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

Release: Sept. 17, 2002

UI Study Abroad Fair Sept. 24 Promotes Global Opportunities

UI students aspiring to enrich their educational experience and gain a better understanding of the world are invited to attend the University of Iowa Study Abroad Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the second floor ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The fair is sponsored by the Office for Study Abroad and UI International Programs and features educational opportunities in countries ranging from Australia to Venezuela. It is free and open to all members of the UI community.

In addition to the more than 70 programs sponsored by the UI, there will be information about more than 30 other institutions' programs for studying abroad. Students will have a chance to meet representatives of these study abroad program providers as well as those from international universities like the University of Swansea in Wales and Monash University in Australia.

Returning UI study abroad students and advisers will also be present to answer questions and share their experiences. Students can also register for door prizes. Elizabeth Wildenberg de Hernandez, program coordinator and study abroad adviser, emphasizes that this fair is for all students regardless of their course of study at the UI or their nationality, and there are programs for graduates and undergraduates alike. Information on discipline-focused programs in engineering, business, nursing, liberal arts and sciences, public and environmental health and many more will be available at the 54 tables set up at the IMU.

"Our programs are of varied duration. Students can opt between summer and short-term courses or semester and academic year programs. This gives students more options and greater flexibility," said Wildenberg. "We have students going abroad during winter break and making the most of their time off from classes at Iowa in a new place with new people."

Some programs also work internships into their international curricula and offer students an opportunity unlike those available in the U.S.

Tina Sherwood, an UI senior, has spent two summers studying and working abroad in addition to being a peer adviser the Office for Study Abroad. She went to London for a summer program in theater and stayed in the U.K. to complete the first of two summers interning in Edinburgh last year.

"Studying abroad helped clarify my career goals. Working as an intern at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the biggest theater festival in the world, was one of the greatest experiences of my life," Sherwood said.

The cost of attending study abroad programs should not be a deterring factor for students, Wildenberg says. The Office of Student Financial Aid works closely with the Office for Study Abroad, and there are numerous undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships available for UI students. All financial aid and scholarships students regularly receive at UI is transferable (and sometimes increased) for students studying abroad. More information on scholarship/grant opportunities for programs sponsored by UI, other U.S. universities and foreign universities can be obtained at the scholarship information table at the fair.

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, security for American students in other nations has been a cause of concern, said Janis Perkins, director of The UI Office for Study Abroad.

"Last year we had many parents calling up after Sept. 11, worried about their children's safety, but the initial fear dissipated by February," Perkins said. "Since then students and parents have taken the initiative to know more about other cultures and this shows in the increased number of students going to study abroad this year."

The Office for Study Abroad anticipates the number of students enrolling in various programs to be well over 750 this year, up from 694 in the previous year.

"I believe study abroad programs give students the opportunity to see the world, to realize how they fit into it and, hence, understand themselves better," Sherwood said.

For more information about study abroad opportunities or to make an appointment with a study abroad advisor, contact the Office for Study Abroad,120 International Center, (319) 335-0353. More information on specific programs or countries is available in the Study Abroad Resource Room, 126 International Center, which is staffed by peer advisors on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or visit the study abroad web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiabroad

The UI Office for Study Abroad is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree and 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 training.

EDITOR'S NOTE: To arrange an interview with a student who has studied abroad, call Lois Gray at (319) 335-2026.