In and of the World: Two Counseling@NYU Students Find Community Online and at NYU Accra

Ambar Gomez and Katherine Lizardo, classmates in Steinhardt’s Counseling@NYU program, travelled to Ghana in March for Global Perspectives in Higher Education, an immersive education program which offers students an in-depth case study of the country’s higher education system. The students were part of a 25-member delegation led by Teboho Moja, clinical professor of higher education, and Ann Marcus, director of the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education. The NYU Accra group visited colleges and universities in Ghana and spoke to dignitaries, administrators, and students to learn how higher education meets the social, political, and cultural needs of Ghanaian society. We asked Ambar and Katherine about their experience as NYU students.

Ambar Gomez and Katherine Lizardo (left to right).

Why did you choose the Counseling@NYU program?

Katherine:  I love that NYU has the reputation it does. The courses required are relevant to where I want to take my career. And the online platform allows me to take courses with quality professors without having to sacrifice the convenience of my own home.

Ambar:  I was working at Teachers College, Columbia University, when I decided I wanted to go back to school. I wanted a program that would fit my work schedule, so I requested additional information from the NYU Counseling Online program. The admissions counselor at the time reached out to me and gave me so much support and information. He really walked me through the process and gave me such great advice that I decided NYU Online School Counseling was the best choice for me.

Katherine (left) and Ambar studying in the park. (Photo credit: Jose Reyes)

Why was Counseling@NYU the ideal program for you?

Katherine:  I really like that I could see and speak with the professors and my classmates through video chat. Also, I like that the program treats virtual classes like actual classes. For example, I have to be there every week at specific times. That is truly is the definition of an online class. Other programs I looked into give a time frame in which I am supposed to complete the course work or chat with my classmates, but that was not enough to keep me motivated and focused. We all have unique ways of learning.  

Ambar:  Aside from the convenience of studying from the comfort of my own home: my cohort, my academic advisors, the support I got from everyone within this online community, made this program so ideal for me. I have been so fortunate and lucky with my online studies and I would choose nowhere else!

Ambar (standing) and Katherine studying at the Jersey City library. (Photo credit: Jose Reyes)

How did you meet each other?  

Ambar:  I actually met Katherine through our online program. We both were in class together when we realized that we lived within walking distance from each other ALL our lives and had NO IDEA. We never met prior to our class, so to find each other through our online program was amazing. We’ve been close friends ever since. We remind each other of deadlines. Whenever we want to study together, we meet up at each other’s house. It’s amazing to have a friend to go through this process with and to be able to support each other through our studies. 

Katherine: We met in our counseling class when we were paired for a breakout activity. In conversation we realized we were actually only living a block away from each other!  She has become a helpful source, confidant, and close friend. We are constantly motivating each other in not only life goals but also career and educational goals.

The friends met online in their Counseling@NYU class.

What made you decide to add the NYU Accra session to your course of study?

Ambar:  NYU sent me an email about study abroad opportunities.  I was very interested because as a school counselor, I wanted to learn about the mental health of students from a global standpoint. I felt like the Ghana session would do that for me because I would be meeting with students at  higher education institutions. I then reached out and submitted an application and was admitted. I told Katherine about it and she was also excited about it and applied.

Students at Accra Technical University served as tour guides for Ambar (far left) and Katherine (right).

Katherine: Ambar presented the idea to me. I have a love for travel, culture, and youth. This was a perfect opportunity for me to understand how education works in other countries and cultures. In addition, I am interested in a career in higher education. Since I have had much experience with high school, this seemed like the perfect platform for me to explore whether it truly is going to make for a passionate career. I also wanted to build a background in research in education. It is safe to say I’m excited to see where my career and education go next… Maybe a doctoral degree?

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Find out more about the online Counseling@NYU program and NYU’s global programs.