The Beauty of an Immersion Program

two people embrace each other while sitting on a couch on the set of the tv show "Friends"
Gloria Rivera (left) with fellow Goldring arts journalism and communications student Jeannie Jedlicka during the L.A. immersion trip. Photo courtesy of Gloria Rivera.

During my time here, I’ve attended three immersion trips. The first was a weekend trip to Toronto, the second was a week in New York City and the third was a week in Los Angeles. Two of these trips were worked into my program, so they were luckily part of my curriculum and made attending an easy “choice.” The other was an immersion trip I took with the public relations department, and I had to decide if I wanted to use elective credits, which in the words of my director “are prime real estate,” as well as spend the money, and devote my spring break to a school trip. Here are three reasons why I’m happy with my decision:

The first is maybe obvious, I’m grateful to get to see new places. I had never been to Toronto, and we went in September during the Toronto International Film Festival. It was exciting, filled with people and we got to do SO much. New York City is my hometown, and yet I rarely go to see Broadway shows or visit museums, so the chance to re-explore my city was both exciting and a nice chance to fall back in love with my city. And the last time I’d been to Los Angeles was a brief family trip while I was in high school, so I had no real concept of the city or what it had to offer. The chance to go to these places with a set agenda allowed me to see more of what life looks like in these areas and get an idea of the possibilities available to me post-grad. 

Another reason was a chance to bond with folks that are in my own or other programs. We do get to spend time with our peers in many ways, but there’s not much time to travel for fun in a year-long program. A lot of my weekends are filled with work or projects, so when I have a chance to explore it’s usually around Syracuse. So, taking advantage of going somewhere felt a little like a cheat code to explore a new place with friends.  

Lastly, the chance to explore new programs allowed me a peek into a variety of positions within the communications field. One of my favorite parts of my Newhouse career has been the opportunity to grow in my craft while not limiting myself to only one field. Working on press releases, presentations and meeting industry professionals allowed me insight into what it may look like to pivot and which of my skills are transferable between industries. 

Overall, if you have the chance to visit a new place and learn new things, do it now! 

Gloria Rivera is a graduate student in the Goldring arts journalism and communications program at the Newhouse School.