Study Abroad Fair opens doors to the world

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Students learn about various study abroad programs at annual Study Abroad Fair in Estabrook Hall on Thursday, Sept. 15. Photo courtesy of Maggie Gautrau, Photo Editor

Students hungry for adventure filled Estabrooke Hall Thursday, Sept. 16. The walls were adorned with flags and pictures from various countries around the world, as representatives from over 10 different study abroad programs tabled the event. The event, which is put on every year by the Office of International Programs, is a showcase of the various programs available for students interested in going abroad.

“We offer programs in almost every country,” Amy Kumpf, Study Abroad advisor at the University of Maine, said. Kumpf works with students at the University of Maine that are interested in going abroad and helps them find programs suitable for their needs and then go through the pre-departure process.

“The Study Abroad Fair has representatives from the university’s direct exchange program and the recommended programs,” Kumpf said. In addition to study abroad, students could also find information about internships abroad and teaching abroad at the fair.

“Every student at the University of Maine is eligible to study abroad,” Kumpf said, “There is no major that is limited to go abroad.” In addition to attending the Study Abroad Fair, the Office of International Programs encourages students to go as early as possible and to talk to their academic advisor.

Chloe Dyer, a fourth-year Mass Communication student at the University of Maine, was present at the fair to share her experience about studying at the American University in Bulgaria in the spring of 2016. “I liked experiencing the different culture. Bulgaria is very different than the U.S. in just like ways of living,” Dyer said.

Dyer remembers attending the Study Abroad Fair before going abroad and said that “it helped to see that I could see all the options laid out in this one fair. But I also visited the office and did a lot of research before going abroad.”

Like many students going abroad, Dyer chose to go through the Direct Exchange program. Through an exchange agreement UMaine has with several foreign universities, the students pay tuition and fees at UMaine and swap locations with a student at a partner university. It’s open to all students the University of Maine. Popular locations include Australia, Spain, England and Germany.

In addition to Direct Exchange, the Office of International Programs also offers twelve recommended programs for students to choose from. Sarah Adams, a third-year marketing student at the University of Maine, went abroad with one of these programs. “I went to the Study Abroad Fair when I was a freshman because I really wanted to study abroad, and it really helped me out and find a program that fit me.” Through the Study Abroad Fair, Adams found the University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC). “USAC was a really great program. Their advisors were always so easy to get ahold of. They’re really good at keeping you on track and making sure you have it all together.“

Adams, who studied in Melbourne, Australia, said “it was one of the best decisions I made in my college career.” As a Maryland native, Adams is one of the many students who choose to go abroad with a third-party program “because for out-of-state students, it’s less expensive than Direct Exchange.”

In addition to USAC, there were multiple other recommended programs present at the Study Abroad Fair, including Academic Programs International, Council on International Educational Exchange and Center for International Studies.

To those who have ever considered going abroad, “Definitely do it. There’s never going to be another time in your life where you can go abroad for a few months at a time. I feel like it’s just the easier time, in college, that you can do something like that,” Dyer said, “and it’s just opened up so many different points of view for me and I have friends from all over the world and all over the country now.”

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