For students who have wanted to see the world while they are in college, the opportunity is there for the taking. The first annual Study Abroad Fair will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. on the University Student Union balcony.
While in the fall, there is International Week. But there was no event in the spring for students to learn about visiting other countries while still earning course credit.
The event originally started as a small one. However, it will be more than five times than was planned.
Countries from all over the globe will be represented at the fair, with international students who will be available to answer questions from students.
Representatives of China, Norway, Thailand, South Korea, Germany and India as well as many other countries will be there to help inform students on how they can visit places and keep it affordable.
Moaaz Gill, a graduate student who is working toward a master’s degree in counseling, is in charge of organizing the fair.
“It’s going to be very informal for students, and because we are learning as well, it’s informing everyone out there,” he said.
There are many programs available for students to take advantage of if they are interested in leaving the country for a semester. One of the main programs is the University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC). There is also the California State University International Program (CSUIP), which is available to students at every California State University campus.
Gill said, “We feel like the students need to know about this opportunity because sometimes, students come in here, they’re seniors, and they say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about studying abroad.’ So we’re trying to create this awareness that there are more opportunities now.”
After the fair ends, at 3 p.m., there will be a separate information session led by a representative of the CSUIP.
The event takes place during Diversity Week on campus.
Students taking part in the fair will be eligible for prizes. Fake passports will be given to students and if at least five of the 10 booths are visited and stamped off in the passport, they will be eligible to win more prizes, such as a Buffalo Wild Wings coupon for six free wings and free ice cream from the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market.
A grand prize can be won by those who submit an evaluation sheet about the event, which includes a Fresno State Bulldogs sweater, a Red Robin gift card and two tickets to the Kenny Chesney concert at the Save Mart Center in July.
The giveaway is a way to inform students about international travel as well as entice them to visit the booths.
“Even if you don’t win, you’re going to end up learning about other countries,” Gill said. “Even if you aren’t interested in studying abroad, if you ever wanted to travel to these countries, just go and ask. There are people at the fair that come from these places and lived there.”
While the trips range in prices from $3,000 to more than $10,000 for a semester, students can receive help from financial aid and scholarships to make the expenses a little easier on the purse strings.
“European countries are very popular,” Gill said. “It’s the first choice that students think of. It’s just where they want to go. Really, it’s the most expensive place to go because everything is in Euros. We want the student to be excited, but we want to be realistic at the same time.”
Gill said that studying abroad is not for every student and that you can’t just pack your bags to leave.
Gill said, “The key is that you come early and you do a lot of research. I treat it as a big research paper. You can’t just show up, you have to do your legwork and research.”