Study abroad: Why not?

The Study Abroad Fair, held annually at Tech, reveals new aspects of some international programs for Tech students. It was held last Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. in the RUC Multipurpose Room. The main goal of the Study Abroad Fair is to inform students about scholarship and financial aid opportunities, health services, travel, and communication abroad. “The representatives from different study abroad companies come to speak before classrooms all over campus,” Amy Miller, study abroad coordinator, said. “We have the student panel, so people will be able to ask questions during questions-answer time.”

The student panel talked about their experience and accepted questions during dead hour in Johnson Hall Auditorium. Such meetings are very valuable because currently, study abroad is not so popular among Tech students.

“I don’t necessarily think that the study abroad program is popular as it should be,” Miller said. “It needs to be advertised more. Students have an opportunity to get their money reimbursed. It’s about $1,000. A lot of students know about it, but some ones still don’t. What we are trying to do is to get that information to them by organizing fairs and advertising it as much as possible.”

“Some parents couldn’t imagine their children studying abroad. It seems to them as if they went far away. Going abroad is like going the moon. Study in other countries is getting more popular; we see more international students here. We are more exposed. As a matter of fact, the number of American students who study abroad is increasing every year. There are more faculty members who are taking students for short trips, so they are getting more exposed.”

“Last year we had 162 American students who studied abroad. Germany, Spanish-speaking countries and France are the most popular among students,” Miller said. “That’s why Tech program offers German, Spanish and French languages.

“I also have students who are interested in learning Chinese, Japanese and Korean. We don’t have those classes here, so they usually do self-study. They get computer programs and try to study on their own. At the same time, they can’t get much credit after returning from abroad, which may discourage students to study in other countries.”

Miller also said that study abroad is worthwhile. Miller studied in Venezuela for a year and taught a course in Spain last year. She always supports study abroad and tries to involve Tech students in this cross-cultural activity.

“The most memorable and interesting experience for me was the study in Venezuela,” she said. “It had an impact on my life. My Spanish became more fluent. I lived with a family there. It helped me to grow up a lot and become more independent. I lived there in a very large city. It was a challenge because I lived in a small town growing up.”

The list of the countries she visited is not limited to Latin America countries such as Venezuela and Mexico, but also includes European countries, for instance, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Spain and Finland. But it’s not enough for Miller. She would like to travel more.

“I haven’t been to Asia yet. There are a lot places on the list I would like to go.