Fair showcases Education Abroad program

By Mary Austin

The 2011 Education Abroad fair will take place Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Frank H. Harris Student Center Grand Ballroom.

Dr. Anthony Ogden, director of education abroad at UK, wants to change students’ minds about what it means to study abroad.

He said the term “education abroad” is meant to replace the idea of “going abroad.”

This year, the EA program wants people to get the message that everyone can study abroad.

Ogden said he wants to get rid of the mentality that it’s too expensive or prolongs graduation.

The programs now “tailor to UK students,” complementing and enhancing their majors, he said.

Rather than students picking where they want to go, Ogden said he wants students to “find a program that is aligned with their major or career interests.”

Education abroad is actually the “umbrella term” for study abroad, internship abroad, research abroad and teach abroad, Ogden said.

He said students should take advantage of these programs and graduate having learned things that they couldn’t at UK.

Summer Eglinski, EA adviser, planned this year’s fair.

“Experiential credit is invaluable,” Eglinski said. “It gives students the edge on the competition.”

Seth Riker, communications coordinator for EA, agrees.

“The things you learn aren’t going to be on a transcript,” he said.

Wednesday’s fair aims to help students see the many options EA offers.

Flyers will be handed out to guide students and give a layout of the area. Signs will also be clearly hung and color-coded, all to highlight the many directions students can take when approaching the idea of studying abroad during college. Of the 4,000 programs offered, the EA staff have highlighted a few organizations.

“Exchange is the cheapest and can actually jumpstart graduation,” Ogden said. “This year, we’re giving an automatic $1,000 scholarship to study in Australia.”

Ogden stresses the accessibility of the UK sponsored programs, noting that the UK credits eliminate the hassle of a transfer.

Unlike many other universities, this program allows students to schedule and pay for one credit hour and still enroll in a full schedule of course, Ogden said.

Of the roughly 2,000 students who showed up to last year’s fair, Ogden says 637 enrolled in programs. He said he expects “well over 800” this year.

After spending five months studying in Chile, Riker is enthused to recruit others. He spends his time making flyers and spreading the word through social media.

“I want to see as many other students study abroad as possible,” he said. “If you want to study abroad, you can. I’m a Pell Grant, self-supporting college student; if I can make it work, then I don’t see anyone’s excuse. The hardest part was coming back.”