MU showcases study abroad programs

The Study Abroad Fair featured more than 60 overseas programs.
Freshman Travis Worsowicz asks volunteer Melissa Freeman questions about a Japanese program during the Study Abroad Fair on Tuesday in Memorial Union. Freeman participated in the Japan program last summer.

Foreign flags, exotic music and photos of monuments worldwide filled Stotler Lounge on Tuesday, creating a blend of cultures as curious students flocked from one country's table to another.

The Study Abroad Team's 11th-annual Study Abroad Fair allowed students to talk to representatives from more than 20 partner programs from across the country in addition to people from MU's study abroad programs.

"This is our big showcase," study abroad adviser Patrick Parnell said. "We want to advertise the many options and programs MU has for students to study abroad."

One of MU's partner programs is Arcadia University, an establishment known for its range of programs across six continents.

"We've set up contacts with many schools in many different nations, so numerous schools here work with us to offer their students even more options for studying abroad," Arcadia University spokesman Todd Karr said. "Among the universities in the U.S. we work with, Mizzou is where one of our largest groups of students usually comes from."

Those who have experienced studying abroad were at the fair to answer questions and inform students considering the option.

"The best way to learn about a country is to immerse yourself in the culture," graduate student Jennifer Moore said. "Especially from the perspective of business, everything is becoming more international."

Moore traveled to Prague, Vienna, Italy, Spain, Ireland and numerous other countries through study abroad programs.

Many students choose to study in a country that speaks a language they are studying or a country that has to do with their heritage. Sophomore international business major Bridgette Reilly said in an e-mail both of these were factors in her decision about where to study.

"It is virtually impossible to learn a language without completely surrounding yourself with it," said Reilly, who will study in Bergamo, Italy, in the spring.

"My Italian heritage pinpointed the location of my study abroad and my choice to study the language in its entirety."

For many, studying abroad also offers a unique chance to travel the world.

"I chose to study abroad now because I feel that this is the only time I will be able to just pick up and move to Europe for a semester," Reilly said. "This is the only time in my life I can guarantee I won't have to plan my trip around my job or a family of my own."

A 2005 report by the International Center stated the percentage of the school's students that have studied abroad increased by 45 percent from 2000 to 2005, with 782 students total traveling overseas in the 2004-05 school year.

But in recent years, the declining value of the dollar in comparison to the Euro and British Pound has put stress on the pocketbooks of study abroad hopefuls. One British Pound is the equivalent of $1.75 and a Euro is worth $1.39, so trips to hotspots for extended periods of time could take a financial toll on students.

Despite the monetary hurdles, MU sends more than 1,000 to study abroad every year. The study abroad team's "big showcase" also continues to lure students seeking more knowledge about the programs in over 60 countries.

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