Annual study abroad fair boasts opportunities


Brianna Buenz/Iowa State Daily

Students browse options for continuing their studies around the world at the Iowa State Study Abroad Fair. The Study Abroad Fair was held in the Great Hall in the Memorial Union on Thursday September 20,2012.

Nathaniel Bucsko

Hundreds of students gathered in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union on Thursday, Sept. 20, to get information about Iowa State’s Study Abroad Program, which more than 1,200 ISU students take advantage of each year, according to the ISU department of world languages and cultures. 

The Study Abroad Fair allowed students to get some introductory information about the programs. With more than 50 booths set up around the Great Hall, students had easy access to brochures, pamphlets and peers who had already experienced one or more of the hundreds of programs offered by the university.

While many students have a particular country in mind in which they want to study abroad, even more have a very narrow idea of all the programs that the university offers. Overall, there are hundreds of programs that include countries from all over the world, including Ireland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, England and China.

Two primary focuses of the study abroad fair were to get the word out about programs in smaller countries as well as to give students information about  financial aid and credit transfer.

Pasha Beresnev, senior in civil engineering, said he found the fair helpful when he was a freshman.  

“You just don’t really hear about [all the different programs],” Beresnev said.

Beresnev studied in Switzerland and said his study abroad experience was one he will not soon forget.

“I have a second major in French, and I wanted to study engineering classes in French,” Beresnev said. “Switzerland seemed perfect, especially since I enjoy snowboarding and skiing, which is big there.”

Beresnev said that his best experience from his trip was simply being outdoors and going sightseeing through the mountain ranges. He also said he would recommend going abroad to everyone.

“We are in central Iowa, which, obviously, is not as diverse as other countries. Studying abroad through the university forces you to acclimate to other cultures while studying in a different language,” Beresnev said.

He would also recommend the Switzerland program to anyone looking to improve their French.

One program that had a different draw than some others this past summer was the England program. The 2012 Summer Olympics were in London, and several ISU students, including Tom Graeve, were right in the middle of the action.

Graeve, senior in kinesiology and health, had previously studied abroad in Mexico City during high school and knew he wanted to do the same in college.

“The world is getting more global,” Graeve said. “When you interact with co-workers or clients after school, there is a good chance they will be from another country or have a different cultural background.”

The London program includes courses taught through Middlesex University, as well as internship opportunities. In addition to seeing what is in the surrounding area, students also have the privilege of going on planned field trips to areas such as the London Eye and Stonehenge.

Graeve said meeting the other men and women on the trip was his favorite experience and said that he is still close with the ISU students that joined him.

There was also information that contained information about paying for the trip, which is a concern of most students and parents.

The financial aid packages are broken down between fall, spring and summer semesters. While the university does not cover “cultural immersion” trips with financial aid, all trips that involve course work that will translate to Iowa State are covered. Scholarships are also available to cover study abroad.