Holmes Student Center to host the Study Abroad Fair


Julia Lamb, outreach coordinator at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (left), tells Brittany McGee, freshman actuarial science major (right), about the advantages of studying abroad in Southeast Asia.

By Kelly Marshall

Students will be able to meet with faculty members who direct the worldwide short-term study abroad programs at the Study Abroad Fair today.

The 20th annual fair will be held from noon to 6 p.m. in the Holmes Student Center’s gallery. This is the first time the fair will be held in the spring, as it is typically held in the fall. Students who are thinking about studying abroad are encouraged to attend.

“I’m really interested in doing study abroad, so I really look forward to the fair and what they have to offer,” said Andrea Brack, junior speech pathology major.

This spring’s fair will highlight at least 20 of NIU’s faculty directing programs. While earning academic credit through these programs, students also have the opportunity to use the programs to improve their self-awareness, broaden their global engagement and enhance their intercultural skills and resumes.

The study abroad fair will more than 300 programs presented from more than 80 countries. Students of all majors can study abroad. If a student is looking for their major’s program in a specific country and it’s unavailable, there are faculty-directed independent study options. This allows a student to work with a faculty director just as they would on campus.

Students can earn three to six credit hours during a summer semester abroad, while students who take a semester-long abroad program can earn up to 18 credit hours.

Financial aid representatives will be available for assistance at the fair, as well.

“If a student is also eligible for financial aid, it goes with them when they study abroad so they don’t abuse their financial assistance,” said

Lauren Mock, outreach and programming coordinator. “We also have some lower cost programs that are less expensive than a semester here at NIU. But if a student chooses a program that costs more than a semester, or their financial aid doesn’t cover it, we do have scholarships and grants to help students pay for their program.”

Alumni who studied abroad will be at the fair to help inform students on their experiences and help with concerns current students might have in regard to the programs.

“Students will benefit from the fair because its a great introduction to the different programs we offer, especially during the spring semester,” said Mock. “It will offer a lot of summer programs for students, so this a great opportunity to learn more about the options out there.”

Kristen Roenfanz, peer adviser and senior Spanish major, studied abroad in Spain from 2011 to 2012.

“It was the first time I left the country so it was a big deal, and a little nerve-racking,” said Roenfanz. “But I can say it was the best decision I made in my college career, if not my life. I definitely came back a bit more confident in my Spanish and just in general.”