Physically boarding a plane and traveling may be unfeasible for most of us at this time, but virtual conferences, tours, concerts, and more have given us alternative ways to explore the world. Inspired by some of the Liberal Studies First Year Away and Junior Year Study Abroad sites, we’ve put together a list of virtual activities that offer the ability to visit some of these sites from anywhere in the world, at any time. With two three-day weekends this semester, current students might even “travel” to two different countries this spring break! From learning how to make Ghanaian jollof rice to touring the Abu Dhabi Louvre, there are so many ways to have global, interdisciplinary, and engaged Liberal Studies experiences from the comfort of your couch.
- Visit–You can still tour the Jing’an Temple of Shanghai, a popular destination among study abroad students, virtually. Take a walk around the temple or go inside and see the largest sitting jade Buddha statue in China.
- Read–If you’re looking to learn more about the history of Shanghai, check out Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars, and Scoundrels. This firsthand recollection of Mao’s rise to power may help you gain a deeper understanding of how the past shapes current political tensions in China.
- BONUS: Eat–If you’re in New York, take a trip to Flushing, Queens to have authentic Shanghainese soup dumplings at You Garden Xiao Long Bao.
- Eat–Try your hand at making Luqaimat, a sweet dumpling traditionally served during the month of Ramadan.
- Visit–Check out the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s vast collection of online activities, including webinars, symposiums, and art exhibitions.
- Listen–Learn more about Emirati culture by listening to Emirati Stories, a podcast in which journalist Nathalie Glliet interviews everyday citizens in hopes of bridging the gap between visitors and locals in the United Arab Emirates.
- Listen–PBS’ Dream of Italy podcast features host Kathy McCabe talking to chefs, authors, and friends about their favorite parts of traveling to Italy.
- Watch–Attend a virtual lecture on various aspects of Florentine culture, like the Tuscan Wine Revolution and Dante’s poems about the city, hosted by the British Institute of Florence. The lectures will give you a chance to ask questions and discuss with a group of 15-20 attendees after the talk. It might just feel like you’re in an LS Core seminar abroad.
- Eat–Learn how to make Ghanaian jollof rice, a simple, one-pot recipe that can be easily customized based on your dietary preferences. You can also read about the lighthearted social media debate about the best way to make jollof rice among the West African diaspora. Notice the subtle differences between Ghanaian and Nigerian jollof rice, and how and why the two regions have adopted similar recipes for things like jollof rice–British colonization and geographical location have created similarities in languages and cultural traditions.
- Visit–Take a variety of 360-degree virtual tours of various attractions and historical sites in Ghana, including the Cape Coast Castle.
- Listen–Global Shapers Accra is an educational podcast about the community leaders who are using economic and political engagement to create a better Accra for all. Hear about how young journalists, entrepreneurs, and innovators are coming together to work on community initiatives in Accra.
- Visit–Go to the top of the city in a virtual tour of the Berliner Fernsehturm Tower, one of NYU Berlin students' favorite attractions due to its proximity to the NYU Berlin academic center.
- Listen–Listen to a curated Berliner Philharmoniker playlist of performances over the last five years–most of these performances will never be performed live again!
- Read–Check out Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, which features two Isherwood novels set in the years leading up to World War II. Isherwood's descriptions of the transitional period of Germany have eerie similarities to the recent rise in far-right groups we see across the world today.
- Visit–Walk through the galleries of the Sorolla Museum just like Madrid study away students do! Recreate faculty-led excursions to the Chamberi neighborhood of Madrid by listening to the audio tours of popular exhibits.
- Read–Browse Rethinking Guernica, an interactive microsite created by the Reina Sofia Museum, where Guernica is on display. You can learn more about how political, artistic, and historical interpretations of the painting have made Guernica an interdisciplinary work that transcends the artist’s original intent.
- BONUS: Eat–If you’re in New York, check out Socarrat in Soho and treat yourself to churros for dessert, or make your own using ingredients you can probably find in your kitchen right now.
- Visit–The Bronx Zoo has live webcam feeds of some of the most popular animals at the zoo, including the penguins and lemurs. You can also book a virtual tour of the zoo to get up close and personal with the animals and their trainers.
- Watch–Check out the Whitney Museum's wide array of virtual events, with webinars like “Art History From Home: Queer Belonging,” which features NYU alum Josh Lubin-Levy. The Whitney frequently holds webinars like these, so check out the calendar and see what catches your eye!
- Listen–If you want to keep up to date with the New York City arts and culture scene, listen to All of It by Allison Stewart, a daily radio show about culture, context, and consumers.