Surviving the study abroad fair
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 21:09
If the thought of another rainy day Storrs brings tears to your eyes, attend the Study Abroad Fair today from 4 - 7 p.m. in the Rome Ballroom. There, over fifty tables will be set up for perusal, brochures will be free for the taking, and students – who have studied abroad in the past – will be available to answer questions. With over 300 options to choose from, the choices are endless.
UConn supports programs scattering across 65 countries on six continents; the most popular ones are in Florence, Paris, London and Cape Town. In order to be eligible, a 2.5 GPA or higher is necessary, but may be greater depending on the program. Also, being on university probation excludes any student from participation. Programs can range from a full academic year, a fall or spring semester or just a few weeks in the winter or summer intersessions. Imagine spending three cold January weeks in the French province of Martinique: the Caribbean Sea swirling around as the pages of a light textbook flip by. Just perfect.
Before island life can become our UConn life, though, let’s understand the basics. Typically, there are four different types of study abroad. The first is considered UConn faculty-led; it is popular because it is like a little Storrs in another country. Take some professors and some friends and live in Grenada, Spain. When searching on the study abroad website (studyabroad.uconn.edu), these programs are easily identifiable as a UConn-in-(insert country name here).
The second type of program is the typical exchange. It is how study abroad began: two students from different universities switch places. They eat, sleep and study as the other did. But as many students will explain, it is much more than that. During this time, complete cultural immersion occurs, global friendships ensue and second languages can easily be picked up. Most importantly, tuition does not change. For several out-of-state students, certain programs may cost less then a semester in Storrs. These are competitive programs, so apply early!
Like an exchange, direct enrollment places a student into a foreign university. It is not always reciprocal, though, so another student from that college may not come to UConn. Without this limiting factor, it can be slightly easier to gain acceptance into this program. Rather than paying UConn tuition, students pay program fees directly to the other university.
Third party programs are also an option. Some organizations that offer programs include AustraLearn, CIEE, IES or IFSA. There are thousands of options, but they can be more expensive and might not meet UConn’s criteria for graded credit. However, internships and volunteer programs are possibilities so be sure to check them out.
If none of these options seem good enough or don’t offer exactly where you want to study, then petition for a new program. Students are constantly creating original plans and traveling to different places, allowing you to be the first to set foot in a lesser-known country.
“When it comes to study abroad, your life will be transformed. But don’t wait, plan early and get out there,” suggests Brittany Ciullo, a 7th-semester linguistics and psychology double major, who works in the Study Abroad Office. She and other student assistants give presentations titled, “Study Abroad 101” throughout the week, sharing their enthusiasm and experiences. Times are listed online.
Armed with this information, the world is waiting for you. Take on the Study Abroad Fair and make an appointment at the Study Abroad Office in CUE 117.