Broadening Horizons: Campus hosts Education Abroad Fair

By Brian Hancock

The University of Kentucky has a large campus.  As students learned Wednesday, that campus extends throughout the entire world.

UK held its annual Education Abroad Fair Wednesday in the Student Center Grand Ballroom from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The event included 55 tables of both independent and on-campus study abroad programs, attracting over 2,000 attendees.

Exotic music, dancing, national flags and food all filled the room. Many students came seeking out information on their potential future travels.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” said international studies sophomore Kate Lee-Butte.  “There’s so many tables to visit.”

Last year the event was held along the walkway from Rose Street to the William T. Young Library.  It was moved to the Grand Ballroom in order to make the event more cost effective, as well as have students stay a bit longer.

“Last year, we mostly had students just passing through,” Sonya Cunningham, the event’s organizer said.  “Here in the Grand Ballroom, students are really here to learn about studying abroad.”

Cunningham, who has been planning the event since May, said that every region of the world was represented.  Last year, UK students studied abroad in 60 different countries.

Throughout the day, tables were continuously packed, as students poured in between and after classes.

“It’s been really busy,” said Abroadco representative Chris Schiffhauer.  “Students are asking for a lot of different locations and majors.”

“This is the biggest [fair] I’ve been to so far,” said Study Down Under representative David Gooden.  Gooden, with his Aussie accent and inflatable kangaroo, encouraged everyone to study abroad at one point or another.

“I studied at UNC Chapel Hill during the final semester of my senior year,” he said.  “Getting to see this new culture made it the best semester of my life.”

A plethora of options presented themselves as students attempted to compare rates and offerings from 30 different independent program providers, as well as UK Sponsored and UK Exchange Programs.

“I want to work with Eastern European history, and there are a lot of programs which deal with that,” said Lee-Butte.

“I hope to live in a bigger city someday, so I want to get a taste of different cultures,” said architecture junior Corey Jenkins, who plans to study abroad next fall.  Jenkins said he’s considering a program called Semester at Sea, where students live on a boat for a semester, stopping at six different countries around the world.

In addition to studying abroad, students had the opportunity to discover several others ways to take their talents beyond our borders.

Various internships were available throughout many different countries.  The Peace Corps was also on hand.  Shoulder to Shoulder Global – a program which takes UK students to Ecuador each summer – was present as well.

Students obtained passport information, as well as travel guidelines from AAA.  Financial aid and scholarship information were also available.

“The goal of this event is to let students know two things,” said Cunningham.  “First, we want to let them know that they can go abroad, and we’re here to help.  Second, we’re here to make them realize that there are so many options – where to live, how to live – there are so many different ways to study abroad.”

Some students took her message to heart.

“This event has given me a broader view of where to look, and what to look for,” said Lee-Butte.