Students flocked to Fairfield Way last Friday for the Education Abroad Fair, where representatives from different programs talked to students about exciting options being offered overseas. Each booth had flyers and a person who either helped run the program or who had once gone through it themselves. There was representation for a number of internships, exchange programs, semester and full-year abroad programs.
The students at each booth could answer almost any question, either about the program or its location. Many programs allowed for plenty of exploration time and weren’t too difficult. Those tabling could also tell you what type of food was offered around the school in question and what places you should check out nearby. They brought up many things about studying abroad that students don’t typically think of when trying to pick their programs.
Depending on where you go, the length of the semester or how the school is run may be very different from UConn. Many schools in Australia start their first semester in February and their second semester in July, which could disrupt any chance for you to get a summer internship in the U.S. Many schools in the U.K. have a month of finals instead of a week. Some programs have year-long classes where you have to get permission if you want to attend only for the semester.
The living situation can also be incredibly different from America depending on where you end up. Some schools may have you in a traditional dorm or apartment, but others may have you stay with a host family.
Each program can either be very specific or open to a broad range of majors and interests.
“There’s one [where you go to Spain], and I heard them talking about neonatal care, and then I also found one about African field ecology where I would get to see all the animals in Africa,” Uma Aikat, a first-semester biology major, said.
There are also some incredibly specific program titles, such as “Mediterranean Diet and Tuscan Cuisine in Florence, Italy” or “UConn Water Systems of Rome: Ancient to Modern.” Others were just universities.
Programs are offered in a vast array of places around the globe like Canada, Italy, Israel, Africa, Ireland, England, Scotland, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and China.
“I didn’t expect there to be so many places, so I’m really happy that there’s all of these opportunities,” Aikat said.
Studying abroad offers more than just a chance to leave Connecticut, it offers the chance to find new experiences and learn with people from different backgrounds.
“It’s important to gain a world perspective and it’s important to go to places other than America, so you don’t stay stuck in America your whole entire life,” Samantha Grubb, a third-semester speech, language and hearing sciences major, said. “Other countries do things differently and there’s different people and I think it’s important to be open to all kinds of people.”
Many abroad programs are surprisingly affordable, and will give you an experience like nothing you will ever encounter again. Even if you missed this year’s fair, you can still get in contact with an education abroad advisor and find a program that’s perfect for you.
Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.