Study abroad fair exhibits globe-trotting options for students

By Shannon Bedell, Eagle Life Writer


Photo contributed by Cameron Maleki This cathedral, located in Salamanca, Spain, was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries and can be seen by students on various study abroad trips.
Photo contributed by Cameron Maleki
This cathedral, located in Salamanca, Spain, was constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries and can be seen by students on various study abroad trips.

From Cheney to Japan, Costa Rica or Spain, the sky is the limit when it comes to opportunities for EWU students to study abroad.

On Oct. 21, students got the chance to explore different study abroad options, such as international internships, study abroad scholarships and overseas destinations offered through EWU at the bi-annual study abroad fair sponsored by the Office of Global Initiatives.

“[Studying abroad] gives [students] an international perspective, which can help them be more rounded global citizens and potentially give them a leg-up in the job market,” said Elena Axton, EWU Study Abroad Adviser.

EWU has 18 students abroad this quarter in 12 countries on five different continents. In the last two years, EWU has had over 100 students go abroad, half of whom went through a faculty-led program and the other half on an individual experience.

Staff at the Office of Global Initiatives assist students in finding suitable study abroad programs and accompanying financial needs. They also help international students who are studying at EWU. Many students may not know that regular financial aid received through EWU can be used for study-abroad expenses.

“[Students] can use any regular aid they receive: Stafford loan, Perkins loan, Pell grant, all of that is still applicable to their study abroad. A student is registered in a study abroad placeholder course at Eastern, so they are still full-time students here and eligible to receive their aid,” said Axton.

The Office of Global Initiatives can help connect students to many different types of programs. Some students might choose to go for several quarters, while others can only commit to short term programs that fall during summer vacation.

One type of program is a third-party study abroad trip. Some of the third-party organizations that work with Eastern are the Center for International Studies, Academic Programs International and Cultural Experiences Abroad.

“I studied in Amman, Jordan for a semester because I had ties to international students at Eastern who spoke Arabic. This was a third-party program called the School for International Trading,” said Paige Webley, study abroad assistant in the Office of Global Initiatives and EWU graduate in International Affairs.

For students looking to do a short term trip, faculty-led trips might be the best option. One faculty-led trip is Professor José García Sánchez’s trip to Salamanca, Spain which is in its 11th year. The trip is a three-week Spanish intensive program at Colegio Delibes. The trip allows students with different skillsets of the Spanish language to immerse themselves in the culture while earning five credits of Spanish.

“There are no requirements set. Most of the students have studied at least a quarter or have some background with Spanish. Students take a proficiency test and take class Monday through Friday for four hours,” said García Sánchez.

One of the students on the 2013 trip was Cameron Maleki, a junior majoring in Spanish. Maleki, like most of the students who went, has been learning Spanish all his life.

“This was kind of like the big gift of what it all led up to. We learned a lot through the experience,” said Maleki.

Another faculty-led opportunity is the summer program in Nice, France. Similar to the trip to Salamanca, students complete classes Monday through Friday and have the weekends available to explore the area and go on excursions.

“I am a French minor and this program is really inexpensive and a blast,” said Scotty Reed, a study abroad student worker and pre-law student.

EWU is home to more than 600 international students who have chosen the United States for their study abroad destination.

One student that is currently attending EWU is Stephanie Diller from University of Passau, Germany. Stephanie is primarily studying English and psychology in preparation to return to Germany where she will teach English.

“I previously came to the United States as an au pair, but I didn’t get to experience people my age, so I decided I needed to come to college to be around people my age. From studying over here, I know that I can go back and teach English and have the experience that I have been to the United States and have cultural insight for my students,” said Diller.