Resources from across campus and other locations gathered in the Idaho Commons Wednesday to inspire students to study abroad.
Education and resource tables with information regarding different study abroad opportunities filled the Commons Clearwater-Whitewater Rooms.
“A couple reasons I urge students to study abroad are, one, there is no better way to increase your understanding of other cultures, and two, traveling abroad helps you push yourself out of your own comfort zone enabling you to grow as a person,” said Kate Wray Chettri, director of the Study Abroad and Exchange Programs. “Fifteen percent of all University of Idaho graduates study abroad. This year alone we have 368 students studying abroad in other countries.”
At the study abroad fair, campus resources passed out flyers and free gear to promote students to take advantage of their programs.
“We all want to help students become more cultured and experienced”, said Colleen Dodero, a representor for University Studies Abroad Consortium, a non-profit organization designed to help students achieve their study abroad goals.
Rachel Otto, career development liaison for UI Career Services said multi-cultural experiences are becoming an important asset for students pursuing jobs after college.
“Multi-cultural experiences are becoming a need-to-have skill that future employers look for on graduate resumes,” Otto said. “We want to encourage as many students as possible to take advantage of these programs.”
Other programs besides study abroad organizations presented themselves at the fair including the Center for Volunteerism and Social Action and the Peace Corps. These programs urged students to travel abroad and experience community service and volunteering in other countries.
“We introduce and engage our volunteers with different cultures,” said AnnaRose Qualls, Alternative Service Break Coordinator for the Volunteer Center. “They get to experience working alongside international people and preform meaningful services. We think of it as establishing an international connection between cultures we want to lend a hand.”
University of Idaho’s President Chuck Staben made an appearance at the fair to show his support for the study abroad programs.
“Studying abroad can be an incredibly important resource,” Staben said. “I didn’t take advantage of this program when I was young but I wish I had.”
The university holds the abroad fair each semester. Chretti said this is to ensure students are aware of the resources UI supplies to those studying abroad.
Students from all across campus flocked to the fair to check out the resources and opportunities.
“I studied abroad in my sophomore year,” said Alyssa Peterson, program advisor for the Martin Institute, Program in International Studies. “I came back with a broader understanding of other cultures. You stop thinking of different cultures as alienated communities and start thinking of them as people, and more importantly, equals who you can learn from.”
Dr. Lori Celaya, assistant professor of international language studies, said students who immerse themselves in the study abroad experience come in contact with other cultures and return a changed person.
“When you study abroad you are investing in a lifetime experience,” Celaya said.
Kilty Ellis can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Kilty_Ellis