By Siran Siang, Staff Writer
Various Study Abroad programs attracted many students to the Spring Study Abroad Fair 2014 held in the North Dining Hall at the University of Maine, Farmington (UMF) during common time on Wednesday, January 29, 2014.
UMF exchange/semester abroad programs in four countries, Argentina (Cordoba), China (Beijing, Shanghai), England (Hull), France (Le Mans, Angers), and eight other program providers were featured at the fair.
At least 35 students signed in at the entrance and there could be more who just walked in and checked out some programs without signing in, according to Lynne Eustis, the Director for International and Exchange Programs at UMF and the main organizer of the fair.
The Study Abroad Fair is usually held twice a year, at the beginning of both fall and spring semester. It is a traditional event at UMF and provides students with the opportunity to learn about various study abroad programs and get in touch with students who have studied abroad in previous semesters.
“I wish all students would have a study abroad experience and that it was affordable for all students to do that”, said Eustis. As part of her duties Eustis oversees the advising for overseas students and scholars. She works with the UMF students who want to study abroad or study in another institution in the US through the National Student Exchange Program (NSE).
“There were three (programs) that I looked up today,” said Katelyn Richards, a freshman, psychology major at UMF who is considering an exchange during her junior year. Richards hopes the program will provide her with a variety of experiences and expose her to new things and ideas. “Mostly culture,” said Richards. “It would be interesting to see what is like in another places and the main thing is that I want to be able to travel.”
Eustis estimates that each year at UMF about 20 students are sent abroad through the programs that she oversees. “It is a good number for a small school,” said Eustis.
This year there is a fairly new program that offers Student Teaching Abroad provided by GlobaLinks.
UMF senior Alex Robinson, who is double-majoring in Education and Psychology went to do student teaching in New Castle, Australia last semester through GlobaLinks. He had a consulting table for Teaching Abroad at the fair to share his experiences. “I always wanted to study abroad but I have double majors so I never thought I would be able to because my schedule’s really rigid,” said Robinson. “When I found out that I could do student teaching, and get student teaching done as well as studying abroad, I thought it was the coolest thing.” He was also able to get some of his student teaching done here in Maine before continuing it in Australia during his study abroad program. .
During his time abroad he worked as a part-time teacher in Australia covering many subjects including, “math, history, swimming and other fun stuff,” said Robinson. “It was a really good experience and tons of cultural things…”
Eustis also said that Student Teaching Abroad is a good program for Education majors who have few electives but lots of major course and thus are not able to be away for a semester. Currently there are a number of locations in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, China, Chile, and South Korea for this Student Teaching Abroad Program.
Though many students expressed their wish to study abroad, some were more concerned about some realistic problems. “Finances are kind of hard”, said Junior Katelyn Campbell. She went on to say that she might choose to study abroad a bit later, maybe during graduate school, due to the high costs of studying and living abroad.
Eustis reminded the students that financial aid can be used for both UMF exchange and providers’ programs. Those who want to get financial aid to study abroad should get a budget sheet and meet with a Financial Aid Officer in the Merrill Hall to find out more about the options available to them. Eustis also advised interested students to talk over their options with their Academic Advisors at the beginning of the application process to discuss their academic plan and what courses to take.
The application deadline for all UMF exchange programs for the following academic year, Summer, Fall and Academic Year Provider programs is the 20th of February.
For more information, students can visit UMF Office of International Programs in Room 201, Franklin Hall or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.