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The world is your classroom

September 15, 2011

The NIU Study Abroad Office will hold its 19th annual Study Abroad Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center.

All students who would like to learn more about the possibility of studying abroad are invited to attend. Students will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from study abroad programs in more than 75 countries.

The representatives include NIU faculty members who direct short-term study abroad programs worldwide and agents from independent study abroad organizations. All NIU study abroad programs make it possible for students to earn NIU academic credit while participating in a program abroad.

NIU Student Financial Aid Office staff members will be present to answer questions about financial aid and to provide information on grants, loans and scholarships. Representatives from NIU’s Career Services, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Center for Black Studies, Latino Resource Center, Health Services and other campus departments also will be on hand.

“The fair is a chance for students to scope out all the many study abroad opportunities NIU has to offer in one great setting,” said Anne Seitzinger, director of the Study Abroad Office. “We want to reach all of those students who either don’t know about NIU’s spectacular study abroad opportunities or those who have considered study abroad but thought it was impossible because of finances, course availability or perhaps just plain fear of the unknown.

“At the fair, students will be able to talk to Study Abroad Office staff, NIU faculty program directors and study abroad providers. Everyone will be eager to help students identify programs that best fit their majors or career interests.”

Dozens of options are available that allow students to find programs in their major areas of study, or they can explore options to earn credit toward NIU general elective requirements.

Photo of a suitcase with international travel stickers“Some students prefer a summer, semester or academic year program that offers a variety of courses,  such as programs in Thailand offered by GlobaLinks, programs in Germany offered by CEA Global Education, or programs in Costa Rica offered by International Studies Abroad, just to name a few,” Seitzinger said.

“Others might want to focus on a specific topic, such as exploring information systems in China, West African civilization in Ghana, or Spanish language and culture in Toledo, Spain. In the Vision 2020 Initiative, NIU identified study abroad as one of the areas where students can experience ‘value-added’ learning and ‘engage is real world projects.’ ”

The fair will feature voting for the Study Abroad Office Photo Contest. All attending will receive free goodie bags and have a chance to win one of several excellent raffle prizes. Raffle and photo contest prizes were donated by program providers, area businesses and offices on campus.

Each year, the Study Abroad Fair attracts more than 600 NIU students seeking academic experiences outside the United States. The NIU Study Abroad Office helped more than 350 students to participate in such programs this past year.

“Students who attend the fair will learn about programs and financial aid and loan options that will allow study abroad to become a reality,” Seitzinger said. “Students can also talk to study abroad alumni who will provide first-hand information and offer guidance and encouragement.”

The fair is for faculty and staff as well as students.

“Faculty members will learn how creating their own study abroad programs can benefit them both personally and professionally,” Seitzinger said. “Directing an NIU study abroad program provides faculty-development opportunities as well as the means for internationalizing on-campus courses. We hope more faculty will consider attending this year’s fair.”

Students who aren’t able to attend the fair can plan to attend an informative presentation and question-and-answer session titled, “Study Abroad 101: First Steps to Study Abroad.” Study Abroad 101 content is the same at each session, so students need only attend once to learn the basics. The presentation will be offered every Wednesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the NIU Study Abroad Office.

Both the Study Abroad Fair and Study Abroad 101 are free and open to the public. More information is available online, via email at [email protected] or by calling (815) 753-0700.