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Study Abroad Fair to present all options

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Nicole Thill

Jade Nunes, a journalism senior, hikes through a jungle rainforest with the School of Journalism’s study abroad program in Costa Rica last summer. The group of journalism students were able to see a cacao farm on their trip and taste fresh fruits and chocolates along the Caribbean coast of the country.

The annual Study Abroad Fair held on Wednesday will have changes this year to present all of the study abroad options.

The fair, hosted by Global Initiatives’ Study Abroad and Student Exchange in the Student Union Memorial Center North Ballroom from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., will be different this year in comparison to previous years.

According to Rudo Sandy, a study abroad coordinator, the fair will be one big fair displaying all of the study abroad options for students. These opportunities include faculty-led study abroad trips, student exchange programs and third-party study abroad trips.

“This is the biggest event we put on where we get to promote the different study abroad programs that we have to offer to students,” Sandy said.

Last year, the first Study Abroad Fair held in the fall displayed only faculty-led study abroad trips, while a second Study Abroad Fair hosted later in the year provided information to students about the student exchange and third-party programs, according to Sandy.

Sandy said she is expecting about 500 students to attend. The first 300-350 students who arrive at the fair will receive free branded Study Abroad bags, and everyone who attends and fills out a study abroad application will receive a 50 percent discount on their application fee, making it $40 instead of $80, according to Sandy.

Robert Nelson, a marketing junior, has been on four study abroad programs through the UA. His first study abroad was in Costa Rica in the summer of 2013 with the department of Spanish and Portuguese. Later, he jetted straight from Heredia, Costa Rica, to Viña del Mar, Chile, for a semester-long program also with the same department. This past summer, Nelson participated in two programs. He first went to Havana, Cuba, for a five-week program with the School of Geography and Development, and then went to Alcalá de Henares, Spain, for a five-week program through the department of Spanish and Portuguese.

“When I first started, I didn’t know a word of Spanish, so it was nerve-racking, but it was invigorating to be in a new environment,” Nelson said. “Then, as you started to learn the language, you get more excited to speak it to see if you can get through a conversation without a mistake. However, culturewise, all of the countries I visited were very open and willing to share their culture.”

Nelson said that the only hard thing was finding his favorite U.S. products within the countries he visited.

“For me, it was life-changing,” Nelson said. “After studying abroad and living outside the U.S., you realize that you are not the only person on earth. Studying abroad inspired me and gave me the desire to add an additional degree of global studies to my academic career just so I could learn more about the world around me.”

Lisa Button, an instructor at the School of Journalism and the faculty lead for international journalism in Costa Rica, takes students to Costa Rica every summer for a five-week program.

Button said that the program is based on the environment and ecology of the land of Costa Rica and reporting on the environment there. Not only can journalism majors and minors participate in this program, but any student from any major is welcome to go with the School of Journalism.

“I think it is important for all students to study abroad so that they can find out what the meaning of life is to them,” Nelson said. “There are so many opportunities abroad that people don’t know about. Whether you like to volunteer, travel, be outdoors, or simply just want to get out of your comfort zone, study abroad has something for you.”
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Follow Adriana Espinosa on Twitter @adrianaespi7

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