At Study Abroad Fair, previous travelers advise new study abroad students

Marlys Pilarski in Australia where she studied abroad during spring 2017. Photo courtesy of Sarah Hill.

Marlys Pilarski in Australia where she studied abroad during spring 2017. Photo courtesy of Sarah Hill.

The annual Study Abroad Fair was held on Thursday, Sept 21. The event was hosted by UMD Office of International Programs and Services (IPS). Affiliated programs such as American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), Academic Studies Abroad (ASA) and International Study Abroad (ISA) were at the fair, offering a variety of different study abroad opportunities.

“There are so many different places you can go, so many different classes you can take,” UMD senior Rachel Larson said. “Go out of your comfort zone. You never know what something is until you do it.”

Stephanie Bartsch, graphic and multimedia communication associate at IPS, said that there are plenty of resources for students who are interested in studying abroad, but that it takes some planning.

“We want to make sure that when you go you are taking courses that count towards your degree,” Bartsch said.

UMD senior Maggie Carey planned carefully for her semester abroad in Ireland, and ended up with an early graduation date.

“I saved some of the liberal education credits that I needed to take for over there, and now I’m back and graduating this fall instead of next spring,” Carey said. “Do it! At all costs, do it! There’s no better time to do it than right now.”

Levi Staine, a senior who went on a short-term program to China, agreed that his study abroad experience was short, but worth it.

“With the short-term program you want to squeeze everything as fast as you can,” Staine said. “When you’re at the end, you feel like you were there longer than you were.”

Bartsch said that there are financial aid and scholarships available for any program. She said that their office awards over $80,000 per year to both long-term and short-term programs.

Program costs vary,” Bartsch said. “It really depends on location. We have some that are right on par with what it costs to attend UMD, and some cost a bit more, depending on location cost of living, plane tickets and all that type of stuff. But we certainly are here to find something that fits for you and your major.”

Junior Marlys Pilarski said that there is indeed much to prepare for, but there is no need to worry.

“If you are looking to study abroad, you shouldn’t be deterred by what seems intense to have to prepare, because it’s all going to be worth it,” Marlys said.

The Office of International Programs and Services is located right across from TCF Bank and is open for anyone who has questions about studying abroad.

NewsIdun Rasmussen