Want to travel around the world for a semester? Or take classes at an international university? You’re in the right place.
Countries from all around the world took over the Student Center on Wednesday, Feb. 10. From Australia, Japan, England and so many more, students explored their options at the Study Away Fair in the Student Center.
Students who have traveled to various international universities set up tables, posters and spoke with prospective students about traveling for a semester abroad.
Keene State College student representatives who spent their semesters at more than 18 destinations provided information, insight and advice to those who showed interest in traveling through the Global Education Office (GEO).
KSC senior and film major Alex Scholz-Karabakakis studied in Japan during his sophomore year.
Karabakakis said his mother had always told him he needed to study abroad and as soon as he saw the study away posters hung in Morrison Hall during his first year at KSC, he knew he needed to to take advantage of the amazing opportunity.
“Going to Japan through Kansai Gaidai [University] and especially through GEO was especially accessible for me.
They definitely try to streamline the process [to make it] as easy as possible.
The application process for students who want to study abroad is literally one or two pages and it takes like twenty minutes to do…It wasn’t as hard as it was time consuming.
It’s something you just have to plan ahead of time and well in advance,” Karabakakis said.
When it comes to the language, Karabakakis said it was hard to get around at first, especially in international airports.
He said he immediately met up with friends who were traveling to the same university and they all learned katakana, the Japanese basic alphabet.
He said this enabled him to read all Japanese street signs and locations in bus stations, which was immediately helpful when it came to getting around.
The excitement of studying away is something that fills every student before they embark on a new journey.
KSC senior and holocaust and genocide studies major Emily Robinson said she had studied away at sea in a gap year between high school and college, but decided to travel to England in college as well.
She said it’s important for students to realize that there is a bigger world out there and that Keene is only a small part of it.
“You can talk about it all day long and you can get excited about it, but once you get there it’s going to be totally different than what you expected and that can be good and bad, and I think both are important,” Robinson said.
When it comes to the skills she learned while away, the list was endless.
“I got really good at mapping, understanding how to travel, how to get to and from a place, not getting scared of getting lost or being by myself, exploring new things and really spending the most amount of time that I can outside of my room and trying to immerse myself. If you don’t do it, you’re not necessarily losing out, but if you’re not studying abroad, you’re not necessarily expanding your horizons.” Robinson shared.
Many students have aspirations of studying away in foreign countries during their time at college. KSC sophomore and early childhood education and English double major Emma Ayotte said she was interested in studying away.
She spent six months in Japan last year and hopes to study somewhere in Europe next.
“I hope I can gain a better understanding of other lifestyles. I hope I can learn new points of view or opinions that I’ve never heard. I hope I can gain some really cool stories,” Ayotte said. She continued, “I think studying abroad is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to travel. I might not have the same opportunities later in life, so I’m definitely going to take advantage of them now.”
Ayotte said she also feels as though studying abroad gives people the opportunity to make new friends, grow and mature as a person, as well as take part in an experience that may help people in their future career.
Jessica Ricard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org