Sept. 21, 2015
A chance to study in almost every continent is available to UCCS students with opportunities provided by the Global Engagement Office.
In an attempt to raise awareness for studying abroad, the annual Education Abroad Fair provided information booths featuring study abroad programs in the Upper Plaza on Sept. 15.
Freshmen business major Christopher Tan believes it’s important to experience other cultures to see how people live their lives compared to the U.S.
“I was thinking of studying abroad for more experience and adventure. I like going out there instead of just staying here. I grew up in (Colorado) Springs. After a while it does get kind of repetitive.”
Tan last travelled in 2010 to the Philippines.
“I’m open to anything. I’m not really intimidated by change. I’m open to change. I think because it’s a major transition, a lot of people here have never left the United States.”
The study abroad programs at the fair are offered for every major, according to Global Engagement Office director Mandy Hansen.
“Last year about 80 students studied abroad, that number is expected to increase because we’re all aware of the dynamic place we live in,” she said.
“Students are really interested in language and learning about culture and getting that experience and setting themselves apart for the competitive workplace.”
Hansen added that at only three years old, international education and the idea of a centralized office for GEO is new at UCCS.
One of the education abroad programs at the fair was Sol Education Abroad, founded by director Esteban Lardone.
Lardone said students can travel to Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and Spain through SEA and will receive a $100 scholarship for applying.
“This is the reason we are affiliated with the school, the programs are very affordable,” Lardone said.
“Everything is included. It includes tuition, room and board, medical insurance, excursion, cultural activity, community service, 24-hour director support. They live with a host family, the host father or mother makes them food.”
For Lardone’s program, the number of students enrolled has been low in the past.
“The perception of Mexico is finally changing in the United States. All the drug related issues are on the border, with California and Texas. Mexico is 2,000 miles long,” he said. “It would be like saying to somebody, my friend was robbed in Detroit, don’t go to San Francisco.”
Lardone added that while students can study abroad every short and long term during the school year, many students choose to attend during the summer or for a short time because they’re scared.
“For many of our American students this is the first time they travelled along. For a lot of them it’s a really big experience.”
“The biggest regret college students have is not studying abroad. It’s cheaper to come on our program than it is to take classes here. Most students will never have the opportunity ever again to have a chance to go to another place to learn about another culture.”
Hansen said since freshmen move-in there has been high interest from students in the GEO.
“We’re looking at being able to have a full-time education abroad advisor to help promote these opportunities,” she said. “There’s even a lot of interest among faculty that are interested in the faculty directed program.”
The GEO is located at Copper House 9202 in Summit Village. The office can be reached at 719-255-5018 and [email protected].
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