Finding new horizons with Education Abroad



By Kayleee McCollum

UK’s Education Abroad program is spreading the Big Blue Nation through its study abroad and exchange programs.

Students have the opportunity to venture out from the comforting familiarity of Lexington to discover new cultures and gain a better understanding of diversity through the EA’s various programs.

Austin Hughes, EA’s promotion outreach coordinator, said students can study abroad without pushing back their graduation date.

“The goal here is for students to participate in programs where they’re earning credit for their degree so they can still graduate on time,” Hughes said. “A lot of times that’s kind of a common misconception. A lot of people think they can’t participate in an EA program because they won’t graduate on time, but we work really closely with the departments to point out programs that are good for their students.”

Participating EA students have the opportunity to take part in many unique experiences. For example, one of the most popular programs is an internship with Britain’s Parliament, and more than 400 EA programs are available. However, according to Hughes, the focal point is placed more on academics rather than the country a student travels to.  

“Pretty much any country you’re thinking about studying in, there’s definitely an option there. One of our main goals is the focus on academics,” Hughes said. “When a student is interested in Education Abroad, we like to make sure that before they pick a program, they’re really thinking about what they’re wanting to study, and not where they’re wanting to study. It’s more important that you’re participating in a program based on your academic standpoint.”

EA also focuses on the importance of service with events such as their Night of Service. EA and UK’s International Studies Abroad program teamed up to partner with Lexington’s International Book Project, a nonprofit organization focused on improving literacy in the U.S., as well as in developing countries. Volunteers at the Night of Service met up to pack books into boxes and prepare them to be shipped internationally to those in need. Participants at the event packed books to be sent to Papua New Guinea and Kosovo.

“Education Abroad partners with ISA doing several different types of education abroad. We do study abroad with ISA and we also do service learning with ISA. This project we really wanted to highlight the service learning opportunities that they have internationally,” EA adviser Susan Meredith said.

It was estimated that more than three hundred books were packed up for shipping as a result of the Night of Service event.

“We really see the benefit of students being involved in their community, and we want the students to have those options and availability,” Meredith said. “By doing it here locally and serving locally, we hope it opens up the door for them understanding they can also do this internationally for other communities.”

EA also oversees research conducted abroad. Students who research abroad say it is rewarding and has the potential to create career opportunities in the future.

Students interested in getting involved with Education Abroad can attend one of the program’s informal First Steps info sessions held 3 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday and 4 p.m. every Wednesday and Thursday in room 207 of Bradley Hall. Students can also visit EA’s resource center in Bradley Hall for more information.