This blog has been created to share the College of Staten Island (CSI) students’ experiences around the world. Dolphins across the Seven Seas provides the opportunity for CSI students, staff, faculty and beyond to gain insight into the study abroad experience. Additionally, Study Abroad Peer Advisors provide reflections upon their experiences as well as advice to potential study abroad participants. CSI is the single senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), located in the borough of Staten Island.

Monday, December 5, 2016

JAPAN: A CSI Student’s Study Abroad Journey

Yong Hao Hu is studying on the CSI Exchange Ambassador Program at Seinan Gakuin University (SGU) in Fukuoka, Japan during the Fall 2016 & Spring 2017 semesters.

I have learned and experienced many things in Japan. Japanese culture is very interesting and
day by day I learn new things about everything. My Japanese is improving every day. 

Festivals are fun. So far, I went to the Balloon Festival, Light Festival, Life Festival and the Meat Festival. The Culture Festival is coming and I eagerly await its arrival next week.

College students will create and come up with their own activities to attract people to the festival.

Traditional Japanese Music
I think studying abroad really opens your mind and shows you many valuable things.

To CSI students who are interested in studying Japanese, science, technology or finance, Japan may be one of your top choices for study abroad.  It is a good chance to experience and learn in a new place and culture. 

My favorite food is Tonkotsu Ramen and Katsudon.
Night view of Fukuoka 
At the Park

Judo Class

Tenjin Underground Street

Somen Nagashi

City view at a Park

At Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)
Halloween Party with International Students at SGU

Trip to Kyoto

Kyoto Trip

Fukuoka Tower

I love Ramen!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Saada Amadu - One Semester in Paris, One in Hong Kong!

Studying abroad was not part of my plan when I first started at CSI in 2013, but I ended up going on two different exchange programs. The first time was to Paris for Spring 2015 and the second time was on an exchange to Hong Kong in Spring 2016.

Angkor Wat at Sunrise, Cambodia

Park Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
My most recent experience studying abroad was at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU). The Hong Kong program is great in a lot of ways: for starters, it is an Exchange Ambassador program, therefore you are pretty much independent once you check-in.  If you have problems however, you can go to Global Services Office (the equivalent of the Center for International Service at CSI). I got to take interesting and challenging courses with CSI equivalents, including Politics and Media, International Security, and Environmental Issues, Policy, and Ethics.

Big Buddha, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
In terms of finances, Hong Kong is not known for being an inexpensive city, however with a little bit of budgeting, living in Hong Kong for five months was significantly cheaper than Paris.  At CityU, there are different restaurants on campus and therefore plenty of options for food depending on your budget and tastes. The first week after arrival in Hong Kong was orientation, and we had the opportunity to try different restaurants with “buddies,” local students at the university.

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
My favorite thing about Hong Kong, other than the program at CityU and the delicious food, is its location and how it is easy and affordable it is to visit the rest of Southeast Asia. I was able to visit Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Vietnam during my spare time and on breaks. The highlight of the semester was a trip I took with five friends to Borneo, Malaysia in February. We went jungle trekking, snorkeling, water rafting - I even saw an orangutan! I loved Borneo so much that at the end of the semester I went back to Malaysia - but this time to Kuala Lumpur.

Shangria-La Rehabilitation, Borneo, Malaysia
I’m a big proponent of study abroad but I will also be the first person to admit how intimidating it is to apply and get acceptance to programs and figure out funding. I was fortunate enough to receive two different scholarships: one through the CSI study abroad office and the other was the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The Gilman is not impossible to get, although it is very competitive. The application is fairly easy and straightforward; if you are a Pell grant recipient, you just go on the website and answer all the questions. You write an essay about why you deserve to be awarded the scholarship as well as another essay on how to plan on being an advocate for international education and travel after your time abroad.

Taipei 101, in Taiwan
Studying abroad was definitely the highlight of my college experience. It was eye-opening to live and travel through Southeast Asia and I recommend it for anyone, not just the Hong Kong program. Studying abroad might not lead to a life changing experience, but you will come back with interesting memories and friends to last a very long time - which, if you ask me, is definitely a great thing! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Daniel V. O’Shaughnessy – Studied Abroad in Dublin, Ireland in June 2015

My study abroad experience was hands down the best experience of my life. The combination of travel, academia, and professional development is what every potential study abroad applicant should seek. We studied in Dublin, Ireland for just under two weeks yet it felt like an entire semester. Although I knew nobody on this trip  when I stepped off the plane, I knew everybody by the time we returned home. We had the amazing opportunity to visit historic sites throughout Ireland including Trinity College, The City of Belfast, and the ancient monastic site of Glendalough. My only regret is that I did not journey on a study abroad venture sooner than now. I thank the College of Staten Island and the entire The City University of New York for making this experience possible. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Top 5 Things To Eat In Seoul According To This Wannabe-Foodie by: Jonathan Saquisili

SeolBing (설빙) - Mango Cheese Bingsu with Garlic French Toast

SeolBing is a popular dessert spot in South Korea that highlights its Bingus. Bingsu is a powdery snow dessert with an array of toppings. Above you see a Mango Cheese Bingsu with a side of Garlic French Toast. Sweet and Savory is key here -- this is an amazing combo. The small cup on the bottom contains condensed milk to add on top of the bingsu. A bingsu can range from 4,500-9,000KRW. Best way to eat a bingsu? Dig right in and mix it all up!

Budaejijigae (부대찌개) - Army Stew 

Army Stew originated during the Korean War with leftover foods from the U.S. Army facilities. This stew is very hardy and filling. Some typical ingredients you’ll find are ramen, scallions, sausage, spam, kimchi, tofu and other ingredients. This soup does tend to be on the spicy side, so be sure to let the waitress know that you want little pepper paste if you don't do well with spicy foods. The spot I visited for this stew was in Dongdaemun.

ChiMaek (치맥) - Chicken + Beer

Thanks to the hit drama My Love From the Star, Chimaek (chicken and beer) has become very popular in South Korea. Restaurants that serve this meal can be found all over the place. This is a great meal to have with friends after a long week, enjoy by the Han River or even in your apartment. This is a very addictive meal as the chicken is not prepared like in the US; there is something very unique to the taste that I have not seen replaced in NYC’s K-Town.

Kup Bap (컵밥) - Cup Rice

The literal translation for Kup Bap is Cup Rice. This can be found in 노량진(NoRyangJin) a famous fish market in Seoul. This is a very popular meal that is enjoyed by school kids and adults. The typical ingredients are rice, spam, egg, pepper paste, sausage, yellow radish and kimchi. Again, this is on the spicy side, so be sure to let the vendor know that you don’t want a lot of spicy sauce. One of the best things is that meal is filling and costs anywhere between 3,500-4,000KRW.

Isaac Toast

Finding something for breakfast can be pretty difficult if you are used to sausage, egg and cheese on a bagel. Thankfully, in Sinchon there is a place called Isaac Toast which serves a variation of toast sandwiches. The one I ordered was the Ham Special, ham, cheese, cabbage, sweet sauce and egg. One of the best things about this filling sandwich is that this comes in at less than 3,000 KRW.


Despite all the food I listed nothing can beat a home cooked meal. On the last night before I headed back to the states I was able to stay at a friend’s house and ate his mom’s amazing cooking.

Amanda Ciaramella - Second Time’s the Charm: Feeling at home in Florence

        This year, I had the privilege of returning to Italy for a second study abroad experience.   I also studied in Florence last year, but as my first experience on my own in a foreign country, I had difficultly feeling comfortable.  After reentering Florence for the second time this past June, I was hit with a gust of nostalgia.  I remembered where my favorite gelato shops were, and I knew my way around confidently.  By the end of my trip, I did not want to leave!  Last year, I had felt very homesick, and although I loved Italy, there was no place like home.  This year, Italy became my home, and now, I desire even more travelling around Italy and the world.

Cinque Terre, or “Five Lands,” consists of a beautiful beach and scenic view.  This is one of my favorite sites; I highly recommend taking the hike to experience the full beauty!

I was reunited with my friends whom I met in Florence last year!  It is so exciting to hang out with local Italians!

I LOVE Venice!  There’s just something about being surrounded by water that feels so Italian to me!  The gondola ride is cute, but make sure to have a group of five or six since the boats are expensive.

When in Rome!  The Coliseum was probably my favorite part of Rome.   

I also went horseback riding in Tuscany!  Unfortunately I could not get a picture of myself since I was too focused learning how to ride a horse for the first time!


I was reunited with my Art Restoration professor from last summer!  He was like everyone’s adopted Italian grandfather!  

Lastly, here are my creations from my Sculpture class this year!  I took one of the cups home with me.  Unfortunately everything was very heavy so I was unable to bring it all.

Michelle Kushnir: 3 weeks in Copenhagen, Denmark!

This summer, I spent 3 weeks in the wonderful city of Copenhagen, Denmark. I never expected to enjoy myself as much as I did. The university I attended while I was in Copenhagen, the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), made sure everyone felt at home, along with providing a class selection that I found remarkable. From this class selection, I decided to take Danish Greenspace, a class that focused on the landscape of Denmark and how it shapes their society. Not only did I get to experience Denmark to the fullest with this class, but it has also taught me to appreciate nature more. The people of Denmark take advantage of their scenic landscape and are always outside when the weather is nice. Whether they can be found at a park or a graveyard, they really enjoy the outdoors.

The food and atmosphere of Copenhagen was very different from what I experience here in Staten Island. The most popular food in Denmark is known as smørrebrød, which is just a slice of rye bread with fish on top. Most of the time the fish is smoked herring, but other types of fish are used as well. This doesn’t seem like the typical sandwich, but it was definitely worth the try. I even started making my own because I liked it so much. There was also a dessert that I would eat almost every day called flødboller, which is just a much better version of Mallomars. While the food was different from what I’m used to, it was still delicious. The culture itself also took me by surprise. Everyone wears all black and if it isn’t black, it’s another dark color. Red, orange or yellow are rare colors on the streets of Copenhagen. You would think wearing all black would look bland, but it made the Danes look sophisticated and stylish.

One amazing experience I will never forget from Denmark was the weekend biking trip DIS offered where you get to go to a different island of Denmark (the country has four islands), which was Bornholm. On this island, we were able to bike wherever we wanted. My group decided to go to a tiny city called Tejn where I had the best strawberry cake ever, and Svaneke where there were glass blowing, caramel shops, smoked herring and their very own brewery. While these cities were not the biggest, the culture that thrived there was fascinating and made the miles of biking worth it.

The main reason I wanted to go to Copenhagen was for its nickname, “Europe’s most eco-friendly city”. The city is known for its public transportation, where travelling by bus, train, or bike is supported while travelling by car is discouraged. Biking, specifically, is very popular in Copenhagen and wherever you go in the city, there are bicyclists everywhere. They even have huge parking sections for bikes because they are used so much. It gives the city a clean, spacious feel due to the little use of cars. Another way Copenhagen is eco-friendly is the creation of the many parks in the city. I went to so many different parks while in the city, and every time I felt like I was transported somewhere else. The people of Copenhagen really enjoy these parks, which preserve various amounts of nature so the city doesn’t turn into all concrete. This eco-friendly culture was pushed in order to make Copenhagen better, and it was successful, since most Danes are on board with preserving their city’s nature and enjoy the use of biking. Overall, my experience in Denmark was amazing and I cannot wait to go back.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Summer Snowfall in Morocco ~Joseph Perillo, Ifrane, Morocco

Going to Morocco for the summer was definitely the most significant, life-changing thing to happen to me, and I truly mean that. I didn’t even think that I would like traveling, but once you get a taste for it, you get the travel bug and you want to explore the world. The program I ended up choosing wasn’t actually one that CSI ran specifically, it was part of the College Consortium of International Studies (CCIS). It sounds complicated but the process was really simple. There’s this book of countries all over the world, and study abroad programs in each of them that you can participate in for a multitude of projects. I opened up the book, came across Morocco, and I was settled. For a short time I thought that the Thessaloniki program that CSI offers was for me, but Morocco seemed so interesting and foreign, and the thought of learning Arabic and having that under my belt was just too tempting to pass up.

Morocco itself was an amazing country. Al-Akhawayn, the university I studied and lived at for two months, was a fantastic place. Everyone in program was bunked up with a Moroccan student taking summer classes, and I had the pleasure of having the son of the program director as my roommate. We were as thick as thieves and hung out a lot in the local city of Ifrane, which is actually in the hinterlands of the Atlas Mountains, and it actually snowed when I was there in the middle of the summer. The program scheduled us two field trips, one to Marrakech, the famous historical city in Morocco with winding alleyways in its Old Medina, and the other to Merzouga, which was an oasis in the middle of the Sahara desert. While those two trips were indeed fun, I had my more memorable experiences on the weekend trips I planned with the friends I made there. Chefchauen, the blue city, was by far my favorite place there. I enjoyed it so much that I went twice with two different groups of people just because it was such a fascinating place.

One of the most intimidating prospects of studying abroad is getting into a program and funding it, but there are plenty of opportunities for one to get grants or scholarships. The CSI Center for International Service has plenty of scholarships and grants available to students for the programs they host; however, there are plenty of other funding opportunities outside of the CUNY system that they can get information for you on and assist you in applying to. The Gilman International Scholarship is one in particular because it is the one that I was awarded and allowed me to participate in this adventure. The application process was very straightforward; if you're a Pell Grant recipient, fill out a few pieces of information about yourself and write relatively short essays about why you think you should be awarded the grant to study abroad and your proposed follow-on project. 

Studying abroad changed my life, so much so that I have not stopped spreading the news about it since I came back. In fact, during the 2014 fall semester, I helped a classmate get information on studying abroad as well as do research for scholarships and grants, and she is currently studying abroad in Paris, France for the 2015 spring semester. Studying abroad is something every student should have the opportunity to do, and when in doubt on whether or not this is for you, remember that you only live once, so you might as well make it interesting.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Don’t Fret, You Haven’t Left Yet ~Study Abroad Peer Advisors, 2014-2015

Taking this trip you won’t regret, here are a few things you shouldn’t forget. Fear not, family and friends will be there for they love you most. Anticipate making new memories and friends along the coast! Whether it’s Italy, China or Ecuador, remember when packing – less is more! Be prepared before you go, you’ll never know if it’s rain or snow.

Soon enough you will leave, now we are en route overseas! It is time to go on a long flight, be comfy when you go, wear something light! Things will be different, from language to people – and keep in mind the currency will not be equal.  Learning from a different perspective is major; study, work hard & good grades you will savor.

Do your work & it will pay off, travel with friends on your day off.  From the Eiffel Tower to the Great Wall, to the Royal Guards that stand tall – the sky is the limit, you can see it all! Be aware of your surroundings and you’ll be fine, don’t put yourself in danger because you’ve drank too much wine. Moderation is key to having a good time, stay with your friends, don’t get lost in sublime. Taking this trip will change your life, take the leap, don’t think twice. If you’ve read this far, you’re certainly wiser - Bon Voyage from the peer advisors!

Steven Arriaga, Paris, France (summer 2014)
Thomas Giordano, Thessaloniki, Greece (spring 2014)
Amanda Ramos, Florence, Italy (winter 2014)
Alexis Rizzica, Florence, Italy (fall 2013)
Jessica Schoberl, Florence, Italy (winter 2014)