On Thursday, Jan. 26, the Office of International Programs hosted their spring semester Study Abroad Fair. At the event, students had the opportunity to learn about different study abroad programs, speak with study abroad advisors and hear first hand accounts from students who have studied internationally. Students were also given information about programs in popular study abroad destinations, like Spain, England, Australia, Venezuela, Jamaica and New Zealand.
The University of Maine has provided students with over 700 travel options across 78 different countries. Students work with advisors in order to help narrow down a student’s preferences to two or three specific areas, in order to better explore the myriad of available programs in depth. The majority of students that travel from UMaine to these countries (between 60 and 70 percent) are actually women.
“I really love working with students that look at the less popular options,” Orlina Boteva, the director of the Office of International Programs, said. “Those are really fun conversations to have, because my advice to students is always to pick a location that you would never ever in your life go there so you can take advantage of learning the culture.”
At the same time, students who have never left the country can face unique challenges abroad. These challenges, however, can be accounted for. “At the same time, we have a lot of students who have never traveled before, their parents have traveled, so even going to Canada or the U.K. is a very big step, so for those students we really try to help them within the parameters that have been set.”
“Going for tapas were the best part,” mentor for the study abroad program, Kylie Paradis, said. Paradis represented Academic Programs International, a company that works to provide customers with options to study, work, intern or even teach in various parts of the world. She worked with the company to travel to Granada, Spain.
“Basically Granada is known for their tapas,” Paradis said, “and how it works is you buy a drink for about two euros and 50 cents and then you get a free tapa which is like a sandwich. And in Granada they are famous for being massive so you would get like a massive sandwich and drink for a total of three dollars.”
During this event, about eight different booths were set up for people to visit. For those considering their study abroad options, there is also a step-by-step outline provided on the International Programs page that can guide you through your planning process. Peer advisors are also available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Estabrooke Hall if students have questions. Students were highly encouraged by representatives to start the process of studying abroad early on, so they have more time to look at your options and prepare.
“I think everyone should study abroad,” Paradis said. “That would be my absolute biggest advice, because this is a nice school but it is very isolated, and you don’t know what the rest of the world looks like or is going to be like until you step out of it.”