New opportunities at upcoming study abroad fair

Etta Brooks

The office of international and off-campus programs under CORE is encouraging all students to attend the study away fair scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 28 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Galve rooms. This is the first fully in person study abroad fair since the COVID-19 pandemic. Many programs that were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions and observance are now being offered, in addition to some new courses and abroad destinations. 

According to CORE’s website, the purpose of this fair is for students to “learn about the study abroad process, grants, Augie Choice, J-term programs and courses.”

CORE now offers classes in Italy about Renaissance and anatomy. Other new opportunities include a full semester learning about wildlife and conservation in the Galapagos, Eduardo where Darwin partially formulated his theory of evolution. In addition to these two new programs, Mexico, Morocco and Iceland are other new locations that are being offered along with many others. 

According to Pedro Bidegaray, director of international and off-campus programs, about 20 tables will be set up with information on opportunities provided for 2022 and 2023. There will be J-term, summer and semester-long opportunities. Options for international and domestic study abroad and internships are also available. 

Faculty leading some of the J-term programs will be present, as well as representatives from programs in the United Kingdom, Pacific Island and Australia. Staff from the office of financial affairs will be at the fair to provide information on their respective programs.

“Students should pay a visit to the fair because it’s a great way to learn about what programs we have to offer and a way to find out if study abroad is for you,” CORE student worker Emily Torres said.

According to Bidegaray, study abroad is important because it allows students to have hands-on experiences about classroom concepts and theories, enriches cultural perspectives and makes you more competitive in the job market. 

“For example, I can talk to you about culture and personality. But if you go to Morocco, and they ask you to think in terms of how culture influences personality, you can see it, and the fact that you can see it will expand and strengthen your learning and understanding of the concept,” Bidegaray said.

Torres studied abroad when she was in high school. She also experienced personal growth.

“I studied abroad in Spain my freshman year of high school, and it helped me grow both mentally and spiritually. Learning alongside others with different backgrounds taught me how to communicate better and gave me a different perspective on the world,” Torres said.

Bidegaray shares some of the ways in which pursuing a study abroad experience can be achievable: students fulfill credit requirements, and tuition and financial aid with Augustana can be applied to study abroad experience. 

“In my two years here, I have not seen anybody floundering or failing to go abroad because their academic advisors were not flexible,” Bidegaray said.

Study abroad is available to all students, whether international or domestic. However, getting a visa to certain destinations can be especially difficult for international students. 

Bidegaray said that the office looks forward to having a table display during international education week and also getting involved with cultural organizations to understand how the study aboard team can better understand what students need and how to help them. 

Bidegaray is also developing a program for first year students that could enrich their curiosity to learn more about other cultures and gain better exposure to the many opportunities the office has to offer. A group of 20 to 23 students led by a professor will take a class at Augie and could spend four to five weeks in Tanzania. 

“Many students are happy to be here, and they still don’t fully understand everything they can do. The first year student initiative goal is just to simply infect their curiosity and a sense that they can do all these things,” Bidegaray said.

The office of international and off-campus programs have many exciting opportunities to share with students at the fair as well as working toward increasing engagement with students such as international and first-year students to cater to their needs.