Israel, France, Spain and the Dominican Republic are just a few of the places Shippensburg University students have visited. The Study Abroad Fair on Thursday, Feb. 5, showcased these countries and the students’ experiences.
Walking onto the first floor of the Ceddia Union Building, there was a small semi-circle of tables and chairs with international flags and colorful tablecloths, signifying that each of the students had visited different countries. There were even poster boards explaining a little about some of the countries — but these were not the only things at the fair.
Mary Burnett, associate dean of students and director of international programs, explained that while there was a larger fair in the fall that included vendors and organizations that worked with SU, this fair solely consisted of SU students who had traveled abroad.
Each of the students at the different tables had many unique experiences and advice to offer the students. Jorge Santiago, who had traveled to Barcelona, Spain, said that one of the parts of his trips that stuck out to him was the fact that he was surrounded by many different cultures.
Since he went to an international school, Santiago met other students from all over the globe. He joked about how he got to ask all the “stupid American questions,” but also realized how much more of the world is out there.
Breana Sumpter, who traveled to the Dominican Republic, recounted that she barely used her phone the entire time she was there and reflected how “refreshing” it was to not be attached to her phone. Since there was not a constant Wi-Fi connection, Sumpter would leave her house without her phone many times because there was no need to take it.
But there were also stories of what can go wrong when studying abroad. Lillian Berish, who traveled to France, lost her passport in Ireland. She explained that she had to stay there a few extra days and said, “I looked homeless” by the time she got back to school.
Other students explained that things are not always how the media portrays them. Stephen Spinder, who traveled to Israel, said that the people there were friendly and open. He said that many times he would see complete strangers strike up a conversation on the sidewalk.
The Study Abroad Fair was seen as a success to those running it — many hoping that more students will consider studying abroad.