Second-year master’s candidate Joey Uy will arrive on campus without a single memory of a TC classroom moment, a standout menu item in the dining hall or a special study hideaway in the Gottesman Libraries.
That’s because the International Educational Development student, over their first two semesters as a TC student, never once left their hometown of San Diego during the pandemic.
“It's weird. The closest I got to TC was seeing (Associate Professor of International & Comparative Education Oren) Pizmony-Levy's office during a Zoom call,” said Uy.
Uy is far from alone. In fact, theirs is an experience universal to every student who entered TC in August, 2020 — month four of a campus-wide Covid lockdown that is on track to be lifted at the start of the fall semester.
Uy finally made it to campus in early August, but a visitor's pass got them only as far as the window in the Office of Government Relations in Grace Dodge Hall that provided Uy with a “teeny, little glimpse of the courtyard.”
Uy came to New York from the University of California, San Diego, where they studied urban studies and political science, focusing on the educational side of international relations.
At UCSD, they also experienced distance learning in another form: a trio of study abroad programs that included a semester-long excursion aboard a classroom ship that over four months transported Uy and their classmates to ports in Germany, Spain, Ghana, South America, Japan, China, Myanmar, India, Vietnam and Hawaii.
“That was the catalyst for majoring in international ed,” they said. “We learned about different countries and different cultures. I was especially interested in the ways schools are set up.”
Uy says the International Educational Development program with its emphasis on transcultural policy and the global advancement of student and teacher development has proven, as hoped, to be an ideal progression from their undergrad study abroad programs.
And, even though it happened a year later than expected, they have no regrets about moving 3,000 miles to take advantage of what TC has to offer.
“I needed a change of scenery,” Uy says. “And this is a perfect time and to be an adult in the sense that I'm not 20 minutes from my mom's house to do my laundry.”
A work-study position with the Office of Governmental Relations, has moreover enabled Uy to find a practical application for the political science degree.
From an apartment in San Diego, Uy in fact helped coordinate the first Governmental Relations workshop of the 2021-22 academic year: “How to Advocate Amid the Pandemic.”
“Learning about New York politics and the educational side of politics has been a great experience,” says Uy. “It has also got me thinking that working in government relations one day might be something I might want to pursue.”
Uy plans a full exploration of the TC campus upon the issuance of their student ID, but they like what little they've seen so far.
The courtyard in particular struck a chord.
“I can imagine hanging out with my friends there,” Uy says.