnie MacRae was able to achieve her dream of attending university in New York and will be blogging her university experience for Times Higher Education Student

Bonnie MacRae

August 11 2017
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