By Caroline Hershey
On Thursday Oct. 20, flags from countries around the world lined the pathways leading to the Study Abroad Fair in the Nott Memorial. The event was organized by the Office of International Programs and Residential Life to educate the Union community about study abroad programs. According to statistics, more than 60 percent of Union students choose to study abroad with programs spanning six continents.
At the fair, faculty and students who had participated in term abroad programs staffed tables representing different countries. Students had the opportunity to both learn about the programs and speak with individuals to hear about their personal experiences.
“We organized this fair to display all of the different term abroad and mini-term programs in one place and to show that there’s something for everyone. Students can shop around and talk with people that have been on the programs to talk about their experiences and share pictures,” said Director of Residential Life Molly MacElroy.
Director of International Programs Lara Atkins was in attendance to answer questions and guide students, emphasizing her hope that as many students as possible will apply to go abroad.
“A study abroad experience is an extremely valuable part of any student’s education. What I hope to offer by having this fair is to show students the vast possibilities available to them through Union’s international programs,” said Atkins.
Among some of the most popular programs offered in the spring is the term abroad to Florence, Italy. David Ogawa, professor of visual arts and a supervisor of the program, commented that Florence is unique because it synthesizes two goals of international programs—experimental learning and cultural immersion. Students on the Florence program study surrounded by art and architecture and live with host families.
In addition to Union’s large selection of full-term and mini-term options, students can also apply to non-Union programs or create a customized independent study.
Upon returning to Schenectady, international opportunities do not end. Students can work with Director of Postgraduate Fellowships Maggie Tongue to learn about the Watson and Fulbright scholarships as well as various post-study and gap year programs. Likewise, the Becker Career Center can offer guidance for students seeking international employment options.