JSU Global hosted a Study Abroad Fair, on Sept. 6, designed to educate students on the benefits of international study through a series of breakout sessions.
“JSU Global changed my life overall, to be honest, that’s why I’m an ambassador now because I really want to encourage students not to be afraid – just go,” said Hannah Scott, JSU Global Ambassador.
Jennifer Butler, study abroad coordinator for Jackson State, believes a fair is a resourceful tool that can reach a vast number of students.
“Having the study abroad fair is extremely important because of the awareness aspect of it. We need more students to understand that this is an option, and this is something that they can do,” Butler said.
“The more we can put that out there the better because, the earlier students start preparing for study abroad, the more successful they’re going to be. Having one place where students can come out and get lots of information and first-hand accounts from students, from career services and some of our external study abroad providers is the most benefit for their time,” she added.
Panelists shared their study abroad knowledge that included planning and preparation for life in another country, funding suggestions and how being an international student enhances employment prospects.
“One thing about your study abroad experience is to think about your goals and write them down,” said Kim Nicholas, recruiter for the Knowledge Exchange Institute.
She then encouraged the audience to separate goals into the following three categories:
- Academics – what (classes) do you need to graduate on time and within budget?
- Professional – how do you actually want to gain skills to advance your professional career?
- Personal – where (in the world) do you see yourself?
Senior Debrico Williams is still mulling over the idea of traveling abroad. “Africa is an option, but I am going to keep my options open until I figure out if and when I want to go,” said the psychology major.
Erika Clement, a recruiter for the School for International Training (SIT), was present to encourage students to try a more non-traditional approach to the study abroad experience explaining that SIT participants have an option of a “homestay” where students live with a host family for the duration of their visit.
“We’re a third party provider of study abroad programs, and we generally focus on program models that focus on experiential education. One of the reasons this is important is because experiential education is a more holistic style of teaching and learning that allows you to utilize various forms of learning styles and it tends to provide a much more comprehensive experience to study abroad,” Clement said. Rashaunda Ridle, a freshman with an undecided major, attended the event for her university success class but appears to be decided on the idea of studying abroad. “I want to experience a new place and how other people live,” she said.