Get off campus and into the world: IPI hosts study abroad fair

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
September 25, 2012

“Welcome to UAF!  Now go away.”

That was one of the first things I remember being told during my freshman orientation by Channon Price, a physics professor currently on sabbatical in South Africa, who was the director of the Honor’s Program at the time.  He was talking about UAF’s study abroad and exchange programs.

International Programs and Initiatives at UAF gives you 51 different countries to choose from for study abroad.  The dedicated staff of IPI will work tirelessly with you to make sure you’re going in to the right place and you’ll get the credits you need.

In fact, if you end up in the wrong place they’ll work with you to get you to the right one.

Last fall, I set out for what I thought was going to be a year in Florence, Italy.  I packed a suitcase full of my favorite sweatshirts and some misguided expectations and landed in the middle of a large metropolitan European city.  It didn’t take long to realize the bustling, partying, city life wasn’t for me, and I began to look around for other options.

Erica Iseri, UAF’s adviser for exchange and Study Abroad, and International Studies Abroad, the program I studied, with were both helpful and understanding when I told them in November that I wanted to go to Amman, Jordan seemingly out-of-the-blue.

My semester in Jordan was all the things I wanted it to be and none of the things I imagined it would be and an amazing four months.  Which is how all study abroad experiences should be.

It’s a common misconception that the only people that can study abroad are aimless liberal arts majors or people with a ton of money to blow.  Neither are true.

IPI has programs that cater to UAF’s large engineering population in countries such as China or Norway.  No matter what you’re studying, it’s possible to find a program somewhere in the world where you won’t fall too far behind in your degree.

It’s true that traveling is expensive.  However, UAF can help here as well.  If you embark on an exchange program, you can still pay UAF tuition.  This doesn’t account for room and board, plane tickets and other expenditures but it helps. Most study abroad programs, on the other hand, come with one sticker price that includes tuition, housing and excursions.  It can be shocking all at once but once broken down it ends up being a little bit more reasonable.  You can also use UAF scholarships to pay for study abroad and exchange programs.  So seriously, start applying because it’s worth it.

Getting off of campus and into the rest of the world gives you a much better idea of what truly interests you.

IPI is hosting the study abroad fair on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from noon to 4 p.m. in the Wood Center.  Different study abroad programs, IPI staff and Peace Corps staff will be there to answer questions about living abroad.  It’s at least worth it to check it out.

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