Gozik Takes Over OIP With A Wealth Of World Experience
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
As a young undergraduate, Nick Gozik had reservations about studying abroad.
Like many students, he was afraid of missing out on things at school, concerned about financing his international experience, and at the time, there were not as many opportunities to study abroad as there are today. Ultimately, he chose not to go abroad, instead focusing on his studies at home, tutoring, and being a resident assistant.
In hindsight, Gozik, the new director of the Boston College Office of International Programs (OIP) and the McGillycuddy-Logue Center for Undergraduate Global Studies, regrets not going abroad as an undergraduate, but certainly made up for the missed experience in both his post-graduate education and subsequent career choice.
Born in Australia to Americans teaching abroad, Gozik had a taste of international living from a young age. Growing up in Rochester, N.Y., many of his friends were of Indian and Chinese descent, and Gozik found himself constantly reading about other countries, trying to fulfill an “intellectual curiosity” about the world.
Although he did not initially know what he wanted to do for a career, he jumped at the chance to travel and study abroad after college, getting his master’s degree in French and a Ph.D. in international education at New York University.
While living in Paris as he was earning his master’s degree, Gozik had what he said to be his most influential international experience.
“It’s easy to stay with a lot of other U.S. students, and I saw some of my fellow students doing that, but I intentionally moved out of my comfort zone and I became friends with French people, and with Germans, and with Vietnamese students … and in that process I was able to really learn so much about myself and about these other cultures,” Gozik said.
“I think that’s ultimately what has stayed with me: that ability to explore and not just see a bunch of different locations but to be more reflective and to consider what I’m learning and then how I’m developing as a result.”
Learning to be adaptable to new surroundings, getting better at negotiating all types of foreign systems, and being able to speak other languages are all benefits Gozik reaped from studying abroad, and he believes that all students can gain these skills if they go about their international experience with an open mind and a willingness to adapt.
“We have a natural tendency to be drawn to other people who are similar to ourselves,” he said. “So I think it’s really easy to go to a city and want to stay with your friends and not have any other type of interactions. I think what happens [when you do this] is you lose all of that richness. The whole reason you’re going abroad is for something different, and to expose yourself to a different culture and so I think it is a risk. You have to take the initiative.”
When students find a balance between focusing on their international immersion and staying connected with friends and family at home, Gozik thinks their study abroad experience becomes even more influential, and their fears about the daunting prospect of traveling out of their comfort zone slowly fade away.
After years of traveling throughout the world, teaching, working, and researching in places such as South Korea, Brazil, England, and the French Caribbean, Gozik returned to the U.S. and held positions in education abroad at the University of Richmond and Duke University. A former research assistant and later visiting professor at New York University, he was also a consultant for the Social Science Research Council, according to a recent feature by the BC Chronicle and his profile on the Office of International Programs website.
He most recently served as assistant director of the Global Education Office for Undergraduates at Duke before succeeding Bernd Widdig as the director of the OIP in July.
Coming to BC, Gozik said he is still working to settle in and understand the complex nature of the school, but was pleasantly surprised by the sense of community and the small-school feel of the outwardly large university.
“I’ve been really impressed with the welcoming aspect of the University,” he said. “I came from Duke, and it was an excellent place. Before that I was at NYU, and I enjoyed both places. There’s something special about BC. I don’t know if it’s the Jesuit aspect, [but] there’s a community and a sense of caring. I find that with administrators, faculty, and students, I really feel welcomed.”
As he joins the OIP, Gozik has several goals to expand the reach of BC’s programs and get even more students involved with study abroad, though he emphasizes that the office is looking to improve the quality, and not necessarily the quantity, of students’ international experiences.