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CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Students can get taste of study abroad experience at fair Sept. 23

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Students can learn about opportunities to study in foreign countries at the University of Iowa Study Abroad Fair Tuesday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge.

The fair will showcase the wide variety of study abroad programs available, with exhibits set up by both the UI Office for Study Abroad and other U.S. universities and agencies. About half of the 40 tables set up at the fair will promote UI study abroad programs. Students can pick up pamphlets and information on different programs and register for a variety of door prizes with an international theme. The event is free and open to all students.

Organizers in the Office for Study Abroad, which is hosting the event, hope that once students get a taste of the experience in a fun, convenient and informational atmosphere, they'll be hungry for more.

"This is like going window shopping, with the whole spectrum of study abroad experiences on display," says Janis Perkins, director of the Office for Study Abroad. "Students who come will be able to talk to students who have previously studied abroad as well as professional representatives of study abroad programs. They'll get a feel for the variety of programs that are available--the options academically, geographically and in terms of program structure and activities."

Perkins says one of the chief concerns for students is the cost involved in studying abroad. Study abroad staff members hope to address these concerns at the fair by hosting exhibitors who offer a variety of short- and long-term programs with differing costs. They will also offer academic and financial advice, as well as health and safety information.

"Studying abroad is often possible for students who aren't sure that they can't afford it." Perkins says. "Many of our study abroad programs cost very little more than a semester, academic year or a summer at the University of Iowa, and students are able to apply financial aid toward the costs of participating in a study abroad program.''

Another concern students have about studying abroad is that the experience won't count toward their academic degree or will cause them to have to spend an extra semester or year in school.

"Any carefully planned study abroad experience can fit very neatly into a student's curriculum. If students plan carefully, select the right program and choose the right courses in that program, it won't slow them down," Perkins emphasizes. "Study abroad should be seen as an integral part of a student's academic program--not as time away from the university."

Studies have shown that students who study abroad are often more desirable candidates to businesses and companies when hiring in an increasingly competitive global job market, says Deanne Hurst, director of the business and liberal arts placement at the UI.

Perkins says students gain valuable attributes from their experience that are highly attractive to employers. "They become better decision makers. They learn to face challenges and take risks," Perkins says. "They don't see the world in terms of black and white as they may have before they had a cross-cultural experience. These qualities prepare them well for their entry into the work force, whether or not they hope to work in the international sector."

English- and Spanish-speaking countries top the list of study abroad destinations, Perkins says.

"Overall, the largest number of students go to Western European countries," Perkins says, "although we're seeing an increase in study abroad participation at less-traditional locations such as Africa, Latin America and Asia. We encourage students to look at the entire globe."

More than 500 University of Iowa students studied abroad in the 1996-97 academic year, according to Perkins.

Students do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply to a study abroad program. However, all students must be in good academic standing to apply. For more information about the Study Abroad Fair, or to obtain information about studying abroad, contact the Office for Study Abroad at 335-0353.

The UI Office for Study Abroad administers study abroad programs and exchanges for the University of Iowa and provides advising services for students interested in an international educational experience. The office also administers several scholarship competitions for international study and research. The office is located at 28 International Center and is open to students from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The International Center is located at the end of Ferson Avenue in Iowa City, off of Park Road or by foot up the stairway from Riverside Drive.

The UI Office for Study Abroad is part of UI International Programs, which consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

(Editor's Note: If you would like to profile a student who has studied abroad, call Lois Gray, international programs media relations specialist, at 335-2026.)

9/16/97