Study abroad fair offers quick learning opportunity


Jackie Norman/Iowa State Daily

Students gather at LeBaron Hall to learn about study abroad options on Sept 28. 

Emily Schroer

For many, getting to study abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Students at Iowa State learn just how great it can be by attending a study abroad fair, such as the one on Thursday.

The event was for all students interested in or wanting more information about studying abroad.

Ben McKelfresh, marketing and program coordinator for the study abroad center, said there are over 1,300 programs to choose from. Students have a chance to experience a program that lasts anywhere from one week to one year.

In addition to studying abroad, internship and volunteering opportunities also are available in another country.

Hosting study abroad fairs can bring about opportunities for students in one place and allow them to explore the vast variety of programs that are available. 

Some programs specify which year a student must be. Others require a GPA greater than 2.5-3.0, but a few are open to lower averages.

A variety of students attended the fair. Some had already studied abroad, but others were interested in doing so sometime in the future. McKelfresh said students who study abroad learn skills that are irreplaceable and can help them get jobs in the future.

“It’s something that helped develop me into the person I am and who I want to be and where I want to go,” Rowan Gruber, senior in industrial engineering, said. “It added a very important perspective that I think I was missing before I went abroad.”

Gruber studied abroad in Wales during the spring of 2016. He said the experience opened his eyes to the world. It gave him the opportunity to view the United States from the outside and see the world differently. 

Price can create a large misunderstanding for some people thinking about studying abroad. But the cost of a lot of the programs is virtually the same price as Iowa State tuition. Some exchange programs allow in-state students to pay in-state tuition and out-of-state students to pay out-of-state tuition.

There are also opportunities for study abroad scholarships that help pay for travel, flights, housing, etc.

Yolanda Wang, a current international student, said living in the United States is completely different than living in her home country of Taiwan. She explained how living in a unfamiliar country creates some difficulties, including learning how to do things on your own. 

“Be fearless and do as much as you can,” Wang said. “It’s a rare experience and you will get more than you can possibly imagine.” 

Another big concern about studying abroad is not having the credits earned while abroad transferred upon return to Iowa State. McKelfresh said all of the credits earned through the study abroad center are transferable.

Jacqueline Tabor, junior in animal science, is determined to study abroad someday soon. She said she has wanted to go since the day she arrived at Iowa State.

Tabor said she has wanted to do it since her sister came back from her own trip and showed Tabor pictures, talked immensely about her trip and just how much she loved it.

“I love where I live and I love Iowa State, but I definitely think it is important to get out there and see other parts of the world,” Tabor said.