In partnership with the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), the UB Department of Sociology offers three bachelor's degrees at our SIM campus home in Singapore, offering courses year-round with a mix of local (Singaporean) and department faculty instructors. The SIM-UB partnership enables students from Singapore and the surrounding region to benefit from an “American-style” curriculum and to earn their BA from our US Research-1 university. The SIM-UB partnership gives US students an opportunity for seamless study abroad in Singapore, and simultaneously enables many SIM-UB students to spend a semester or academic year studying at the “home campus” in Buffalo. Currently there are 241 Sociology majors in the SIM-UB program in spring 2020 and 83 students are graduating with Sociology degrees in the annual commencement in summer 2020. Although Singapore is currently on a “circuit-breaker” similar to US stay-at- home orders right now, students are finishing the spring semester online, coping like university students all over the world. The department appreciates the students’ dedication to finishing their studies, and the efforts of our talented faculty to ensure that learning continues, albeit in a different form.
The department takes UB’s mission of internationalization seriously, both by welcoming international students to our undergraduate and graduate programs, and by designing additional opportunities for US students to internationalize their UB experience. In addition to the thriving SIM-UB sociology major in Singapore, the department also supports two London-based study abroad programs. The 38 students who participated in the seventh annual 2020 London Sociology of Food winter session program had an action-packed three weeks of classes and activities in early January.
The coronavirus unexpectedly interrupted the 2020 UB Semester in London program, operating in its twelfth year. That program features two classroom-based courses along with 20 hour per week professional internships. The semester program started with a bang, but ended on a more somber note when we were called back from London in mid-March due to the pandemic, a month before the program was scheduled to end. London provided abundant opportunities for students to be audience members of theatre, opera and concerts for an eye-opening visit to the Food Policy Unit at London City Hall just as the awareness of the pandemic was growing.The live-study-work opportunity of the UB Semester in London was cut short and the cohort said its goodbyes on a sidewalk in front of the theatre where they had just watched “Hamilton” in London’s West End. On a more upbeat note, after returning home students adapted creatively to their virtual study abroad that involved several zoom classes, coursework, museum visits and theatre nights online. With safety foremost in the planning, the department hopes to continue its commitment to internationalizing its curriculum and to offer these two study abroad programs in 2021.