By Alexandra Marquez
The University of Maryland Education Abroad office held its semesterly Study Abroad Fair in The Stamp Student Union Thursday. The event included representatives from the Education Abroad office and from each of the many of study abroad programs offered by the university.
The Education Abroad office holds a fair in Stamp once at the beginning of each semester, said to Deborah McConnell, the assistant director for operations at Education Abroad. She said the fairs spark action in students, even if they are already interested in studying abroad.
“We often see an increase in the number of applications we have in the system, or even appointments that students have made with advisers for more in-depth conversations,” she said.
According to McConnell, about 10 percent of American students study abroad, but 22 percent of this university’s undergraduate population has studied abroad. The main aim of the fair is to convince even more people to spend a term in a foreign country, she said.
“A lot of Maryland students take advantage of this, and part of what the fair is here to represent is that you can go abroad and you can still graduate on time,” she said. “It doesn’t have to disrupt your studies, and really, there are options for every budget, every major, every goal.”
Christina Hallam, a sophomore psychology major, plans to study abroad in France within the next year. She said the fair gave her more information about specific programs she’d like to pursue.
“I’m thinking of maybe doing [a program] over the summer, so I learned that there’s a lot more summer programs than I thought there were,” she said.
Harriet Dadzie, a senior finance major and Education Abroad peer mentor, said studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, was the highlight of her college career. She credited the fair and the Education Abroad office with helping her find the right program with the right price for her family.
“I did come to the study abroad fair, I think my freshman year. It was overwhelming for me too, I just saw a lot of balloons and a lot of different programs,” she said. “It did help me think of what type of program I wanted to do. It made me realize that a semester would be more affordable for my family, rather than a short term.”
Kade Arrington, a sophomore public relations major, is just starting his study abroad journey.
He visited the fair to speak with representatives from his college about what programs would fit best with his major after he saw social media posts from a neighbor who was studying abroad.
“It’s funny. My next door neighbor right now is studying abroad and he’s loving his life right now, so I just figured, ‘Hey, why not?’” he said