Education Abroad Fair promotes affordable, practical programs

Cat DeLaura

Texas Global Education Abroad hosted its biannual informational fair outside Gregory Gymnasium on Wednesday.

The fair happens every semester and is designed to provide a space for students to learn about various opportunities to work or study internationally. About 4,000 students — 8% of the UT student body — study abroad every school year, according to the Texas Global Education Abroad website. 

Amy Exah, assistant director for faculty-led programs, said most students are deterred from studying abroad by the cost of the programs and the misconception that they will be unable to complete their degree on time.

“All our work surrounds removing barriers to study abroad, making sure that we offer course work that really fulfills students’ degree plans and removing financial barriers,” Exah said. “We try to create lower cost programming, and we offer a lot of scholarships.”

In total, over $1 million in scholarships are given away for studying abroad, according to the Texas Global Education Abroad website. However, alternative opportunities such as the Peace Corps can also be affordable options for students wanting to study abroad, UT Peace Corps recruiter Jacqui Hobbs said. The Peace Corps and the International Internship Program were also represented at the Education Abroad Fair. The Peace Corps’ two-year program allows college graduates to live and work abroad with all expenses paid, according to the Peace Corps’ website.

A group of student alumni from study abroad programs also offer walk-in peer advising in the Texas Global Education Abroad office throughout the year.

International internships are much cheaper than study abroad programs and lend a competitive edge after graduation, said Sydney Jones, a representative for the International Internship Program.

“Internships offer a much higher chance of cultural immersion,” said Jones. “When you study abroad, you end up being mostly with study abroad students or international students. Whereas if you’re working in a city, you might be the only intern at that organization, and so day-to-day interaction with locals is just a much higher possibility.” 

Theater sophomore Zach Martin said he hopes to study abroad during his time at UT and has worried about finding a program that fit his needs and interests. 

“It does seem like there’s a lot of opportunity to develop something specifically for what I want,” Martin said. “But I would definitely need to get money from the University or another outside scholarship.”