On Wednesday, Sept. 13, West Chester University conducted its annual Study Abroad Fair in the Sykes Ballrooms from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Programs from all over the country came to encourage students to study abroad in their program.
West Chester University provides both faculty-led programs and exchange programs for studying abroad as well as affiliate programs that the university partners with. Non-affiliate programs are also available. WCU offers, in total, over 750 different experiences to its students.
The Center for International Studies, CIS, American Institute for Foreign Study, AIFS and Cultural Experiences Abroad, CEA, were among some of the affiliate programs that manned tables for the fair. Additionally, the Honors College, Career Development Center and the Student Exchange Program were on hand to guide students toward programs they might be interested in.
Students are given the opportunity to study, volunteer, intern and student teach abroad with various programs. For example, students can travel to South Africa and work on community projects or they can travel to London and intern with an England based company. The opportunities are varied and new programs are introduced yearly.
At the fair, the AIFS table garnered much attendance from students curious as to which trips would work with their major. Jessica Soler, Regional Director for AIFS, was answered student inquiry, handed out program guides and encouraged students to sign up for their mailing list. Soler said, “My job is to get more West Chester students to study abroad as well as promote our program.”
Senior Myranda Siegert visited the fair with a grasp on what the younger students would be experiencing if they chose to study abroad. She has studied abroad twice now; once for a semester and the second time for five weeks, both in Italy. “I just missed Italy, to be honest,” said Siegert. “I wanted to go back with a friend and experience everything all over again but with a new perspective.”
The Study Abroad Fair gave Siegert the opportunity to meet up with the group of students she traveled with while studying abroad, along with the professor who led the second program. “It was pretty emotional,” Siegert said. After her experiences abroad, she felt she had a different perspective on the fair. She said she wants to tell everyone that is thinking about studying abroad that they are “going to experience something that is going to completely change your life.”
To the students who are anxious about beginning the process of getting approved for studying abroad, Siegert said, “I thought the process was going to be way harder than it actually was.”
All of the tables at the fair relayed the same message: meet with your study abroad adviser to begin finding the program right for you. After students meet with their adviser, they will be able to move forward and start trying to receive credit for the classes they want to take while abroad. Once the student gets approved for all of the courses they need to take, they are eligible to apply for the program they wish to go through. Once accepted into that program, their next step is packing their bags and leaving the country!
For further information about studying abroad, contact email@example.com to schedule a meeting with an advisor.
Hannah Tollen is a fourth-year student majoring in English writings track with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at HT823371@wcupa.edu.