Study abroad program expands

New Jersey now option for interested students

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The Spectrum

Through the study abroad program at UB, students have been able to broaden their horizons in cultural hubs across the globe. Yet there is one area that had, until now, gone unexplored by the wandering feet of undergrads.
With ethnic diversity sprawling over from the vibrant metropolis just across its borders, this land boasts thriving industrial and agricultural aspects, as well as a history that is filled with technological innovation but also still seeps back to colonial foundations.
There can only be one place that is fit to hold such credentials and it lies but a few hundred miles southeast of the Queen City. Starting next semester, UB will be sending students to the fine upstanding academic institutions of the great state of New Jersey.
After much deliberation, it was deemed that the daily life of an average New Jerseyan was so foreign and exotic that it could qualify for the program. Wonders will abound for the traveling student.
On the descent into Newark Liberty International Airport, the flight attendant will welcome passengers to the garden state with a knowing chuckle. Out the window, a strange new world of snaking pavement twists out of sight, traversed only by those who relish tempting fate.
Students will want to quickly vacate the Newark area before an untimely demise in the slums. Traveling down the N.J. Turnpike at Audubon speeds, bridges and factories will obscure one's vision until the designated exit – every town has one – pops up and the car squeals off into the never-ending suburbs.
Once the student navigates the slippery slopes of the "Joisey" accent, the sights and sounds can be explored. Day trips are numerous.
The northeastern portion of the state can walk students through every scene from The Sopranos as they encounter the famous Italian immigrants and their tangled web of mob connections. Watch for the telltale signs of a guido – the slicked back hair, the tiny, tight-fitting shirts, and the gold chains. If they're lucky, visitors might be able to take a photo of this strange and exquisite creature.
If feelings of homesickness surface in this strange environment, the cure rests in the heart of the Meadowlands. Be ready to attend a Jets or Giants game at the newly created Meadowlands Stadium.
Environmental classes are offered out in the heart of the Jersey Shore. This area can also be used for recreational swimming, but the hypodermic needles littering the beaches may be a turn-off. Instead of going for a dip, students can head to the Jersey Shore house, which is surely heading toward historical landmark status by now. Meet Snooki, a local guide and Jersey connoisseur who will tell the tales of how the home was once a haven for slaves trying to escape through the Underground Railroad.
However, food is plentiful and easy to come by in this strange area. Pizza and bagels abound, and 24-hour diners are around almost every corner.
While leaving the last diner of the night, it's possible to see the sunrise behind the Manhattan skyline. That's if the factories have spontaneously shut down and the wind is going in the right direction. But that never happens.
As the toxins slowly seep into students who get a taste of New Jersey, they can at least take solace in the fact that, while they watch the landfills rise higher around them, they can relax as someone else pumps their gas.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com

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