Published April 2, 2012
¡Bienvenidos a Miami! Palm trees, Gloria Estefan and Will Smith's late '90s anthem are all emblems of this sunny city, so it usually evokes more visions of partying than of studying. It was also called "America's Cleanest City" by Forbes Magazine in 2008, and it's known as the Cruise Capital of the World. It's a major center of international business and finance, with a strong music and dance scene as well as Hispanic influence.
But graduate school in Miami? Well, Kerry Boduch, a doctoral candidate in Physical Therapy at the University of Miami, is here to share what she loves about her higher ed experience. The beach study breaks are just a bonus.
Why did you decide to attend graduate school in Miami?
Boduch was influenced by University of Miami’s reputation, as well as its climate. "I loved my four years in State College, Pennsylvania, but after my bachelor's, I knew it was time for a change of scenery," she explained. "I applied to schools in Philadelphia since my family is close to the city, but my main focuses were "warmer". Noticing the University of Miami on the list, I researched the program and was very impressed by the diversity, reputation, research and offerings at the University. Plus, it was the beginning of October and I had just dug my car out of 4 inches of snow. I decided to apply to UM, which is also a program that consistently ranks among the top physical therapy schools in the nation."
What are the benefits to attending grad school there?
Boduch's able to access some pretty unique and awesome experiences via her graduate program at UM. "Aside from the obvious draws of Miami, like the weather and the beach, the University and the community have a lot to offer. First of all, our program offers a unique sailing course to physical therapy students. Working with "Shake-a-Leg Miami", physical therapy students work with disabled sailboat captains. We learn how to transfer to and from the boat and dock, how the sailors adapt to their participation restrictions, plus we learn how to sail! For many of us, myself included, that class was our first time on sailboats! We learned a lot and also had a great experience with great people who may resemble our future patients.
Another unique experience in this program has been getting the chance to work with pilot whales. Earlier this year, a pod of whales beached themselves and developed curved spines. Having worked with the marine conservancy group before, our program was called to aid in the rehabilitation of the whales. Applying skills we have learned in lab, our students have been visiting the conservancy site and getting hands-on experience that cannot be achieved many other places."
Boduch is also a huge fan of the city itself, explaining it has "incredible diversity, beauty and a plethora of activities to engage in. Aside from campus intramural sports, I have joined two community kickball leagues and I am able to play pick-up soccer year round. The Hispanic culture allows me to practice my Spanish speaking, which is incredibly valuable in our society. The art festivals, music festivals, and culture festivals make the city fun as well, providing many great ways to take study breaks!"
What are the drawbacks?
"The traffic is terrible," Boduch explains. An east coast native, she also misses "the changing of the seasons...mostly the fall when the leaves change. And I do miss Penn State football! The stadium here is a far drive and it is a hassle getting your friends together to tailgate."
Name a couple of things non-natives / non-residents don't know about the city and would be interested to learn.
"There is so much here besides South Beach!" Boduch insists. "I am incredibly happy studying and living in Miami and I would encourage anyone to take the opportunity to visit and embrace what is available."