New York City as a Classroom

For four days Caeley Currie, along with a group of St. Thomas University students and professors, explored New York City and used its museums, architecture, and culture as course material.

The STU group packed an impressive amount of activities into the trip, including a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, a history lesson in Central Park, and a visit to Ellis Island Immigration Museum and multiple art galleries.

For Currie, a first-year student from Burtts Corner, NB, the trip brought in-class subjects to life.

“The full effects of urbanization really become understandable when you step outside of Fredericton and into one of the worlds capitals,” she said. “I also found countless essay topics from the museums and galleries we visited and had the chance to speak with and learn from some incredible people.”

As a student who’s intrigued by domestic history, the “period rooms” display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a highlight for Currie.

“They recreated rooms complete with wallpaper, rugs, furniture, curtains, silverware, and every other object imaginable, all from real buildings that were once in New York,” she said. “Every room displayed a different time period, social class, or style. I could have spent an hour in each one of those rooms.”

Jessica Hughes, manager of the Office of Experiential and Community Based Learning, said this kind of learning experience broadens students’ perspectives and makes subject matter more relevant.

“Students from the History classes, as well as those from Fine Arts and Theatre classes, had the opportunity to get out of their comfort zones and apply their in class learning to a real world setting in New York City.”

Aside from being an enriching educational experience, Currie said spending time in New York with her peers has given her memories she will cherish beyond her time at St. Thomas.

“The silly story of that one time you nearly fell into a stranger on the train, or that rusty foreign coin you found in the middle of Time Square—those are the memories you’ll find yourself thinking about,” she said.

“Feeling your shoes scrape against the sidewalk—a sidewalk millions of people from every walk of life have walked before you—while enriching your education and seeing the world from a different perspective—if that’s not worthwhile, I don’t know what is.”