We’ve been to the pre-departure meetings and fretted over packing and plane tickets, but here’s the essential cultural guide to wherever in the world you’re going– as told by our favorite streaming service.
Let’s start closer to home with those of you who are attending the Cornell in Washington program. If you’re going to the nation’s capitol, odds are you’ve probably already seen at least one of the slew of Scandal-ous shows detailing what goes on behind the White House lawn. From Veep to House of Cards to Scandal (if you didn’t get the pun in the last sentence), mentally prep yourself to join the big leagues in DC by “researching” the nation’s Netflix past.
While’s it’s just a stone’s throw across the pond, Britain has definitely become an international epicenter of binge-worthy television. Some of the most recent releases of British shows on Netflix include Black Mirror (a sci-fi drama that will mess up your relationship with technology for weeks) and The Crown (a historically-based series following 25-year old Queen Elizabeth II as she takes the throne). Bonus points for practicing your English accent as you watch.
3Spain (GoT Tour in Seville)
If you’re already familiar with Game of Thrones, you know it’s filmed at various locations around the world including in Seville, Spain (or the city of Dorne for fans). For those of you who don’t watch Game of Thrones— do it. Right now. While it’s on HBOGo (and not Netflix) it’s well worth the switch. But whether or not you’re familiar with the show, you can go on one of several tours throughout Seville’s most famous filming locations, including the Alcazar.
While Narcos isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s a relatively accurate dramatic rendering of Colombia’s recent history. We’re not saying you shouldn’t party while you study abroad… but maybe it’s best to keep away from this stuff. That is, unless you want to get involved with the Mendellin Cartel.
Mozart in the Jungle is *technically* not on Netflix (it can be streamed on Amazon Prime), but the sound and scenery of the New York Symphony’s journey to Mexico City makes the switch worth it. This show explores the romantic side of rural Mexico and its vibrant heritage as well as the thriving cosmopolitan center that is the nation’s capital.
Netflix recently added 14 new Korean Dramas to its streaming services in the U.S., including classics like Coffee Prince and You’re Beautiful as well as newer hits like Angel Eyes or Doctor Stranger. These shows leave you tugging at your heartstrings and rooting for unlikely romances all while providing a basic introduction the culture of South Korean culture, ranging from food to family-style living.
Sense8 is a sci-fi show that encapsulates everything study abroad is about– creating emotional links to others around the world. Except with study abroad, you probably won’t be able to supernaturally hear other people’s thoughts. While this show is shot in eight different locations, one of the most enticing storylines occurs in Mumbai, India, where a strong-willed and university-educated pharmacist is engaged to marry a man she doesn’t love. If you’re willing to bridge the cultural gap halfway around the world (and everywhere in between), Sense8 is a great place to start.
While Netflix is only one small way to prepare for the amazing experiences you’ll have studying abroad, it’s a small piece of home that you can take with you anywhere! … That is as long as there’s wifi wherever your next adventure takes you.