The Office of International Education and Development hosted a virtual study abroad fair from March 8-11. Over 250 students attended the virtual sessions which featured nearly 20 study abroad programs.
Coordinator for the Office of International Education and Development, Emily Maurer, hoped that attendees gained an understanding of study abroad living and the international opportunities available to them.
“The department hopes students… will have become more informed about the…study abroad, scholarships, international internships, or other international education opportunities the Office of International Education and Development offers.” said Maurer.
Maurer admitted that in the aftermath of COVID-19, the department has had trouble attracting students to international education programs. However, she does believe that the recent changes made to the department and its affiliates will encourage students to study abroad.
“Our department is hopeful for a more normal commencement of study abroad operations in the coming semesters,” said Maurer before adding “we are revising our policy.”
In addition to COVID-19, the representative for College Year in Athens, Lauren Russell, finds that financial anxiety often prohibits students from seeking international opportunities. Russell stated that there are various resources offered by individual programs. Additionally, Florida A&M University offers aid that gives students the financial flexibility to explore international opportunities.
“We don’t want finances to be a hindrance for students wanting to study abroad,” Russell said.
AMIDEAST representative Justine Pinkerton echoed Russell’s sentiments. Pinkerton noted that most of the many resources available remain unused.
“It’s up to you to use the resources,” Pinkerton said.
In addition to financial resources, the Office of International Education and Development offers programs that give students the tools to smoothly transition into cultures foreign to them. GVI recruiter Brooklyn Norton believes these tools are vital for a student to have a successful international education experience. Norton highlighted the immersion program GVI provides to ensure that participants are as “constructive and respectful” as possible.
“You’ll be given an enrollment manager and they will give you all the theory that you need to help you understand where you’re going,” said Norton before adding “You’ll be welcomed by your team there will be a bunch of activities… you’ll be thoroughly immersed within the culture. “
Pinkerton stressed the importance of taking advantage of all resources available as she believes every student should study abroad.
“We have scholarships you can get … international education should be a cornerstone for every student’s education,” Pinkerton said.
Maurer agreed and shared her hope that the reservations students may have about studying abroad do not deter them from participating in what she describes as a “transformative experience.”
If you missed the study abroad sessions, you can access the recordings and any additional information at http://www.famu.edu/oied.