On Sept. 20, dozens of students stood in line eagerly waiting to check in to the Study Abroad Fair. The event was located in the ballroom of Estabrooke Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the first floor of the New Balance Student Recreation Center from 4-6 p.m.
Tables were set up in both locations for each study abroad organization to display their information and hang up colorful tablecloths and banners. Representatives from programs that place students across the globe were there to answer questions and provide information about studying abroad. Students could walk around and listen to facts, talk with other students and staff, pick up pens and other goodies or participate in a photo contest.
“I am planning on studying abroad in Europe sometime in the next few years. I think it’s so great that our school provides these opportunities for us and chances to get out and see the world before we graduate. This fair also made me excited for the future and looking forward to starting the process of applying to programs and scholarships,” Katherine Reardon, a second-year political science student, said.
International Studies Abroad (ISA), Semester by the Sea, University of Maine International Programs, CIS Abroad, IES Abroad, Environmental Studies Abroad (ESA) and Academic Programs International (API) were among the programs there to introduce themselves and talk to students about the many study abroad opportunities they had to offer and how to apply. They also gave students information about scholarships and provided resources to help pick the right program.
“Studying abroad really widens your perspective on the world and within yourself,” Devon Garufi, a representative of API, said. “When you study abroad, you get to see more of how other cultures work. When you return from the trip, you can apply these things you learned to how you live in the US and it changes a lot about who you are and the ways you experience things. We want to give as many students as possible this chance to learn and grow.”
Maine offers hundreds of different programs and scholarship opportunities, all of which encourage students to apply and go to school in other parts of the world. Many students study abroad in order to learn and experience new cultures and traditions, while also focusing academically on classes within their major that they can take abroad.
“I think it’s great to have the opportunity to study abroad and have these resources available for students to learn more about it,” CIS University Relations Manager Adren Kazan said. “Studying abroad, for me, was the most transformational experience of my life, and I could never have grown or learned as much as I did in Barcelona while I was studying abroad. I want everyone to have that feeling.”
The Study Abroad Fair is held every semester to provide students with more information and chances to ask questions of people who work for each program, many of whom have studied abroad themselves. The fair is just one of the many events that the UMaine Office of International Programs hosts every year. The Office of International Programs also has peer advisors available during weekdays for students to ask more questions and learn about how to apply to study abroad.
“I went to Spain for a year and also spent some time in Prague. If I hadn’t studied abroad I would not have had so many experiences open up to me after graduation,” Garufi said. “I got this job right after I got my degree because of the fact that I did study abroad, and my eyes opened a bit more because of my time there.”
To find out more information on how to apply to study abroad or get connected with advisors and staff, please visit umaine.edu/international/outgoing-students/.