One of the most official documents granted by a country to its citizens is a passport, and everyone who studies with the Syracuse University London Program will hold at least one. Many Americans apply for their first passport specifically to study abroad with us; other students have needed a passport and F1 visa to enroll at our home campus in Syracuse, New York.
In addition to marking you as a citizen of a particular country, a passport grants you particular privileges to move around the globe and access services – though not all passports are created equal. A British passport, for instance, grants its bearers automatic access to 118 countries with virtually no paperwork involved…while Afghani citizens can enter only 5 countries with such ease.
Beyond the practical realities of identification and borders, a passport acts as a record, a scrapbook, and a biography: It is literally a ‘graph’ of your ‘bio’, as immigration entry and exit stamps chronicle your travels.
While your national passport confirms your status as a particular country’s citizen, the Syracuse London experience seeks to evolve your identity as a global citizen. To support this, we’ve created our own version of the passport to document your time abroad. By participating in our co-curricular programming, sharing about your independent explorations, and reflecting on what you’re learning, you can earn stamps and prizes.
The London Passport creates a structure around which you can tailor and shape adventures in ways that are meaningful to you. When we give you the document, we are marking you as something more than ‘an American’, ‘a Brit’, or ‘an Indian’, questioning identities and encouraging you to consider:
- How do you want to challenge yourself?
- What types of experience do you most want to immerse yourself in?
- How will you move beyond tourist and become a local Londoner, an international traveler, and a global citizen?
Rather than receiving stamps from country’s immigration officials, you can earn stamps from our Program Office staff in various categories, focusing your personal growth and development around key elements of global citizenship:
- Sport, Wellbeing & the Environment: From a holistic perspective, the wellbeing of an individual person and the planet are connected. You are encouraged to pursue activities that help develop the awareness and practice of healthy, sustainable living for both yourself and others – a compelling challenge in a global city like London. Joining the UCL Green Economy Society or participating in workouts at Bloomsbury Fitness are great ways to get started.
- Social & Political Justice: The desire for a fairer world for all is at the foundation of global citizenship ideals. Engaging with social and political issues that matter to you are important ways to be involved in your community and help bring about a more equitable society. You might work alongside other students in the UCL Volunteering Society, learn more about how British government works, or support an activist campaign around something you’re passionate about.
- Global Professional: As a university student, you are not just studying – you are also training yourself for your future career, whatever it will be. Part of your time in London should be spent preparing for your professional life beyond university, giving your career plans a global, cross-cultural perspective. The Students’ Union UCL has an Asia Careers Society, for example; you could also meet with a British university admissions counselor to discuss graduate school.
- Art, Architecture & Heritage: The soul of a place (be it city, country, continent) is perhaps best discovered in its artistic expressions, its built environments, and the ways it commemorates the past. Immerse yourself in the history and culture of London, the United Kingdom, and Europe through museum visits, theatre nights, and weekend travel.
Learn more about the London Passport and its prizes with this blog post on the London Cuse, and spend time discussing current issues with the Syracuse London community for stamps at our Passport Lunch Series.