By Paige Wearmouth
The Office of Education Abroad delivered a lively cultural atmosphere to the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center Great Room on Thursday September 10, 2015 with their Study Abroad Fair.
The scene and experience were brought together by dozens of international flags hung above rows of information tables. The sound of Latin inspired music mixed with the smell of Asian and European foods brought students in.
The fair offered an extensive amount of options for students to consider, and many ways for them to learn about these opportunities. Fliers regarding the best study abroad plans for many specific majors, students who participated in study abroad programs in past semesters, academic advisors, representatives from many abroad programs, and the Director and Advisor of the Office of Education Abroad were all made available to guide potential applicants.
Programs are offered by semester, over the summer, and even during Spring Break in order to make studying abroad or an international internship a possibility to most students. Many students find these options flexible and easy to incorporate into their college educational experience.
Junior Politics major Adrienne Thompson found that the information fair made studying abroad accessible and approachable to all students.
“This is a good way for everyone to see their options all out front, and for them to talk to the specific people from the specific program they are interested in,” said Thompson.
The Office of Education Abroad emphasized the important role of academic advisors in the process of choosing an international study program and location.
“We’re really pleased to have so many faculty advisors here,” said Grace Schneider, Director of Education Abroad. “I think it’s very valuable to students because they can take a look at programs they’re interested in and then immediately sit down with a faculty member, bring up their tracking sheet, see how these courses fit into their program, and get immediate feedback on what would be best for them.”
The exhibition also provided prospective applicants with the opportunity to receive advice and encouragement from students who have already participated in an international study program.
Senior Psychology major and Spanish minor, Mike Thorsen, hosted an information table for Sol Education Abroad, a new program which helps students go to Spanish speaking countries. He was available to tell students about his experience from a first-hand perspective.
Thorsen also noted that the Office of Education Abroad was very important in facilitating experiences like the one he had.
The goal of the Study Abroad fair was to provide students with many sources of information and give them access to resources that can help them form their international experience. Once they have these things, they must plan strategically in order to accommodate their academic needs.
Robert Dowden, Education Abroad Advisor, noted that planning was one of the most important steps in this process.
“It’s important to plan. I think that applies no matter what your major is,” said Dowden. “We can inform students about different programs, we can help them select programs, we can help students find the courses.”
Students interested in learning about their study abroad options can attend information sessions in the Office of Education abroad in McMahon 111, or visit cuabroad.cua.edu.