Students explore international opportunities at UWEC’s Study Abroad Fair

Lots to learn about at each study abroad booth 

Booths were set up with eager representatives ready to discuss study abroad opportunities.
Booths were set up with eager representatives ready to discuss study abroad opportunities.
Photo by Ambrosia Wojahn

UW-Eau Claire’s Lower Campus was adorned with flags from around the world as students gathered for the annual Study Abroad Fair on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Over 30 booths were set up along the campus walkway, with faculty and students ready to discuss exchange programs, internships and other opportunities for students to travel internationally through the college.

Students looking into studying abroad walked up to the booths, writing down contact information and scanning barcodes to connect with the programs best suited for them.

“This is always a very good fair. It’s always very well organized, very well attended, and I think that Eau Claire does such a good job of promoting study abroad opportunities for their students,” Jo Hagerty, correspondent with Stirling University in Scotland, said. 

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Hagerty said she has been working with Eau Claire for years and has attended the Study Abroad Fair several times, having helped found the Stirling University program in 2010.

The Stirling University program typically has anywhere between two and eight students from Eau Claire per year.

“They’re always good students, they don’t give us any hassle,” Hagerty said.

Study abroad opportunities are offered in a variety of ways at UW-Eau Claire. Some programs are specific to major and field of study, as fourth-year nursing student Solveig Dei Rodlund said. 

Rodlund was running the booth for a nursing study abroad opportunity in Mexico, which she participated in herself this past semester.

“I mostly found out about the opportunity through nursing programs, but a few friends who help run this fair helped me out along the way,” Rodlund said.

Some of those working at the Study Abroad Fair were running booths as part of a scholarship requirement, fourth-year student Kelsey Donovan said. Donovan was running a booth for a Spanish-speaking opportunity offered in Spain.

Donovan is majoring in rehab science and studied abroad in Spain through a UW-Eau Claire program. 

“I applied for the Haas Scholarship. Part of the scholarship’s requirement was helping with study abroad events throughout the year,” Donovan said. “Many have come by the booth so far, and we’ve had a lot of names written down considering the program’s Spanish language requirement.”

Donovan said while some non-English speaking countries offer courses in English, certain programs require students to know the language and to become fully immersed both in and out of the classroom.

Fifth-year psychology and criminal justice student Olivia Scanlan was working a booth for Italian programs after taking classes in Italy.

“I’m a psychology and criminal justice double major, and I was able to take a few psychology classes in Italy. I also had the opportunity to take a couple of cooking classes and a food and wine-pairing class during that time,” Scanlan said.

Scanlan said the initial choice to study abroad was not a difficult one.

“I knew someone who was studying abroad in Italy, and I had always wanted to visit that country. I decided then and there that I was going to go,” Scanlan said.

Callie Gustafson, a third-year business student, was co-running the booth with Scanlan. Gustafson said a past Study Abroad Fair was what helped her become involved with the program.

“I had always been really interested in studying abroad, and last year I came to this fair. That’s where I got all the information for this program,” Gustafson said. “That was what really helped push me to do it, because I had the information in my hands.”

While some study abroad programs are based in cities, others are held in more rural settings, as Dr. Meg Lagunas, associate professor at the UW-Eau Claire School of Nursing, explained.

“I think a lot of students have found that studying in rural areas makes for a cheaper cost of living, and oftentimes the universities will plan a lot of excursions to the city so students can still gain that experience. There really are a lot of benefits to studying more rurally,” Lagunas said.

Students attending the fair left talking about the many opportunities available to them and the information needed to utilize Eau Claire’s Study Abroad programs.

Wojahn can be reached at [email protected].

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