Students braved the black ice on Jan. 24 to attend the International Study Programs Fair at the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, lured in by donuts, hot chocolate and the promise of adventure.
The Kennedy Center hosted its biannual exhibition of all BYU study abroad and internship abroad programs. Due to the winter weather, the event was held inside the Herald R. Clark building.
“We were happy that people braved the icy sidewalks to come to the fair,” said Suzy Bennett, the international study program registrar who planned the event.
The fair featured both educational opportunities and free giveaways. The participants enjoyed hot chocolate and donuts, but a drawing for prizes also drew crowds.The most coveted giveaway was the promise of free airfare to travel to a BYU study abroad program.
“I’d like to get the free airfare,” said Spencer Simpson, a psychology major from Utah. “That would be awesome. But the donuts and hot chocolate are definitely good, too.”
The winner of the free airfare was Robert Beck, a biology major from Hawaii. Although living in Hawaii has given him more airtime than most, Beck was a bit shocked by the sudden acquisition of riches.
Asked whether he had plans to study abroad, Beck said with a smile, “I do now.”
Other giveaways included Kennedy Center water bottles, mugs, t-shirts and the famed study abroad backpacks.
Students benefited from being able to speak with the program directors for all the study abroad programs and international internships in one place.
Jon Mahoney, a student from Canada studying linguistics and Russian, came to the fair to see what options for study abroad are available at BYU.
“I’m planning to go on a Moscow internship in fall,” Mahoney said.
Bennett began planning this event almost four months ago, and the Kennedy Center even made a music video to advertise it.
The event gave both students and program directors the opportunity to examine their options. Skjelse Smith, the assistant to the director of the Kennedy Center, was there to recruit for a new and relatively unknown program — a summer global diplomacy study abroad that tours the great cities of Europe.
This is only the program’s second run, but Smith said it now includes a new city: Marrakesh, Morocco.
“Morocco adds a draw because a lot of people have been to these other cities, but they haven’t been to Morocco,” Smith said.
Smith was confident that they could make their quota of students, though. She pointed with pride to her lengthy list of interested students.
“Directors were pleased with student interest,” said Lynn Elliott, the director of international study programs.
Although increasing student attendance is always a goal, Elliott called the fair a success, despite the weather.