Expo Enables Students to Explore Study Abroad
In today’s world, a study abroad experience has become increasingly essential to a student’s academic and professional success. However for most students, turning a dream to study abroad into reality can be a daunting task – how and where does one get started? To answer that question, the Office of Global Education (OGE) once again hosted its annual Education Abroad Expo on Thursday, September 15, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on the 2nd Floor Mezzanine in the Kent Student Center.
“The Education Abroad Expo is a student’s ‘one-stop shop to get the gears going,’” explains Senior Education Abroad Advisor Nick Vasiloff, “It’s where students can learn virtually everything they need to know about studying abroad.”
Many of the Expo’s staff indicated that participation in the event was significantly more than the previous year and estimated attendance at between 400 and 500 students. “I think this year’s Expo drew a great turnout,” says Education Abroad Advisor Rachael Mundie, “The scholarships definitely helped attract students to the Expo, but I also feel that other events like the Run the World 5K race helped spread the word.”
The increase in attendance mirrors a similar increase in the number of Kent State students who participated in a study abroad program during the 2015-2016 academic year. For the first time the number exceeded 1000, twice the average of other U.S. universities.
“The past year has seen a significant increase in both students studying abroad as well as students interested in studying abroad,” explains Ediz Kaykayoglu, Director of Education Abroad in the Office of Global Education. “Students are becoming increasingly aware of the professional and personal benefits of study abroad, as well as the many opportunities that Kent State offers – everything from faculty-led programs to our two academic centers in Florence and Geneva. The Expo offers students the chance to look into the many opportunities and to get answers to their questions. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
To encourage greater attendance at the Expo, the Office of Global Education offered attending students the opportunity to win one of three Study Abroad Scholarships each valued at $1000. Nearly 350 students registered for the drawing. Immediately following the conclusion of the Expo, Ediz Kaykayoglu, assisted by Dr. Kristin Stasiowski, Assistant Dean of International Programs and Education Abroad of the College of arts and Sciences, drew the following three winners:
Larry Staats, Senior, College of the Arts
Heather Manning, Senior, College of Public Health
Kara Gruver, Sophomore, College of the Arts
The scholarships will serve an additional purpose as well. Because the stumbling block for most students pursuing a study abroad experience is a financial one, available scholarships are often the key factor in making a study abroad experience possible. Recognizing this factor in a student’s decision, the College of Arts and Sciences supplemented the three scholarships provided by the Office of Global Education with ten of its own. Students who participated in the “Run the World” 5K event the previous Saturday were automatically entered in a similar drawing for the ten scholarships. Represented by Dr. Stasiowski, the College used the forum of the Expo to announce the ten winners.
The Education Abroad Expo – which is held each year during the fall semester – focuses on the needs of students and seeks to provide them with the necessary information to make an informed decision before embarking on a study abroad experience. The Expo’s goals are to ensure that students are aware of the many study abroad programs in which they can participate, what financial resources are available to them, what factors to consider prior to their departure and eventual return, and what steps they need to take to get their plans underway. The Expo enables students to meet with the numerous Kent State Colleges, offices and departments, as well as service providers which can introduce them to the worthwhile study abroad programs that work best for their schedules, professional aspirations and budget, while also assisting them with critical preparations for any of their upcoming study abroad plans.
For those students who missed the Expo, they can still explore available information about study abroad programs and opportunities by visiting the Education Abroad website.