Iowa State hosts study abroad fair

Chelsea Davis

Iowa State hosts one of the largest study abroad fairs in the nation, and students will have the chance to talk to representatives from more than 60 programs Thursday.

“Most programs have students at the fair who have returned from that program,” said Christine Gemignani, associate director of the ISU Study Abroad Center. “It’s a really good way to get some direct first-hand information from students who have just participated.”

The Student Activities Center has been working hard since the spring preparing for the event. Visitors come from partner institutions around the world, along with ISU programs, affiliate programs and other program providers.

Iowa State also offers a number of faculty-led programs from various departments on campus.

“Study abroad is really becoming something that is more mainstream than it used to be,” Gemignani said. “It used to be that students in certain areas would study abroad but now it’s available for students in every major.”

Gemignani said studying abroad gives students a kind of international experience that’s important personally as well as later on in their careers.

Students can, and have, gone anywhere and everywhere.

“The only places not available are those that are under a state department travel warning,” Gemignani said. “You can literally go to every possible location in the world where there’s a program.”

Around 1,200 students study abroad every year, which is a definite increase looking outside the last few years, Gemignani said.

Cost and graduation date may concern students, but Gemignani said not to worry.

“Costs range, but most programs are very affordable,” she said. “There are some types where it is literally the cost of attending Iowa State plus the plane ticket.”

If students are concerned about the cost of a program, Gemignani suggested going on a short-term program, which can be very inexpensive.

Financial aid also applies to study abroad, with many students qualifying for student loans that can sometimes cover up to the full cost of the program.

“We did a study at one point and found that students actually progressed to graduate more quickly who studied abroad,” Gemignani said. “There’s a misconception that there will be a delay.”

But Gemignani said students studying abroad are earning credits that can apply to their programs back home at Iowa State. In fact, students who study abroad in the summer are earning credits that can sometimes even bump them ahead.

“You have to be open to experiencing something new and going outside your comfort zone,” Gemignani said.

A list of all of SAC’s current study abroad opportunities can be found here.



10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Great Hall, Memorial Union