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Study abroad fair clears up student misconceptions

Students explore their study abroad options at the fair held on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Vanguard Photo | Brandon Hull

SVSU’s Feb. 4 Study Abroad Fair attracted students from all majors and backgrounds.

Aileen Ash, the study abroad coordinator, helped put on the event to let students explore the studying abroad options.

“Studying abroad enables students to explore a new part of the world, learn about other cultures, master a foreign language and create life-long friendships across the globe,” she said. “(It) allows students to gain confidence and grow both personally and professionally, all while stretching their boundaries and increasing their personal comfort zones.”

Ash said experiences abroad help students learn not only about other countries and cultures, but also about themselves.

“Spending time outside of their normal routine forces students to learn about themselves and what they are capable of,” she said. “With only 10 percent of the entire U.S. student population going abroad, this type of experience on a resume helps students gain a significant competitive edge in the job market that awaits after graduation.”

One reason students do not consider studying abroad is cost, but there are many scholarships available, as well as other options, Ash said.

“We have really affordable programs with our partners in Asia,” she said. “Students can study at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan for a semester for just $500, which includes airfare, tuition, housing and their student visa.”

General safety is another concern for people considering studying abroad, Ash said. The Study Abroad Office and affiliate programs take safety very seriously, and students are not sent anywhere that is considered dangerous.

“The health and safety of SVSU students is our priority, so we do not send students to countries that are unsafe or under a travel warning,” she said. “All of the study abroad programs we work with have been thoroughly checked to ensure student safety.”

Ash also said that students are educated on safety before exploring foreign countries.

“Students go through a pre-departure orientation before they leave to provide guidance on staying safe while abroad, and then they do an additional on-site orientation to cover the specifics of their host city,” she said.

Sarah Brege, an early childhood education freshman, attended the fair to explore her options for studying abroad. Brege said she believes studying abroad will go hand-in-hand with her major.

“Education is different everywhere in the world,” Brege said. “If I were to go to Italy, I could see how things are done there, and then I could bring that into my classroom in the future.”

Mary Rembisz, a pre-nursing freshman, said she wants to travel to a country in Asia.

“Asian countries are more focused on herbal remedies,” she said. “They have very different approaches that are not always focused on how we use western medicine, as they would call it.”

She added that having a well-rounded perspective of the nursing profession would help her become a better nurse.

“I feel like it would give me a different view on how there are different ways to approach different situations in the medical field,” she said.

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