Studying abroad is what sets students apart in the job-seeking process, according to WSU education abroad advisers and staff. The WSU Education Abroad office held their annual spring Education Abroad Fair on Tuesday in the Compton Union Building (CUB).
“When looking for jobs, there are going to be a lot of students with the same major and background that you have,” Education Abroad Advisor Hannah said. “Studying abroad gives students an edge. It lets employers know that you are putting yourself out there and are more globally aware.”
Representatives of different programs like the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), to Semester at Sea, to the faculty-led programs at WSU were present from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first and ground floors of the CUB, informing students of the countries they could visit around the world.
“We try to hold the education abroad fairs toward the beginning of fall and spring semesters,” Nevitt said. “During this time, students are thinking about where they are in their major and can plan ahead for where and when they want to go.”
The length of the study abroad opportunities range from a couple weeks, like for some of the faculty-led programs, to semester or even year-long programs during the year, Nevitt said.
Students have the opportunity to study in more than 80 countries. Each program offers different opportunities for study and experience.
Lisa Davies, vice president and director of university relations at AIFS, said they offer bonus packages to some of their programs, including a chance to stop in London for three days for students traveling to Western Europe or 11 days in Fiji for those traveling to Australia or New Zealand. AIFS is one of the oldest study abroad programs and is one of the many programs offering students a chance to study abroad.
Semester at Sea offers students a chance to board a ship and travel to several different countries around the globe instead of just one, said Cindy Zomchek, the assistant director of outreach for Semester at Sea.
For students looking for more of a structured study abroad experience, they should try the faculty-led programs offered through WSU, said Anjie Bertramson, education abroad advisor and faculty-led coordinator.
Some programs also offer internships largely based on major preference, Nevitt said.
James Daltas, a senior wine and business management major, and Emmanuel Aldana, a senior societal science major, both chose to participate in the “Food and Wine in Italy” experience. The program offers students a chance to work in an Italian kitchen with a professional chef and learn how to properly evaluate wine.
“I still use the skills I learned today,” Aldana said.
For students looking for a way to pay for their tuition and other costs, they should apply for the scholarships offered through the education abroad office, Nevitt said.
“The education abroad office works with the WSU office of financial aid to determine the amount of aid a student receives,” she said.
The amount of aid a student receives is based largely on the program cost of attendance and tuition, she said. Students may be eligible for additional grants based on larger costs of attendance.
Students are also encouraged to check with their departments for additional scholarships, Nevitt said.
On average, roughly 750 WSU students study abroad each year, she said.
“When students study abroad, they create connections, having the ability to network in another country,” Nevitt said. “Students learn about the culture’s business practices and understand cultural greetings.”
Nevitt said it is more than just a language opportunity.
“It is a whole cultural experience,” she said.