Guide to Being a Virtual SYAer
Bridging Social Distance via Social Media
You’re an SYAer. By nature you are an out-of-the-box thinker and doer. We've put together a guide to help you bridge social distancing.
If you've got some ideas to add, or if you are using social media as a platform to share your area of expertise, let us know!
- Are you live streaming? Have any fun challenges or creative tips? Let us know.
- Are you interested in live streaming or haven't created content yet? Let us know.
Are you live streaming or sharing digital content? Have any fun challenges or creative tips? Let us know.
Use the hashtag #SYAcation so we can follow and share. Here are some great examples:
- Katherine Arden FR'05 will read a chapter a day from her middle grade book Small Spaces. On Wednesdays she'll host readings of a Russian fairy tale and an excerpted scene from one of her adult stories. Follow her on Instagram.
- Madeline Fuhrman FR'10 is live streaming Confinement Concerts on Instagram.
- Stefanie Nass FR'08 -- aka Chefanie -- has a #QuarantineCooking challenge on her Instagram. Send her pics of what you have on hand and she'll compose a meal based on that.
Let's find ways to partner to share what you're doing. Maybe you teach online yoga, best practices in working from home, French, or can help tutor your child. We have some ideas! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building community through connectivity.
We'll be adding virtual events to our calendars on our event web page, Facebook and the alumni community, ConnectSYA, which is a great resource for you. Here you can reconnect with classmates, "meet" fellow alums that may attend the same college or work for the same firm, host discussions on a variety of topics, offer your expertise to those in need of advice; etc. We’ve also added a “Support Your [fellow] Alumni” page where alumni can share their businesses, especially those small businesses that have been affected by the current crisis. Maybe someone teaches online yoga, or French, or can help tutor your child.
Activate your ConnectSYA profile and start connecting and building community.
- Language Learning
- Museums and Art Experiences
- Broadway Musicals
- Binge Watching or Watch Parties
- Cultural Sites
- Classical Performances, Operas and Ballets
- Aquariums, Zoos and Disney
- Channeling Your Inner Chef
- Mind, Body and Soul
- Virtual Happy Hours
- Livecams from Host Cities
- Refresh your French skills or learn a new language through bite-sized lessons on Duolingo.
- Use Skype or Google chat and invite your SYA friends to join you in a conversation using your SYA campus target language.
- Practice your writing skills by using the campus group space on ConnectSYA. There's a group space for each campus: China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain and Vietnam. You're automatically part of your campus group. Simply start a conversation. (If you haven't activated your profile yet, you'll be asked to do so when you click the link.)
- Try connecting by Direct Message on ConnectSYA with an alum from the same campus/different year. Did you study at SYA Spain but studied Italian in college? Try connecting with an SYA Italy alum to work on your language skills.
While in-person visits bring textbooks to life, virtual visits give you the opportunity to view from the comfort of your home at any time of the day. Can you find Monet's "Poppy Field" or van Gogh's "Bank of the Seine?"
African American History and Culture: Washington, D.C.
If you've ever wanted to visit an extremely popular museum but couldn't seem to nab tickets, a virtual tour is the next best thing! This one gives you just a taste of what the museum has to offer, and where in the museum each feature is located.
How many compelling museums do you know that are dedicated to a single item? The Ara Pacis is one of those in Rome. The fabulous modern building is home to a single ancient arch. Examine all the intricacies with the Roman museum’s virtual tour here.
British Museum, London
This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. You can also find hundreds of artifacts on the museum’s virtual tour.
As incredible as it is to step inside the Colosseum or walk through the Forum, many of the greatest Ancient Rome discoveries are actually tucked away inside the Capitoline Museums. You can follow the floorplans and take a fully virtual tour of the collections here until you are able to visit in person once more.
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Google’s Street View feature lets visitors tour the Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase without ever leaving home. From there, you can discover incredible works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras.
Johannesburg Art Gallery: Johannesburg
Browse more than 500 works from Africa's largest art gallery. Our suggestion: The museum houses plenty of works form Dutch and other European artists, but it also offers an array of works from South African artists. For a more historical angle, browse their online exhibit about the role of photography and resistance in the era of Apartheid.
MASP, São Paulo
The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a non-profit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear perspex frames make it seem like the artwork is hovering in midair. Take a virtual tour to experience the wondrous display for yourself.
The Vatican Museums have some of the most celebrated collections in the world, and it would be impossible to see all of the treasures with a single visit. Luckily, the Vatican has created an in-depth online guide to the collections which includes 360-degree tours and videos of many of the most famous rooms and various wings. You can access those here.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
This famous American art museum features two online exhibits through Google. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
Built in 1964, this museum is dedicated to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic heritage. There are 23 exhibit rooms filled with ancient artifacts, including some from the Mayan civilization.
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
One of Korea’s popular museums can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Google’s virtual tour takes you through six floors of Contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.
National Portrait Gallery: Washington, D.C.
The intimate nature of portraiture makes this museum a particularly great option for a home browse. Which is your favorite presidential portrait? Take a closer look at the Obama portraits everyone raves about.
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
You can virtually walk through this popular gallery that houses dozens of famous works from French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914. Get a peek at artworks from Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin, among others.
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
As one of Germany’s largest museums, Pergamon has a lot to offer – even if you can’t physically be there. This historical museum is home to plenty of ancient artifacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and, of course, the Pergamon Altar.
Pinacoteca di Brera
Housed inside Palazzo Brera in Milan, the Pinacoteca di Brera has an impressive collection of Italian artwork, including pieces by Raphael, Bellini, and Titian, among others. The gallery has created an online catalog of 669 pieces, allowing web-based visitors to examine the details of the art and read about the history behind it in Italian or English. The collection can be filtered by date, artist, material, and more. Visit it here.
Explore the masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt. Google offers a Street View tour of this iconic museum, so you can feel as if you’re actually wandering its halls.
Russia's State Hermitage Museum: St. Petersburg, Russia
Got five hours to kill? Enjoy this extensive video tour of the largest museum in Russia, complete with 45 galleries and 588 artistic masterpieces.
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History: Washington, D.C.
Dinosaurs! Snakes in jars! Giant diamonds! This is a good option for kids. Our suggestions: The Ocean Hall, The Hall of Mammals, and the Hall of Fossils. Or, mix it up with minerals.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
European artworks from as far back as the 8th Century can be found in this California art museum. Take a Street View tour to discover a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs.
Back in Rome, the museum at Trajan’s Market also offers a fully virtual experience to discover the artifacts that have been uncovered around the site.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
This less well-known gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence, Italy’s most famous families, the de'Medicis. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 specifically for Cosimo I de'Medici, but anyone can wander its halls from anywhere in the world.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Anyone who is a fan of this tragic, ingenious painter can see his works up close (or, almost up close) by virtually visiting this museum – the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.
Kusama's Infinity mirrors
If you missed one of the hottest traveling museum exhibits of the past few years, ooh and ahh at a brisk room-by-room rundown of the hypnotic, multi-faceted work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
Banksy Murals around the world
Go on an artistic treasure hunt -- without the hunt part. With something like street art, it's much more interesting to see the work it its full context, than just through a close-up.
Van Gogh's Starry Night at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City
These close-up looks at famous paintings are so intense, you may think a docent will start yelling at you. Few paintings are suited to such a treatment than the bold, textured lines of The Starry Night.
Broadway is shut down, but you can still enjoy the tremendous talents of its stars! Theater performers are the latest to turn to online streaming in these times of quarantine, bringing famous songs straight into your living room. Search BroadwayHD, Amazon Prime, etc to find an option for you.
Jonathan Larson’s Rent updates the story of Puccini’s La Boheme, setting it in New York City's East Village.
Once Broadway’s longest-running musical, everybody has an opinion on this Andrew Lloyd Webber show, but what can’t be denied is that Cats is like almost no other musical to ever play the Main Stem.
Sondheim and Furth's Company broke all the rules when it opened on Broadway in 1970. Instead of offering a linear plot, Company explored the concept of marriage through a series of scenes between Bobby, a 35-year-old bachelor, and a variety of his married friends.
This 1992 musical Falsettos is actually a combination of two earlier one-act musicals, March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland.
Sunday in the Park with George
The original production of Sunday in the Park with George remains a particular favorite among theatre fans.
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby brought Charles Dickens’ novel—about a young man who has to support his mother and sister following the death of his father.
Elaine Stritch At Liberty
Elaine Stritch was nearly as famous for her onstage performances as she was for her offstage persona—and her storytelling.
Into the Woods
This mash-up of fairytales that dares to go beyond “happily ever after” is one of Sondheim’s most accessible and successful works.
Kiss Me, Kate
With a classic Cole Porter score that includes such tunes as “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” “So in Love,” “Too Darn Hot,” “Always True to You in My Fashion,” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” Kiss Me, Kate became an almost-instant classic when it debuted on Broadway in 1948.
J.M. Barrie’s classic story of the flying boy who never grows up has been one of the most frequently adapted stories out there since it premiered in 1904.
Kevin Kline earned his third Tony Award playing Garry Essendine in a revival of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, which follows a few days in the life of a highly successful and egotistical actor.
Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sondheim and Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd is regarded by many as a masterpiece, and with good reason; the original Broadway production won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Score.
She Loves Me
The 1963 musical about two co-workers who hate each other while unknowingly being romantic pen pal partners. The score contains such favorites as “Tonight at Eight,” “Will He Like Me?,” “Dear Friend,” “Vanilla Ice Cream,” and “She Loves Me.”
Based on the 1992 film of the same name, Disney’s Newsies tells the story of the real-life New York City newsboys strike of 1899. The Broadway production was filmed on stage during a Los Angeles stop on the national tour, and much of the original cast returned to their roles for the filming.
OK, so TV watching may not have been the norm during your SYA days. But watching TV and movies with an SYA connection is cool. The following is just a sampling of alumni (and parent) work. (If we missed your work, let us know.) Many shows are available on several platforms. (Look in the Technical Toolbox to check out Netflix Party.)
LAKE BELL FR’96, actor, writer, director, producer
In a World … (R)
An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father.
It's Complicated (R)
Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin and Bell star in this hilarious look at marriage, divorce and everything in between.
Million Dollar Arm (PG)
A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Indian players to play Major League Baseball. Starring Bell.
No Escape (R)
In their new overseas home, an American couple, starring Bell and Owen Wilson, and their two young daughters soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup as they frantically look for safe escape.
Secret Life of Pets (1 and 2) (PG)
Bell plays Chloe, in this animated movie about the quiet life of a terrior named Max.
What Happens in Vegas (PG-13)
Bell costars as Cameron Diaz's best friend in this Sin City vacation turned impromptu wedding and jackpot win.
From Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an African American detective who takes on the dangerous mission of infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan.
Get Out (R)
A young African American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s cursed family estate.
The Boy Next Door (R)
Jennifer Lopez stars in this psychological thriller that explores a forbidden attraction that goes much too far.
The Reader (R)
Academy-award winning tale of secrecy and guilt in post-Nazi Germany starring Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes.
The Tooth Fairy (PG)
A bad deed on the part of a tough minor league hockey player results in an unusual sentence: he must serve one week as a real-life tooth fairy.
Triple Oscar winning film about a skilled young drummer who classes with an obsessive music teacher.
JOHN LESHER ES’84, producer
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (R)
A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing directing and starring in a Broadway production.
Black Mass (R)
The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
End of Watch (R)
Shot documentary style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves.
A grizzled tank commander makes tough decisions as he and his crew fight their way across Germany in April 1945.
In 1892, a legendary Army Captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and family through dangerous territory.
CHEO HODARI COKER ES'89, showrunner, writer
Creed II (R)
Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, newly crowned heavyweight champion Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago.
Notorious B.I.G. (R)
The life and death story of The Notorious B.I.G. (a.k.a. Christopher Wallace), who came straight out of Brooklyn to take the world of rap music by storm.
TOM DEY ES’83, director
Failure to Launch(PG-13)
A thirty-something is still living with his parents until the hire an interventionist to help him graduate out of the house.
A suburban family moves to a new neighborhood with their large, yet lovable, Great Dane, who has a tendency to wreak havoc in his own oblivious way.
Shanghai Noon (PG-13)
A martial arts western comedy film starring Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson and Lucy Liu.
A spoof of buddy cop mivies where two very different cops, played by Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro, are forced to team up on a new reality based TV show.
Audrey Lederer Wells FR'77, screenwriter and director
The Hate U Give (PG-13)
Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.
The Truth About Cats and Dogs (PG-13)
A successful veterinarian & radio show host with low self-esteem asks her model friend to impersonate her when a handsome man wants to see her.
Under the Tuscan Sun (PG-13)
While on vacation in Italy, a woman decides to stay and buy a villa. (You may catch a glimpse of fellow classmate Matt Salinger during the opening scenes.)
LAKE BELL FR'96, actor
Bless this Mess
Bell and Dax Shepard star in this comedy about a couple who relocates from NYC to Nebraska to live a simpler life.
Boston Legal is a spin-off of the long-running series The Practice, following the exploits of former Practice character Alan Shore at the legal firm of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt.
The animated series focuses on a single Harley Quinn, who sets off to make it on her own in Gotham City. Bell plays Poison Ivy
CHEO HODARI COKER ES'89, producer, writer, showrunner
In a not-so-distant future, a human cop and an android partner up to protect and serve.
Marvel's Luke Cage
A hoodie-wearing, unbreakable ex-con fights to clear his name and save his neighborhood.
NCIS: Los Angeles
The Naval Criminal Investigation Service's Office of Special Projects takes on the undercover work and the hard to crack cases in LA. Key agents are G. Callen and Sam Hanna, streets kids risen through the ranks.
Ray Donovan, a professional "fixer" for the rich and famous in Los Angeles, can make anyone's problems disappear except those created by his own family.
The lives of police 0fficers working for the Los Angeles Police Department.
MELORA HARDIN CN'19P, actor
The Bold Type
Inspired by the life and career of former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine Joanna Coles CN'16P played by Hardin, staffers responsible for producing global women's magazine Scarlet lean on one another as they try to find their own voices.
Hardin stars as Jan in the mockumentary about a group of typical office workers where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior and tedium.
HEIDI COLE MCADAMS FR'01, writer, producer
Set ninety-seven years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity's lone survivors sends one hundred juvenile delinquents back to Earth, in hopes of possibly re-populating the planet.
A sharp-witted Marine veteran becomes a private investigator in Portland, Oregon, where she takes care of her brother who has down syndrome.
State of Affairs
A CIA officer plucked from the field to become the president's daily briefer, assuming responsibility for targeting America's most critical threats while navigating the unique lifestyle that comes with such a high-powered job.
TIA NAPOLITANO FR’01, producer, writer
Council of Dads (coming soon!)
A man comes to terms with a potentially terminal diagnosis.
The medical drama series focuses on a group of young doctors at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital, who began their careers at the facility as interns.
A former White House Communications Director starts her own crisis management firm only to realize her clients are not the only ones with secrets.
This spinoff of the critically acclaimed show Grey's Anatomy follows the lives of the men and women of firehouse station 19 in Seattle.
MOZHAN MARNO FR’97, actress
House of Cards
A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.
A new FBI profiler has her entire life uprooted when a mysterious criminal, who has eluded capture for decades, turns himself in and insists on speaking only to her.
The White House: Washington, D.C.
Hang out in the Oval Office? Don't mind if we do! By the way, the online exhibit sections of Google Arts & Culture's offerings are like having your own personal tour guide. Our suggestion: The Virtual Tour of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building will get you acquainted with stunning spaces you've only ever seen on TV.
Palace of Versailles: Versailles, France
Explore one of France's national treasures and all of the Baroque art, architecture and finery within. Our suggestion: Go outside of the palace interior for an early birds-eye-view of the grounds, to get your bearings.
Prambanan Temple: Yogyakarta, Indonesia
There's so much to behold in this iconic, intricate Hindu temple complex. Good thing you're in no rush! Step up to the spires with the arrow marks, and drag your cursor to get a good look at the carvings.
The Sistine Chapel: Vatican City
There are a lot of museum collections to explore on the Vatican's virtual site. But first, go straight to zooming in on all of the detail on the Sistine Chapel.
With a special limited-time code, you can enjoy a treasury of online performances from one of the best orchestras in the world. Our suggestion: You can't go wrong with anything from the trifecta of national B's: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. But Gustav Mahler's second symphony, The Resurrection Symphony, seems apt in these trying time.
Metropolitan Opera: New York City
Arts lovers, if appointment viewing is more your thing, the Met is putting on nightly opera streams. But you better not be late! They're only available until 3:30 p.m. ET the next day. And there's something to be said for such ephemerality.
Royal Opera House: London
When it comes to high culture, don't underestimate YouTube! The Royal Opera House's channel has a selection of some of the top performances from famous operas and ballets, just a click away. Our suggestions: The Caterpillar from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and The Dance of the Knights from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, if just for the incredible costumes.
The Vancouver Symphony live streamed its final performance from their BeethovenFest, and it's available for your viewing -- and listening -- pleasure any time.
Vienna State Opera
If you can't be in Vienna, you can at least treat yourself to full streams of some of the Vienna State Opera's latest performances. A reminder, for people who don't like opera: These works are almost always as much a treat for the eyes as much as the ears.
Every day while school is out, the Cincinnati Zoo (home of the famous Fiona the hippo), will be hosting a Home Safari on their Facebook Live Feed at 3 p.m. ET. They'll have up-close animal experiences, plus activities to do at home.
Georgia Aquarium: Atlanta
The Georgia Aquarium has live streams, too! And you can pick what animal you want to watch. We're partial to the African Penguins.
Kansas City Zoo
Penguins and webcam = fun! Watch the webcam to see 68 penguins splish splashing in their 100,000 gallon watery home.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Are you obsessed with sea otters? Check out the live webcam.
Museum of Science: Boston
The Museum of Science has long been a leader in producing digital exhibits, videos, and audio presentations that align with its mission: to help transform the nation's relationship with science and technology. With this national reach in mind, it's easy for you to engage with the Museum wherever you are.
New England Aquarium: Boston
Visit daily for live presentations, new videos, and activities to try from home.
San Diego Zoo
Want to have something fun going on in the background while you're working? Your favorite zoo probably has live cams so you can check in on all the animals. The San Diego Zoo is a great start.
The Shedd Aquarium: Chicago
The Shedd Aquarium has already captured hearts with the antics of its resident penguins, which have been filmed roaming the now-empty halls of the aquarium, looking at all of the other exhibits. But animal lovers will want to follow their Facebook page, too: They're sharing all kinds of behind-the-scenes videos and fun virtual experiences.
Was your vacation canceled? Need other non-educational activities to keep kids busy? Visit Mickey and friends!
- Ride through Space Mountain located in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom.
- Experience Slinky Dog Dash at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Take a fun boat ride on It's A Small World in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.
- Stop at Epcot and say "Hi" to Elsa, Olaf, and more on Frozen Ever After.
- Take a quick jaunt under the sea on The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure.
- Make a trip to Neverland and ride on Peter Pan's Flight.
- Travel through "a cartoon universe" on Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- While at Magic Kingdom, "Yo Ho, Yo Ho" your way through the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
- Go on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at Tomorrowland
- And, duuudeee, you totally have to experience The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
Or, learn how to draw your favorite Disney character through this YouTube series.
Bring out your inner chef. Find chefs who are offering lessons on Google. Share your favorite host family recipe. (Consider creating a video!)
If you're in LA and haven’t gotten the chance to try Gucci’s new Italian restaurant by now, given the coronavirus pandemic it might be a bit before you can head to Rodeo Drive and dig into some tortellini at the osteria. Massimo Bottura is offering lessons on his Insta.
We'll share alumni-inspired/created recipes for you to make at home. We'll add them to ConnectSYA and Facebook.
Stories come to life in audible books. Find a list of books for the youngest listeners to literary classics on Audible by Amazon.
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more.
Netflix Party is a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows. Make sure your watch party friends have the app downloaded. Please note that it's only available for Chrome browsers. See the list of SYA-connected movies/shows in the #SYAcation list above.