Study Abroad Fair inspires future travels

Gracie Awalt

Students rotated from China to India to France — all booths found on Gregory Plaza — at the Study Abroad Fair on Wednesday.

Sponsored by the International Office, the Study Abroad Fair provided attendees with information about scholarship options and opportunities to talk to former study abroad students.

The University has more than 400 approved study abroad programs for students to choose from, said Tanya Hernandez, curriculum integration and special projects coordinator for the International Office.

“Studying abroad gives students an opportunity to understand parts of the world that go beyond what you can read in a book,” Hernandez said. “In the real world, a lot of learning happens outside of the classroom. You can expand your sense of identity and redefine who you thought you were and who you want to be.”

The 2017 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange ranked UT fourth nationally in total students sent abroad last year, with the total being 3,019. For students who don’t know where they want to study or are worried about financing a trip abroad, Hernandez said well-trained peer advisors work nine-to-five for students who have questions about the experience.

“Come talk to us,” Hernandez said. “A lot of students figure out pretty late that they want to go abroad. With enough time, we can make anything work.”

Biomedical engineering senior Erin Quigley said she spent a Maymester in Barcelona studying health issues in developing countries in 2015. She worked a table at the fair and said her experiences made her realize how important studying abroad is, and was inspired to inform others about the benefits.

“I enjoyed going out of my comfort zone,” Quigley said. “When I went to Barcelona, I had never traveled abroad before. Here at UT, it’s hard to get close with a professor when the lecture hall is full of 200 people. I had a lot of one-on-one interactions with my professor during that Maymester.”

Biochemistry freshman Ally Norton said she wants to take advantage of her seven years of Chinese language education to study medicine in China.

“I would love to go back and be a part of the culture again,” Norton said. “I am excited to learn new things in a new environment. It is easy to feel like you are chained to campus. After attending this Study Abroad Fair, I know that I am open to a world of options.”