For many students, college marks a time of discovery and growth through new experiences. This time is often when many students leave the country for the first time and take advantage of their school’s resources to travel the world. Studying abroad can bring new friends and even a new perspective on culture and community. At the University of Maine, the opportunity to grow from an experience abroad is encouraged for students and faculty alike.
Last week, UMaine held two study abroad related events on campus. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 3 p.m. in the FFA Room of the Memorial Union, Rochelle Seymour, a visiting professor program coordinator from University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) spoke to faculty and students about teaching abroad opportunities. Teachers from the departments of both biology and anthropology were in attendance, as well as the Office of International Programs director, Orlina Boteva.
“This opportunity brings with it a chance to not only teach in another country, but also to travel on weekends, go on field trips with students, stay with a host family or in a dorm, and experience many things you otherwise would not have the chance to,” Seymour said. “We try to send all of our professors to non-traditional locations in order to give everyone studying abroad the authentic experience. Professors and students can stay with host families, take other classes in the area, and learn things to assimilate themselves into the culture of the area.”
USAC is a study abroad non-profit organization that helps students and professors attend classes all over the world. Founded in Spain in 1982, the program has spread all over the world to 33 universities. There are many types of programs that visiting professors can apply for, each one relating to a different course of study, time of the year and location.
“You have a lot of flexibility with these classes that you can teach abroad. You can offer a course a lot of students need, or offer a new course that you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to teach, get out of your comfort zone,” Seymour said.
After the Teaching Abroad Workshop, the UMaine Office of International Programming also held the Study Abroad Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the ballroom of Estabrooke Hall on Thursday, Jan. 31. Students were able to talk to representatives from multiple study abroad programs and on-campus resources, while learning more about traveling from a variety of UMaine staff.
“Studying abroad is really important because it’s a way to see how different people think and to open your own mind. University wise, it’s a great way to see how other countries handle your specific major, there is always more to learn,” Devon Garufi, a representative of Academic Programs International, said. “It is just a really fun experience, and it was the best part of my college experience, so I would recommend it to anyone.”
Representatives and faculty in attendance stressed the importance of experiencing as many opportunities as possible while in college. Many staff members from each organization were there to assist students in making decisions, answer questions and provide interested students with reflections on their personal experiences while studying abroad.
“Studying abroad can change you in many ways,” Mia Kazarski, IES Abroad staff member said. “Not only do you get to experience other cultures, examine your own biases, and expand your horizons while traveling, which is all really important, It can affect you in other ways as well. A lot of study abroad providers, IES included, have internship opportunities while abroad, so it looks quite impressive on a resume or application.”
To find out more information about how to study abroad or attend one of these events, please visit firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Office of International Programs in 240 Estabrooke Hall.