Students scout study abroad opportunities


by Caitlyn Read

 

Students scout study abroad opportunities

By: Dan Froehlich ('14) and Landon Walker ('14)

Students interested in studying abroad met with professors and peers on Sept. 24 for the Office of International Program’s 2014 Study Abroad Fair, a major event in JMU’s annual International Week. A general sense of curiosity and excitement was in the air as students wandered from booth to booth, gathering information about study abroad opportunities. 

James Madison University offers students and faculty a great variety of study abroad programs and experiences. One in four JMU students will take advantage of those offerings, packing their bags and traveling to different parts of the world. This high level of involvement has earned the school national recognition, with the Institute of International Education recently ranking JMU second among master’s level institutions in total number of students who participate in long-and short-term study abroad programs.

The 35-year-old JMU tradition of exposing students to different cultures and perspectives through study abroad continues today, as new programs are offered every semester. Dr. Kenneth Newbold, associate vice provost of Research and Scholarship at JMU, was in attendance at the fair and is one of many professors pioneering new study abroad offerings. He is planning to launch a new program in South Africa.

With this program, Newbold plans to “engage students in different and developing cultures.” Over the past 20 years, South Africa has undergone incredible changes, and Newbold wants students to experience this societal change in “government, social and economic contexts as it’s happening.”

JMU senior, Erik Simmons studied abroad in Austria last summer. He passed on this advice to fellow students at the fair: “Get out there and have an open mind. Our culture is not the end-all-be-all.” General sentiment shared by students who had studied abroad and returned to the fair was that their peers may not realize how different the world is from their home, and study abroad trips are an opportunity to gain this knowledge in a fun and engaging way.

Senior, Patrick Shamburger was among the many students at the event willing to share how his study abroad experience impacted his life. He says his trip to Antwerp opened his eyes to “different ways of thinking and gave [him] a general ability to keep an open mindset about people.”

Prospective study abroad students in attendance were more than excited to find out more about these opportunities for themselves. Current student TJ Susan wants to study abroad for a “chance to get out and see the world,” and Callie Nigrelli, a freshman, has decided that there is “no better time than college” to gain a new, global perspective.

Published: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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