Learning Abroad Fair Showcases Opportunities Available to U Students

A+University+of+Utah+student+getting+information+at+one+of+the+many+stands+at+the+Learning+Abroad+Fair+on+Oct.+5%2C+2022.

Andrea Oltra

A University of Utah student getting information at one of the many stands at the Learning Abroad Fair on Oct. 5, 2022. (Photo by Andrea Oltra | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Caelan Roberts, News Writer

 

The University of Utah held its annual Learning Abroad Fair on Oct. 5. There were a total of 42 tables set up in the A. Ray Olpin Student Union ballroom that detailed different learning abroad programs, as well as scholarship and internship opportunities for students looking to spend time abroad. The fair drew a crowd of 245 students, which is on par with the attendance numbers for the fair held last fall.

“The primary goal is just to show and share with students that there are options of studying abroad, and showing that it’s not necessarily just a semester program, or in Europe,” said Alexandra Wallace, director of Learning Abroad about the fair. “We have a lot of options that fit majors, that fit budgets, that fit time constraints.”

The fair was accompanied by virtual information sessions on Oct. 3, 4 and 6 that went more in-depth about specific programs. On Friday, Oct. 7 there will be a virtual session from the Finacial Wellness Center at 10 a.m. and a hybrid Transfer Workshop at 2 p.m.

In order to properly spread the word to students, planning for the fair began long before the week it was held.

“Planning for the fair starts really a few months beforehand because we have to figure out who’s coming,” Wallace said. “We need to work with University of Utah faculty to make sure their programs are up to date and that they’re planning on going.”

In addition to faculty-led programs, the fair highlighted several affiliates not associated with the U that offered both learning abroad and internships abroad opportunities, including CEA Study Abroad and the University Study Abroad Consortium. “We have to send out those invitations really a month or two in advance,” Wallace said. 

Wallace and her team also had to build promotional materials and reserve space for the fair, as well as coordinate staff and assign them to tables on the day of the fair. “We’re doing that as we’re working on our nine-to-five job,” Wallace said. “So just to avoid any last-minute panic, we’re really starting to work on this over the summer.”

Students who attended the fair received a punch card with 10 spots at check-in. For each table they visited, the representative would punch out one spot, and when they completed their card, they could turn it in as an entry to a raffle and receive a food voucher for the food truck Chimichurri Grill that’s often stationed on-campus. “I just think it’s kinda fun to come, and there’s faculty that will be there,” Wallace said. “But I think the food truck is what I’m really excited about.”

For some students, the fair was simply an opportunity to come and learn more about different programs that are offered. “It seems cool, informative and inclusive,” said first-year computer engineering student Giovanni Stensaas of the fair. “You don’t need to know exactly what you’re looking for, which I don’t.” 

Aside from attracting students and showing them all learning abroad has to offer, Wallace wanted the fair to offer some financial guidance for students looking to begin their learning abroad journey.

“We have several types of scholarships,” she said. “Some of them are housed in the Office [for] Global Education and Learning Abroad. We have diversity scholarships; we have financial need options, merit scholarships.”

These scholarships vary in amounts, and Wallace said it can be a stressful experience for students to determine which ones they are eligible for and how and where to apply, so one of the tables at the fair was dedicated solely to helping students with that.

“We have information on where students can sort of get started on either applying for scholarships at the U in academic departments or even nationwide and international scholarships,” she said. “That’s kinda where they can come to even figure out how to start that process because it’s a bit overwhelming.”

 

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