Study Abroad Fair teaches students about possible opportunities, share personal experience
The Bovee University Center Rotunda was filled with eager students passionate about studying abroad on Wednesday.
Central Michigan University, like many other universities across the country, are part of the fast growing trend of offering and pushing study abroad. The benefits of these programs are becoming more obvious to students, teachers and possible employers.
Students returning from their country of choice set up table booths displaying photos, brochures, maps and even trinkets from their beloved countries in the UC Rotunda, and talked with students about study abroad in the room filled with other eager voices.
According to the university’s Study Abroad website, CMU has many countries to choose from.
“CMU offers a choice of more than 150 programs in over 40 countries that provide students with firsthand cultural learning experiences they can’t receive in a classroom back home,” the site said.
Students interested visited booths, grabbing free pens and information sheets, and perhaps something more.
The Director of Study Abroad at CMU, Dianne DeSalvo, said the experiences gained during an abroad time are eye opening and change their perceptions about themselves and the world. She also said employers really like students with these types of experiences and will often focus on questions revolving around the time spent abroad during the interview process.
“The world is a very interconnected place. Our country is (as well), even if you stay within our borders is (very diverse),” DeSalvo said.
Many of the pamphlets and information sheets provided talked about the benefits of study abroad both in gaining an edge in employment opportunities and in personal growth.
Some of the volunteers said the only way to really get the benefits of studying abroad is for the students to go outside of their comfort zones, and not treat it like a vacation.
Senior Marcela Micheloni was one of the volunteers talking to students at the Korea booth. Micheloni advised study abroad potentials to get out of their comfort zones and embrace another culture.
“Just dive in, no matter where you go. People do things differently than Americans. (Ask yourself) Why do they do things this way, why are we this way and they are that way,” Micheloni said.
She also said that after returning to America she not only asked why Korea did things a certain way, but why American’s do things their specific way, and the whole process helps students to see the world differently. She added that students should be a ‘Yes! Man’ and not say no to positive experiences.
Midland junior Zane Isenhart was also volunteering at the Korea table, and advises students to do a study abroad session, and get out of their comfort zones.
“When you go to a country for any reason, (you’re exploring) another culture. Don’t shy away from things,” Isenhart said. “You need to get out of your comfort zone.”
Students visiting the Study Abroad Fair were advised to know where they stand with their credits, whether they like to explore, and how comfortable they are with being in areas that speak languages other than English, since these help to determine where they should study.
Some students said they learned more about themselves, and that their personality even changed a little.
Steve Cronknite, a Howell junior who studied in Germany, talked about the changes he saw in himself from the experience.
“I think I’m a bit more (of an) extrovert,” the Howell native said, “I’m more likely to converse with people that I really wouldn’t (have gotten) to know. Now I’m really interested in international people, people who don’t really speak English”.
Volunteers from the fair, like Isenhart and Micheloni, strongly encouraged students to try and do a study abroad session, regardless of financial need since there are many scholarships promoting the experience.
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