Study Abroad Fair coming Thursday

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Kimberly Johnson and Christine Ganevsky on a study abroad in Thailand. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Johnson.
Kimberly Johnson and Christine Ganevsky on a study abroad in Thailand. (Photo courtesy Kimberly Johnson)

The Kennedy Center is preparing to host a study abroad fair this Thursday for anyone interested in completing an international internship or studying abroad.

The study abroad fair, which will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include live music, free shaved ice, an international airfare giveaway and other prizes.

Ann vom Lehn, a senior from Victory, NY, studying English, went to Edinburgh, Scotland for a European internship with the Scottish Parliament. She is now a student facilitator for the program; as a facilitator, she is excited to participate in this year’s fair and help others learn about opportunities to get involved.

“I love the fair,” vom Lehn said. “Not only is it just going to be so much fun with the shaved ice and music, but there’s the opportunity to tour and see all the places that you can go and the things you can learn in those places.”

BYU’s study abroad programs have been very successful at finding opportunities for all types of students to gain experiences abroad, according to Lynn Elliott, director of the International Studies program. A record number of students have been able to participate in the study abroad program for two years in a row.

While Elliott still expects this year’s international programs to have a strong attendance, his office expects about one hundred fewer students to attend this year than did last year. While he says it’s hard to know the exact reason for the change in numbers, he believes the missionary age change may be playing a major factor. Global safety and security have played a much smaller role.

“While we hear reporters going on about wars and tragedies, it hasn’t really affected the day-to-day life of our students,” Elliott said. “We monitor these issues very closely, and we haven’t had to make any changes to our programs this year so far, and none of our programs are really any less safe than they were a year ago.”

Acknowledging the recession, Elliott has not seen the economy as affecting students’ attitudes towards the program.

Nyal Sewell and Kimberly Johnson in Rome. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Johnson.
Nyal Sewell and Kimberly Johnson on a study abroad in Rome. (Photo courtesy Kimberly Johnson)

“We haven’t really seen the economy being an issue,” Elliot said. “In fact, the last two years in a row, while the economy has been at its lowest, we have hit record years in attendance. … Going to college on campus is expensive; going international, in most cases, is not much more.”

Lauren Nordstrom, a second-year graduate student studying communications disorders, was able to participate in the study abroad program as an undergraduate, traveling to England, and would highly recommend it.

“It was the highlight of my undergraduate experience,” Nordstrom said. “It is a chance to see the world. You’re with a group, which makes it more affordable, but you’re also given enough freedom that you can feel like you have had a tailor-fit experience.”

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