Sep 252003
 
Authors: Alicia Leonardi

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File under: new/campus

For the first time Wednesday, some CSU students saw what a cross-continental experience looked like without even leaving campus.

The Study Abroad Fair marked CSU’s first “Images of the World” photo contest, where students viewed more than 70 photos that had been submitted by students from their studies around the world.

“We like to have photos to use for marketing and it encourages other students to study abroad when they can see what other students experienced,” said Karyn Sweeney, study abroad adviser and fair coordinator.

Also new to study abroad this year is the “After the Adventure” essay contest. First-, second- and third-place entries were posted at the fair and the other entries should be available soon through the Office of International Programs’ Web site.

The international students at the fair, such as Nathan Watchorm from Australia, helped give CSU students perspective of what life is like in other countries.

“I learned a little bit about the nightlife and stuff you don’t usually hear from teachers,” said Logan Manthos, a junior apparel design major.

Watchorn, a student from the University of Tasmania, said he found the fair to be well-organized and very representative of all the different programs available.

“I’m impressed by how much you push study abroad as part of your curriculum too,” he said.

Not everyone shared Watchorn’s positive view of the fair. Sophomore business major Tiffany Nation, thought the fair was confusing and believes she will have to figure out her study abroad plans later by calling the contact numbers in some of the brochures she picked up.

“There were too many booths and too many people,” Nation said. “I didn’t really know what I was doing so I just walked around.”

In addition to information on CSU programs, the fair also hosted third-party study abroad programs in which students apply directly to the foreign school they want to attend. Student Financial Services, the Career Center, Hartshorn Health Center and various volunteer programs were at the fair to provide students with a wide range of opportunities before they leave.

“If anyone is paying to go to college they should, above all things, try to study abroad,” said Noah Sodano, a CSU art and computer science major who spent the spring of 2002 in Italy. “It opens your mind and opens your perspective of the world in ways you can’t do when you are in this country.”

Senior Brett Swanson, who spent last spring studying abroad in London, said his travels around Europe to places such as Italy were the highlight of his semester abroad.

“One of the great things about London is that it is a hub for everywhere else,” Swanson said.

Though his most memorable experiences abroad came from travel, Swanson said the overall atmosphere of London was striking enough in itself.

“In London there is so much visual stimulation it makes everything exciting,” Swanson said. “It’s a completely different universe. Here I walk five minutes to class. There I’d walk to the train, ride for 45 minutes then get off and walk past churches, English gardens and those cool buses before going to class.”

Mike Wagstaff, a study abroad peer advisor who spent a semester in Australia, said the heightened awareness of cultural differences and individual growth experienced by Sodano and Swanson are common to study abroad participants.

“You go and you don’t have any of your friends and family there so there are no expectations to be a certain way,” Wagstaff said. “You can do whatever you want and it is more representative of your true self.”

Wagstaff, as well as other peer advisors at the fair, are available Monday through Friday at Laurel Hall to help direct students and answer questions. CSU’s next Study Abroad Fair will be Feb.5, 2004.

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