I'm Lou, 19 years old and from Frankfurt, Germany. In July 2022 I did my Abitur and went to the U.S. afterward, to do an academic gap year in New York. Like many of you, shortly before the Abitur exams, I had no idea what I wanted to study, or what I would like to become, not even talking about what I wanted to do right after graduation. But I was lucky because I had rough ideas: I was sure that I wanted to do something productive that would help me personally and not just serve time. I really wanted to be abroad. A trip around the world seemed interesting, but in the end, I didn't see any added value, which is why I decide against it. My choice of advanced courses (politics, economics, and English) at school also brought me a little closer to my professional future. Because during this time I developed a great interest in economics and finance as well as international relations. But still, in March 2022, I didn't know what I would do after the summer. The hopelessness drove me crazy, but I was able to put an end to it when I became aware of “World of Students”. An introductory course abroad sounded great because it fulfilled some of my requirements such as being abroad, professional orientation, learning something, gaining experience, and having fun. Choosing the location of the university was more or less difficult for me. Since I've always been a USA fan because I was lucky enough to travel the country often on vacation and always had great memories of these trips. I'm a big city person and when I saw that New York was a possibility – my choice was made. Living in the capital of the world, as they say so often (I can confirm that now, by the way), it seemed like a perfect dream. So, I decided to do an academic gap year at St. Francis College in New York City. St. Francis College is a very small college with a little more than 2.000 students in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn. It is well connected to public transportation since there are four subway stations within five minutes walking distance. Therefore, you reach Lower Manhattan in under ten minutes. Unfortunately, St. Francis College does not have a campus on account of its central location in Brooklyn. Instead, it is located in a business tower, shared with Macy’s on the lower floors and more companies on the other floors. St. Francis College rents the 5th, 6th, and 7th floors. The student’s life mainly takes place on the 5th floor since the library, the auditorium, and the cafeteria with the multipurpose room are located there. The 6th floor is home to most classrooms and some student affairs offices, where you get advice on bureaucratic topics at any time. Since St. Francis is famous for its nursing courses, there is a stimulation hospital on the 7th floor and several laboratories for the chemics and biology courses. But sadly, I have to say that there is no calm place on campus to study or have its privacy, even in the library you are allowed to talk. This is why I recommend studying at the impressive New York Public Library which is free of charge and you definitely feel like an elite student in the 19th century. I would like to mention that there is sadly no community at St. Francis College probably because of the missing campus, which is why there are no events like parties. But you are in New York City the world’s metropolis with thousands of opportunities to party if you are at least 21. Be aware of the law that you are not of legal age under 21 and therefore cannot visit any bar or club because it is very strict and they always need to scan your physical ID and as an International, sometimes even your passport. You have to be aware, that you cannot take part in any of the sports teams or most of the student clubs, but if you are interested you can support the college teams on game days. These facts let you miss the college feeling you probably know from American movies. Something good to know is that you only take four courses, which last two hours a week, which means you only have eight hours of classes. This may seem very little but be aware of the assignments you get. In every class, you get assignments, comparable to homework in school. Some professors give you a lot of tasks for example a five pages essay or a book to read, others only want you to take a look at a PowerPoint. This really depends on the professor. But still, you will have a lot of free time, since you only have four courses to prepare for. Your final grade will consist of attendance which is mandatory and is checked every single time, your participation in class, little quizzes, the assignments, the midterm exam, and the final exam. In general, my friends and I think that colleges in the U.S., and especially St. Francis College is easier than German universities. In the fall semester of 2022, there were about 30 German students and more than 500 international students. Therefore, it was very easy for everyone to find friends, but I experienced, that the American students were not really welcoming because they already knew each other and had their friend groups. Regarding the living situation, it is good to know that the rent prices are very expensive, a room in an apartment shared with other people starts at $1000 a month in Brooklyn, and in Manhattan, it starts at $1800. If you are looking for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan the rent starts at $3000 and $2000 in Brooklyn a month. The location of the Residence Hall is very beautiful with a nice view of the Manhattan Skyline but keep in mind that you’ll have to pay $1900 for a triple bedroom and you need to be lucky to get a single bedroom if you are an international student. Living in New York City means unlimited opportunities for activities. Home of the best restaurants and food from all over the world. It is important to be aware of prices in New York since everything costs double to triple the price in Europe. What I learned to buy affordable food go to Trader Joe’s or Aldi if you don’t want to spend $8-10 on dairy products. If you are searching for good food, I recommend looking on TikTok or Instagram pages, also if you want to know about free stuff or upcoming events. Especially in summer and early fall, there are plenty of free events every day e.g., open-air cinemas or sports sessions in New York City’s parks. Even though I only was occupied with college 20 hours a week it never got boring because I explored the city and went on weekend trips since New York offers great connections to all parts of the country. Miami, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, and the Hamptons were some of a few places I was able to travel to when I did my Gap Year at St. Francis College. I often get questions like “what did your gap year in the U.S. taught you?”, and that is easy to answer. Living in NYC. has shown me how advanced Germany actually is and that it is not natural to have free education, health insurance, cheap groceries, and rent prices. I started to appreciate my living situation back home more than ever and I am very thankful for that. I improved my English skills and was even able to keep practicing my Spanish. I received an insight into the American education system and last but not least I am now sure about my professional future and what I want to study, which was my main goal of doing this academic orientation gap year. Feel free to reach out to me if there is something you want to know about in more detail.