Study abroad fair to highlight international programs

GVL / Courtesy - Alissa Lane
Representatives from GVSUs partner university in Ghana, University of Cape Coast, talk to students at the Study Abroad Fair (2015).

Alissa Lane

GVL / Courtesy – Alissa Lane Representatives from GVSU’s partner university in Ghana, University of Cape Coast, talk to students at the Study Abroad Fair (2015).

Kyle Doyle

Wanting to travel but haven’t quite figured out how? Curious to learn more about what study abroad programs have to offer? Interested in any way about travel and earning credits?

On Monday, Oct. 11, the Padnos International Center (PIC) will attempt to answer some of those questions at its annual study abroad fair, highlighting different study abroad programs, internships and scholarships available to students at Grand Valley State University.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Grand River Room at the Kirkhof Center on campus.

“The study abroad fair is great because it gives students a chance to meet people from all over the world and students that have traveled all over the world,” said Alissa Lane, PIC outreach coordinator. “Particularly this year, we are excited to have guests from our partnership universities in Ghana and Kingston (United Kingdom), which are two of our most popular destinations.”

This year’s fair is set to showcase both pre-existing programs like the Ghana and Kingston trips, but also new programs that include teaching English in German, anthropology in Israel and learning Spanish in the Dominican Republic.

A semester long, faculty-led program in Germany that focuses on German social justice will be available next fall semester, said Meaghann Myers-Smith, study abroad adviser.The students who participate in the program will be going to a town in Germany, where refugees have come and began to settle and they’re going to teach them English.

Along with different programs, past participants will be talking to students about their experiences in the programs and international students will be giving students a first hand account of what their home country is like.

“I feel like getting the chance to talk to other students that have been abroad is so different than just looking at a program online or on a flyer,” Lane said. “You get to ask questions you wouldn’t normally get to ask and really get a sense of what the experience is going to be like.”

The fair is the largest event hosted by the PIC and both Lane and Myers-Smith encourage students to come out, learn more about study abroad and possibly join a program. Both say the experiences are worth a lifetime.

Lane said her first experience abroad was when she stepped out of a plane in Beijing. She said from then on, she knew that international experiences were going to be a huge part of her life.

The fair is set to have music, food and raffle prizes, all available to students who attend.

“We hope that anybody who is open to at least learning about opportunities will come by the fair, spend maybe 20 minutes there, looking through things, meeting new people, just get some ideas,” Myers-Smith said. “(Study abroad) is not an item that you purchase and then you’re done with it. It becomes a layer of who you are and your experience in the world.”