Tag Archives: international education

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An Afternoon in Como

It all started with a walking tour of Como, Italy. I have traveled through several areas of Italy before, such as Rome, Capri, Pompeii, Sorrento, Venice, and Florence, but I had never been to Como. What set this city apart for me was the close proximity to Lake Como. The position of Como was extremely important historically speaking; Como is located at the junction of the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe. It also has a very easy pass through the Alps to reach Germany.

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I found the history behind the formation of the buildings in Como quite comical. After a long religious war between the people of Milan and Como, the people of Milan destroyed the city of Como in 1127. The only structures left were churches, convents, and the bishop’s palace. In 1158, they began to rebuild the city that now stands today. However, the people of Como got their revenge on the people of Milan by destroying their city in return.

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Courtesy of Jordan E.

A fun fact that I learned during the group tour of Como is what happened to the original fountain that used to sit in the Piazza Cavour. The fountain was purchased by William Rockefeller and brought back to New York. The fountain is now called the Rockefeller Fountain and can be found at the Bronx Zoo. I am originally from Westchester, New York, located about an hour and a half from the Bronx Zoo. I have actually been inside the zoo multiple times and have seen that exact fountain but had never known the origin of the fountain. Italy is one of my favorite places on earth, and now when I go back home to New York, I can find a little piece of Italy in the States.

During Forum-Nexus I took Professor Batia’s art class, and where we learned about the painting Mona Lisa. I also had the amazing opportunity to visit the Louvre Museum while in Paris, France to see the Mona Lisa in person. The details in the background of the painting are not drawn very clearly and are made to look hazy. If you look closely, you can see that the background landscape is Lake Como and also includes abridge found in the town of Como. I found this very interesting because most articles describing the Mona Lisa, as well as our art textbook, do not mention this fact.

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I found it very helpful that the locals of the town of Como spoke both Italian and very good English. Many of the locals were friendly and helpful with directions. There were many small food establishments that served classic Italian food options, which everyone knows and loves. I enjoyed the style of the town including the classic cobblestone roads and narrow side streets that lead to the large piazzas.

An attraction that I would recommend to future Forum-Nexus students would be the tour of the silk museum. Como is the world capital of the silk industry. The people of Como have been involved in the silk business for centuries. The trees of the region are a perfect food supply for the worms that produce cocoons of silk. The museum walks you through many of the old machines that were used for the entire silk-making process. You could see the evolution of the machines used from the earliest most basic models to some of the later machines that looked almost like computers. They also had old blocks used to print on the silks and make other design elements besides dyeing the silk.

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Overall, I recommend all future Forum-Nexus students to visit the city of Como. The city itself is very different from the appearance and atmosphere of other Italian cities on the itinerary. Milan and Rome give you the city experience, whereas Como is a gorgeous town that rests on a lake with rolling mountains, decorated with houses in the hills.

By: Jordan E., FN ’17 alumna

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Finding Inspiration at France 24

I’ve enjoyed several of the professional visits with Forum-Nexus, so it is difficult to choose an absolute favorite. For various reasons that I’ll explain, my favorite visit was to France 24. France 24 is an international news corporation that broadcasts in several languages and mediums, including both the Western and Eastern spheres. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into the visit, but I emerged feeling more enlightened and purposeful about my studies and my work than I had before. As for my own backstory, I graduated from Creighton University last year with English and journalism degrees; additionally, the entirety of my past work experience has been within marketing, communications, and editorial internships, so it was fascinating to witness in person how a major newsroom operates, as well as learn the various facets of the company.

Soft Edit WM-IMG_9722France 24’s initial presentation was relevant not only to my general interests but also to my experience within the journalism field and my journalism classes during undergrad. France 24’s multilingual, multicultural approach was especially interesting to me, and I found myself asking our guide by the end of the tour what would hypothetically give a new applicant an edge over other candidates. As the tour went on, I could easily envision myself working in that environment, which excited me—that is, as long as I learned to fluently speak French beyond the very little I currently know. While economics and business are interesting to me as an outside perspective, France 24 was one professional visit that directly applied to my own experiences and aspirations. Furthermore, our tour guide was kind, thorough, and informative, walking us through the various elements of the company within several departments and levels. We got to peek into rooms with control panels as well as some of the informational centers in which story assignments go out. It was intriguing to see the endless elements that go into producing reliable new content, whether that be from technical, editorial, or communicational angles. The experience overall was a neat convergence of broadcast, technological, and editorial efforts.

I think I was mostly taken aback by the company’s immensity and complexity in its operations. Other than the tiny newsroom for my university paper, I’ve never seen the workings of a newsroom firsthand, so the tour and presentation definitely expanded my interest in some of the present functions of journalism, as well as its current and future trajectory. Journalism and communications are rapidly metamorphosing fields, requiring consistent functional alteration within companies and businesses. It was interesting to see France 24’s means of keeping pace with ever-changing communication mediums—as well as their means of connecting to various audiences across various countries, within rural or urban areas.

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As for my personal experience, I’ve worked pretty much unilaterally toward my Masters in English for the last year, prompting me to neglect some of my journalistic work and interests. France 24 reignited my passion for journalism, and acutely reminded me why I studied and worked in the field in the first place; I found myself considering several times throughout the professional visit the various post-graduate jobs and careers I could pursue within journalism or communications. As I previously mentioned, France 24’s dialectical multiplicity was a key point of interest, as well as their current endeavors to expand that international presence. Ultimately, I would like to work in a company similar to France 24 at some point in the near future, even if only for a little while—even if only for the rush and experience of it all.

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Courtesy of Claire M.

By:  Claire M., Forum-Nexus 2017 Alumna

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International Education Week 2017

Happy International Education Week! We’re celebrating #IEW2017 all this week from November 13-17. Follow along as we celebrate and reflect on our 28 years of international education.

So what is International Education Week? The U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs defines it as: “An opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.”

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At Forum-Nexus, we believe in providing a first-class international educational experience to foster an appreciation for the richness of other cultures, by offering unique and life-changing summer programs that encourage the exchange of ideas with individuals from around the world, while creating a community of students (over 3,400 alumni in 28 years) with a passion for learning and exploring the world with an open mind.

We celebrate IEW because it enhances global awareness, develops leaders, facilitates personal growth, encourages cultural tolerance, and adds value to education that can’t be found in a textbook.

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A few Forum-Nexus alumni from the past several years shared what international education means to them and how it has impacted their lives. Here’s what they said:

“Although I’ve always been traveling around ever since I was young, studying abroad was a completely different experience. You don’t just get to experience different cultures through the places you visit, but you get to live with international students who expose you to even more cultures than you expected and of course make lifelong friends from all over the globe. International education is an enriching experience from which you learn how to become more accepting, tolerating, and understanding of different ideas, people, cultures, etc. It changes your perspective towards life!”  -Nadine K., FN 2011

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“ International education is important because being able to study with diverse people and thriving in that kind of environment gives students a boost in confidence that will help in achieving goals. Students are able to gain a new perspective on the world and appreciate the similarities and differences between them.” -Tahir K., FN 2017

“What I most enjoyed about my international experience is the bonds that I made with other students on the trip. I never thought that I would have friends all around the world and now I do. I have formed such authentic friendships with people I had only known from a month, but now they are family to me.” -Jonna F., FN 2016

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“My international education taught me classroom content and life skills. It gave me new perspectives, friends from around the world, and a chance to experience different cultures, customs, and environments. It has made me who I am today. I encourage students to study abroad because it is the perfect way to get an international education and all of the benefits that come with it.” – Gabriella L., FN 2012

“International education is important because we live in a world with a rapidly globalizing economy. It is important for everyone to have a general understanding of global cultures simply because of the economic effects that other countries have on every individual. A well-honed international education can also help to increase one’s ability to empathize, which is incredibly important in management or customer service positions.”  -Nick B., FN 2015

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“An international education program was one of the first things that made me interested in exploring the world; in learning how people from other cultures lived, and what was “normal” or “common” for them, that wasn’t for me. Our communities tend to take many things for granted: costumes, activities, and perspectives that were defined a long time ago in our cities become ingrained in our society and are never questioned again. That’s where learning about the way of living (in all matters) in other parts of the world help us reevaluate our own values and ideas, so we can make a choice not by repetitive patterns, but by consciously comparing and analyzing different perspectives on daily topics, so we can choose what’s best for us.” -Carlos T., FN 2010

“Studying abroad added a priceless value to my education. I wasn’t aware at how little I knew about the world until I went abroad. International education is vital to becoming and being a good global citizen. Now I find myself craving to learn more about different cultures, see different countries, and meet people unlike myself.”  -Alyssa F., FN 2014

“Honestly the first thing I think of when people ask me why study abroad is important is that it just makes you so happy. Every day is an adventure and you meet so many different people from all walks of life and they teach you such valuable life lessons. Over the 2 study abroad programs I’ve participated in, I’ve learned how to prioritize the important things in my life, eliminate the excess, chase my dreams, and just live the best possible life I can. And even now at home, rarely does a day go by when I don’t think of some hilarious study abroad moment and smile. Every day, I’m inspired by the memories I have from abroad.” -Deenpreet D., FN 2015

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An investment in international education is an investment in yourself. Don’t wait to pursue a highly educational and life-changing experience!

NOW ENROLLING: Forum Europe Summer 2018: 9 Cities in 1 Month. Apply today for FREE! For more information, visit forum-nexus.com.

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Q&A: Nick Bondy

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We caught up with one of our Admissions Advisors to learn about his favorite moments from traveling with Forum-Nexus over the years, and how studying abroad has inspired him to pursue an international master’s degree. Get to know the adventurous and ambitious Nick Bondy… #ThisisForumNexus

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

Q: Tell us about your background. In what cities and countries have you lived? Where did you study?

NB: I have lived in the Detroit Metro area of Michigan my entire life. I received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in May of 2016 from the University of Detroit Mercy. I will be moving to Barcelona in the fall for the first leg of a traveling master’s program.

Q: How many times have you participated in FN programs?

NB: I have participated in the Forum-Nexus programs for 2 summers now. In 2015 I was a student assistant, and in 2016 I was a staff member. I am very excited to return for round 3 this summer!

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Q: What are your responsibilities as a FN staff member?

NB: As an Admissions Advisor, I am in charge of reaching out to interested students during the academic year. I answer questions about the program and share my experiences with them. I work with an Admissions Committee to recruit amazing students from around the world.

Q: What languages do you speak?

NB: I speak English fluently and I can speak Spanish at a conversational level; however, I try my best to learn the basics in every country that I visit. I can say please, thank you, hello, and cheers in about 10 languages!

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus?

NB: Forum-Nexus is unique because it’s hyperactive! In just 5 weeks students are able to see some of the top travel destinations of the world while also taking relevant courses and earning valuable credits. Even our fearless leader Dr. Hugo Hervitz is extremely active; he keeps things very positive and very fun for everyone.

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Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

NB: Participation in FN adds depth to students’ abilities. It combines cross-cultural experience with higher education, building skills that many other students are unable to attain. On top of that, it lays the groundwork for a global network. Fellow students, staff, faculty, and our hosts at various universities and international companies are just some of the connections that FN students make and use to advance in their future careers.

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Q: Why are professional visits important for FN students?

NB: Professional visits are vital to the FN experience! Our professional visits are one of the coolest things that our program has to offer. The ability for students to see exactly what an international education can do for them is key. It allows them to not just see the potential for their future, but for the future of globalization itself.

Q: Which are your favorite cities in the FN itinerary and why?

NB: One of my favorite cities of all time is Barcelona. I actually went to Spain for the first time in high school with my Spanish class. Barcelona is amazing to me because there is so much youth but also so much history. Not to mention there is a very large skateboarding scene, which I am a fan of. Chamonix is also absolutely breathtaking to me. I love the outdoors, so the opportunity to hike and enjoy nature during the program was an awesome surprise for me.

Q: What is your favorite activity you did as a FN student?

NB: When I was a student with Forum-Nexus, my absolute favorite activity was participating in a professional visit to the United Nations. I never imagined myself visiting the UN headquarters in Geneva! I was absolutely astounded when we walked through the halls and saw all of the huge conference rooms.

And as a staff member this past summer, I really enjoyed hiking in Chamonix, seeing waterfalls, gorges, and taking in the mountain views, which was a very nice break between the big cities.

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

 Q: What is your advice to future FN students on how to benefit the most from their study abroad experience?

NB: My best advice for fully benefitting from your experience with Forum-Nexus is to pause and reflect every few days or so to put the things you’re experiencing into perspective. This will help you fully understand what you can do with your international education.

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Q: What is one “life lesson” you’ve learned from your time with FN?

NB: One of the primary lessons that I have learned from my experiences with FN is to go with the flow; whether that means to fit into whatever culture you’re immersed in during any given time, or to deal with situations as they arise. This is an attitude that FN has caused me to adopt, and has allowed me to be a much more positive and independent person.

 Q: How many countries have you traveled to?

NB: I have traveled to 10 countries including the U.S. and Canada. I currently have a goal to hit 50 countries by the end of 2018.

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

 Q: Where do you want to travel to next?

NB: I am working on plans to travel to Amsterdam this summer, but there aren’t too many places that are not on my list!

For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

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Summer 2017 Study Abroad Packing Guide

There’s nothing like a summer abroad in Europe, including the adventure of packing for a trip that is several weeks in length. We put together a packing guide, tailored to the Forum Europe Summer 2017: 9 Cities in 5 Weeks program, and recommended by longtime FN staffers. This list promotes light, efficient packing for hot to mild climates and everything in between. Feel free to customize this list of recommendations to your own personal needs and comforts. More packing tips and tricks to come!

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Europe Essentials

 Clothing:

-Casual attire for sightseeing, traveling, nightlife
-Casual professional attire for class
-Business casual attire for professional visits (recommended 5-8 outfits)
-Cocktail attire for graduation ceremony in Rhodes
-Active wear for swimming, hiking, exercising, etc.
-Comfortable walking shoes
-Comfortable dress shoes
-Sneakers
-1 light jacket *bring a rain jacket for multi-purpose wear

 Insider tip: 30 days on the road does not mean that 30 different outfits are needed. Mix and match clothes and pack light! Laundromats are available in each destination – use them to your advantage!

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Toiletries:

-tooth brush & toothpaste
-hair brush/comb
-razor/shaving cream
-contact/glasses care
-Advil/Tylenol and any prescriptions
-hair styling tools (straightener, curling iron)

Insider tip: There is a hair dryer in every hotel available by request
-shampoo/conditioner
-body wash
-feminine products, if applicable

 Insider tip: Most toiletries will be available at local markets and stores. Save room and buy the essentials once you make it to the first destination.

 Class supplies:

-One notebook/binder with paper
-Writing utensils (pens, pencils, highlighters)
-Required textbooks

Insider tip: A laptop/tablet is recommended but not absolutely necessary

Miscellaneous:

-Converters/adapters for all electronic items
-Chargers for electronics
-Euros  *We recommend bringing 150-200 euros upon arrival
-One bag/backpack and/or purse
-Passport
-Copies of credit cards, IDs, etc.

 Non-essential, but useful items

-A small fold-up umbrella
-Fold-up plastic bag for grocery shopping
-Sunscreen
-Sunglasses
-A hat for shade while walking around and sightseeing
-Hand sanitizer
-Camera
-Neck pillow for travel (insider recommendation)
-Portable charger/battery pack
-Travel journal
-Laundry detergent packets (can be purchased at markets)
-iPod/MP3 player
-Water bottle for refilling

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Packing hacks:

-roll clothing, instead of folding
-pack clothing items that are easy to mix and match
-place the heaviest items at the bottom (nearest to wheels) of the suitcase to properly balance weight
-leave 10-25% of your suitcase empty – depending on how much you plan to shop
-Bring a small Febreze bottle or dryer sheets to keep items in suitcase smelling fresh
-Hygienic items can be purchased at any time during the trip. Some things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. are provided by hotels.
-Keep essential items in your carry-on bag

Keep in mind…

-Most airlines have strict baggage policies. Check with each booked airline before packing/buying extra items to bring home.
-Each Forum-Nexus students is permitted one suitcase and one “carry-on” bag
-Pack light! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Suitcase: Maximum length: 26″ (66 cm), Maximum width: 20″ (51 cm), Maximum height: 12′ (30 cm). Combined length + width + height cannot exceed 40″ (102 cm). The weight should not exceed 40 lbs (9 kg).

Carry-on: Combined length + width + height cannot exceed 40″ (102 km). The weight should not exceed 20 lbs (9 kg).

 Happy packing! Europe, here we come.

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Q&A: NADINE FARRAG

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We caught up with longtime team member (6 years and counting!) Nadine Farrag to learn how traveling with FN has influenced her life thus far, what she does in her role with Forum-Nexus, and to hear what adventures she’s tackling next. Get to know our favorite Egyptian… #ThisisForumNexus!

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Q: Tell us about your background. In what cities and countries have you lived? Where did you study?

NF:  I was born in Egypt but lived in Saudi Arabia for the first two years of my life. Then I lived in Kuwait for six years until I returned to Egypt and have lived there ever since. My primary education was in Kuwait but l the rest of my school years and university occurred in Egypt. I studied Marketing and Journalism at the American University in Cairo and graduated in 2012.

Q: How many times have you participated in FN programs?

NF: My first time with Forum-Nexus was in the summer of 2011 and I’ve been with the program ever since :)

This summer will be my 7th!

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Q: What are your responsibilities as a FN staff member?

NF: I’m an Admissions Counselor  and I manage the team that supports students and prospective students from countries outside of the United States.  I also support the Marketing team through my involvement with our  marketing materials, and on-ground events and activities.

During the program, I help with logistics and the coordination of students’ activities and academics.

Q: What languages do you speak?

NF: I speak English and Arabic, and I know a little bit of French. I plan on learning Spanish next.

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus? About FN students?

NF: The experience one gets with Forum-Nexus is truly life-changing. The international exposure, the immense travel experience, and making lifelong international friends is not a combination that you come across everyday.

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I still remember my first year with Forum-Nexus. I left with a changed perspective, not just about the world, but about myself as well. With FN, you broaden your horizons, you discover things that you never thought existed; it all helps shape you into a better citizen of the world.

Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

NF: Employers now look for candidates who can work under pressure, communicate with different people, and cope with anything. Students get that with Forum-Nexus because you get to interact with students from all over the world, learn to adapt to different cultures quickly, and gain exposure to a lot of different situations that you wouldn’t normally face in your home country.

FN also gives you an edge if you’re looking to work abroad; you’ve already been to at least 9 cities in a month!

Q: In your own words, what is special about Europe?  

NF: Every city is different than the other; you experience different cultures and cuisines. There’s a lot of heritage and beautiful scenery. Europe is indeed magical for hosting something for every taste!

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Q: Why is knowledge of Europe important?

NF: It’s a central part in the world and everything that happens there will affect you somehow. Take Brexit for example, or the financial crisis in Greece.

Q: What are your favorite cities in the FN itinerary and why?

NF: That’s a very tough question because they’re all amazing in their own way. If I had to choose, I would pick Barcelona. I believe it combines everything that all cities in Europe offer. I love the language, the people, the energy. It has the beach, nightlife, scenery, heritage, and great cuisine. I think it’s so special to me because its atmosphere reminds me a bit of my home country, Egypt, so it feels like a second home. I’ve been to Barcelona around 8 times so far and I still find new places to visit every year!

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Q: What is your favorite activity you did as a FN student?

NF: Getting lost wandering around new streets probably – haha! Leaving the touristy places behind and exploring the real city like a local is always more fun.

Q: What is your advice to future FN students on how to benefit the most from their study abroad experience?

NF: Make sure to explore as much of the city as you can. Every city we’re offering is a home to wonderful places and activities so plan in advance so you have enough time to experience them all. And definitely mingle with the locals. Everyone is so friendly.

Q: Where do you want to travel to next?

NF:  I’m very interested in Asia. I went to Nepal last year and it was an amazing experience – very different from any traveling I’ve done before and I have traveled A LOT. Now with the plans of Forum-Nexus in Asia in 2018, I can’t wait already!

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 For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

 

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Destination 6: This is Lugano!

The sixth destination on the Forum Europe Summer 2017 itinerary is a sweet, day-long stop in the alpine city of Lugano, Switzerland.

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Stunning lakeside views of Lake Lugano greet newcomers with sparkling water and rolling mountains that cradle colored homes. It’s a postcard-worthy scene we recommend admiring in person. Along with the iconic Swiss chocolate, world-renowned brands, and beautiful sites, Lugano proudly fosters an Italian-Swiss infused culture. It’s completely different from Geneva in the best ways.

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The day trip to Lugano will be split into two parts: Class at the stunning Franklin University Switzerland campus followed by free time to enjoy downtown Lugano. FUS has warmly welcomed Forum-Nexus for years, graciously allowing FN professors to conduct an immersive educational experience for the day. While on campus, student can literally see what it’s like to study abroad. Once class concludes, students will be free to explore downtown Lugano for a few hours. Walk the lakeside, buy some chocolate, or take a pedal boat out on the lake (a favorite) – there is plenty to take in!

Lugano will serve as a middle point of transition from Milan to Como. This day trip is the perfect combination of enriching and fun.

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Take a glimpse of last summer’s sweet stop in Switzerland here.

Up next on the blog, we’ll share more about the 2017 itinerary, travel tips, and what alumni had to say about their time exploring Europe.

Follow along on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about this one-of-a-kind city and our Summer 2017 program.

Lugano awaits YOU! Join us.

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