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Brianna Alba (Preferred Name: Alba)

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Brianna Alba (Preferred Name: Alba) (she/her) - Stanford in New York

Majors: Management Science and Engineering

Minors: Human Rights, Data Science

College year while abroad: Sophomore


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Why did you choose to study off campus in New York?

I chose to study in New York for the opportunity. I grew up in a rural suburbia - the complete opposite of New York. I was curious as to what life in such a busy city was like and decided to apply on a whim. Once I was in, I decided to do more research on the program and grew more interested and excited about the opportunity as I read on. The internship component especially interested me as working in New York is truly a unique experience regardless of the industry you choose to work in.

What were your expectations before you went and how did those change once you arrived in New York?

I honestly didn’t have many expectations before coming to New York. I wanted to experience the program without any prior judgments or expectations of what was to come. In fact, I didn’t even create a bucket list for things to do in the city until the end of week 1 when I realized the abundance of things to do and the limited time I would be in the city. However, I will say that there were some pretty pleasant surprises throughout the program from the SINY team.

What were some of the academic benefits from studying abroad in New York?

The most beneficial aspect of studying in New York is definitely the professors. The professors in the program are not only caring about your experience in New York but are extremely knowledgeable in their fields of study. The small class size is a bonus as we get to learn interactively and speak with our professors in more of a seminar setting.

What did you learn about yourself while you were studying abroad?

I learned about what I value in the workplace and what type of future I want for myself during the program. Apart from my experiences in my internship, the professors and alumni I spoke to throughout my time there provided useful insights and advice. Apart from my career, I learned more about myself - specifically how I adapt to new environments and how I communicate with others.

What was the most challenging experience you encountered while you were off-campus and what did you learn from it?

The most challenging experience I encountered was becoming comfortable with going with the flow. Exploring the city gives you an abundance of activities, shops, and sights which can easily distract you or prolong the trip you had originally planned. As someone who tends to be a planner, it was challenging to adapt to an environment where your plans don’t always work out. I learned to find comfort and excitement in this rather than shy away from it because there are so many opportunities to simply go with the flow and try new things.

What was the biggest cultural adjustment you had to make?

The biggest cultural adjustment I had to make would have to be the abundance of people I encounter just by going outside or to the grocery store. I’ll never forget the first time we went to buy groceries at Trader Joe’s - one of the most chaotic experiences I had in New York. The line wrapped around three aisles, even with 25 cash registers open.

What was your favorite part of your everyday life in New York?

My favorite part of my everyday life in New York would have to be the community. My cohort was truly one of the most special parts of my experience with Stanford in New York. Whether it was recapping my day with my roommate or going out to group dinners, there was always something to do and look forward to.

What was the most memorable experience you had while you were in New York?

The most memorable experience I’ve had while in New York was going to late-night karaoke with some friends. We had to sprint across the streets of Manhattan to make it to our reservation before they gave our room away. It was a chaotic but memorable start to the night.

What 5 words would you use to describe your experience?

Wholesome, Chaotic, Enlightening, Welcoming, and Exciting.

What was your favorite food you had in New York?

Kimchi pancakes! Make sure to try them at Her Name is Han if you’re even in New York.

What was the most valuable item you took with you on the program?

My phone! I know this is a pretty boring answer but it provided me with so much during my time there. Apart from navigation and music, my phone allowed me to digitally capture the moment and stay in contact with those back home.

What was your favorite music/band that you discovered in New York?

During my time there, I rediscovered my love for Omar Apollo! I had been a fan since high school but his music fell out of my rotation until recently when various stores in SoHo had his music in the background.