Study abroad fair helps students ‘get out of Provo’

Students visit booths at the Study Abroad Fair to find out more information about international opportunities.
Students visit booths at the Study Abroad Fair to find out more information about international opportunities. (Gianluca Cuestas)

The international study abroad fair was held Tuesday, Jan. 17 to introduce students to opportunities outside of Provo.

“Get out of Provo” is a phrase the Kennedy Center likes to use to inspire students to broaden their horizons, according to Event Coordinator Kelly Blazian. The fair hosted 50 booths and over 60 study abroad programs, scholarship and funding information, and a raffle for free airfare.

Funding a study abroad program can be a concern for students. The study abroad fair aims to showcase various funding opportunities to students, as well as the varying program costs. These costs differ depending on what type of study abroad a student chooses and where he or she chooses to go.

BYU offers traditional study abroads, direct enrollments, internships and field school.

“Scholarship deadlines are scattered throughout the year, but you have to pay attention to the two dominant seasons for application — one of which is right now,” said Associate Director of National Scholarships, Fellowships and Programs Fred Pinnegar.

Pinnegar emphasized the vast and diverse scholarship opportunities that are available to students who seek them out. He said students do need to be weary of deadlines, but there is always time to apply.

“I always say to people who think they just missed the deadline — no, you’re just 364 days early,” Pinnegar said.

Once students realize studying abroad is financially possible, they can explore the various study abroad programs and find the right fit.

Martha Peacock is an art history professor specializing in renaissance and baroque art. Her husband, Greg Peacock, previously taught political science and international relations at BYU. Together, they have directed numerous study abroad programs since 1994.

“One of the virtues of study abroad if it’s done right is that it can be a truly experiential type of learning. It’s not the same type of learning as sitting in a classroom, and taking tests and reading textbooks,” Greg Peacock said. “There is something about engaging in a culture as deeply as you can while you’re there — it’s really life-changing,”

The Peacocks will be leading an eight-week study abroad in Spring 2018 and are already advertising the trip. The program is a grand tour of art history in Europe. Students will visit Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France and England.

“Studying abroad is a vital thing. Students need to get out and travel because that type of learning is hard to get on campus,” Greg Peacock said.

While BYU offers a wide variety of traditional study abroad programs, another unique experience offered through the Kennedy Center is international internships.

The Malawi International Development internship is a three-month program in which students live in a village outside of Malawi and work on projects designed specifically for his or her major.

“I went last summer and was working on research while facilitating,” said BYU political science major Stephen Hunsaker said. “I’ll be going back this summer to do an actual evaluation for the nonprofit organization I worked with last summer.”

Hunsaker, who is also minoring in international development and art, is the program’s student facilitator and is an advocate for doing internships abroad as an undergraduate student.

“The best part of the internship was the research I obtained from it,” Hunsaker said. “Having the opportunity to research — and publish that research — as an undergrad is incredible.”

The study abroad fair allows students to become acquainted with their options each semester, whether it is an internship, study abroad or direct enrollment. For more information about study abroad opportunities, students can visit the International Study Programs website.

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