Study Abroad Fair aims to broaden horizons

The 2011 University Study Abroad Fair, conducted by the Office of International Affairs@@[email protected]@, showcased international opportunities available to students Wednesday afternoon in the EMU Concourse.

Display tables detailing information on the more than 165 study abroad programs currently offered by the University were sprawled across the first floor of the EMU, and former participants spoke to interested students about their experiences throughout the day.

“I had instructions from my supervisor not to accept anyone’s help when I got off the plane. I was so nervous, arriving in the dark at 6:00 a.m.,” international studies senior Michelle Hyde-Wright@@[email protected]@ said, recalling her recent internship in Africa. “Yet by the end of the trip, I became comfortable. I could haggle for a cab in Wolof (the native language of Senegal@@ and get the right price.”

Hyde-Wright spent nearly six months in Senegal working as a full-time coordinator on behalf of the Group for Population Studies and Education (GEEP)@@, a nongovernmental research organization. She learned about the opportunity through IE3 Global Internships@@, a service on campus that is part of the Oregon University System.

At the fair, the Mills International Center’s @@ featured a game of Jeopardy with each continent as categories and questions on geography or customs. It and others were issuing raffle tickets for correct answers to quiz games, with prizes redeemable from community partners like The Duck Store and Pegasus Pizza.@@checked [email protected]@

The “Funding Table” was also quite popular, with representatives there to provide information on getting financial aid and scholarship opportunities through the University’s departments, individual study abroad programs, the state department and other public and private initiatives.

Study Abroad Programs Director Cari Vanderkar Moore@@[email protected]@ asserted that study abroad is an experience with benefits that far outweigh the costs.

“We believe in the value of learning not only in a different country, but also about other cultures and other points of view,”@@[email protected]@ Vanderkar Moore said. “This enables us to engage in a richer dialogue with our colleagues from around the world.”

Thinking globally is not Vanderkar Moore’s only goal, though. The University’s five-year academic plan wants to raise the current percentage of undergraduates that study abroad, from 25 to 33@@[email protected]@

Helping them reach this goal is the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)@@[email protected]@, the most highly recommended program carrier by the school, which currently launches students into 122 of the approximately 165 programs available.

“It’s a large commitment and there is a lot of money involved. You want your time to count for something,” said Molly Leighton, CIEE Study Abroad’s adviser for Asia.@@[email protected]@“Our programs, that the U of O approves, are ones where the credits are guaranteed to transfer into proper equivalents.”

Still, Leighton says that if you do your research and speak with the Registrar, your department and the Office of International Affairs, your opportunities are not limited to one recommendation.

The Study Abroad Programs office is located in 333 Oregon Hall and accepts advising walk-ins weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.@@ and

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