While the COVID-19 pandemic affects our entire world, including international travel, that does not mean Colorado State University students should stop looking at and evaluating future academic study abroad opportunities. Learning in other countries will be possible again and students will need to prepare for those experiences. Even if the timeframe must be adaptable depending on the pandemic, preparation is key for students who want to study or do research overseas.
The first CSU Virtual Education Abroad Fair will take place Sept, 1-4, 2020, online through Zoom and videos. The fair will cover education abroad basics like financial aid and navigating the program search feature on the website, and help students explore their options by area of study, world region, or programs run by affiliate partners. Interested students can register to attend sessions via the Office of International Programs website.
“The Education Abroad team has crafted a diverse list of programs abroad that will challenge and support every student, from first-time travelers to experienced international explorers,” according to Laura Thornes, director of education abroad at CSU.
Expanded fair opportunities
The Education Abroad Fair, sponsored annually by International Programs, has historically drawn interest from over 1,000 CSU students during the one-day in-person event. The four-day virtual fair will provide an excellent opportunity for students to explore the breadth of study, research, intern, and service-learning options available to them on CSU-sponsored programs, CSU faculty and staff-led programs, the Peace Corps, and programs offered through third-party organizations.
Students will have the opportunity to hear from representatives from a variety of organizations, and offices that provide support for international experiences (such as the CSU Health Network, Office of Financial Aid, and others). In addition, there will be information on Education Abroad scholarship opportunities that can help defray the costs associated with going overseas.
The virtual fair is the important first step many students take on their education abroad journey that can have lifelong impacts. Through Education Abroad, students meet new friends, have eye-opening experiences, learn or improve language skills, and so much more. Such experiences assist students by emphasizing flexibility and critical thinking skills, which will help them adapt and respond to changing professional spaces and a more globally connected world.
The benefits don’t stop when they from their experience, either – studies have shown that CSU students who participate in education abroad experiences graduate at higher rates than those who don’t study abroad.
“Speaking from personal experience, going on a study abroad program is an experience that will change your life forever,” said Kathleen Fairfax, CSU Vice Provost for International Affairs.