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International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
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Release: Immediate

Students can explore international opportunities at study abroad fair Sept. 22

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Students can learn about opportunities to study in countries ranging from Australia to Venezuela at an upcoming Study Abroad Fair. The fair will be Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) Ballroom, hosted by the University of Iowa Office for Study Abroad. The event is free and open to all students.

The fair will showcase the wide variety of study abroad programs available, with exhibits set up by both the UI Office for Study Abroad and other U.S. universities and agencies. About half of the 40 tables set up at the fair will promote UI study abroad programs. Students can pick up pamphlets and information on different programs and register for a variety of door prizes with an international theme. Organizers hope that students will take the time to explore study abroad destinations in a fun, convenient and informational atmosphere.

"This is like going window shopping, with the spectrum of study abroad experiences on display," says Janis Perkins, director of the Office for Study Abroad. "Student who come will be able to talk to students who have previously studied abroad as well as professional representatives of study abroad programs. They'll get a feel for the variety of programs that are available - the options academically, geographically and in terms of program structure and activities."

One of the main concerns for students is the cost involved in studying abroad, Perkins says. Study abroad staff hope to address these concerns at the fair by hosting exhibitors who offer a variety of short- and long-term programs with differing costs. They also will offer academic and financial advice, as well as health and safety information.

"Studying abroad is often possible for students who are sure that they can't afford it. That's one of the messages that we really want to get out to students," Perkins says. "Many of our study abroad programs cost very little more than a semester, academic year or a summer at the University of Iowa, and students are able to apply any financial aid for which they're eligible toward the costs of participating in a study abroad program.''

Many students also worry that their credits from studying abroad won't count toward their academic degree or that the time away will cause them to have to spend an extra semester or year at the University of Iowa.

"Any carefully planned study abroad experience can fit very neatly into a student's curriculum. If students plan carefully and select the right program and choose the right courses in that program, it won't slow them down," Perkins emphasizes. "Study abroad should be seen as an integral part of a student's academic program - not as time away from the university."

Studies have shown that students who study abroad are often more desirable candidates to businesses and companies when hiring in an increasingly competitive global job market, according to Deanne Hurst, director of the Business and Liberal Arts Placement Office on the UI campus.

English and Spanish speaking countries top the list of study abroad destinations, Perkins says.

"Overall, the largest number of students go to western European countries," Perkins says, "although we're seeing a gradual shift away from the traditional study abroad sites to locations such as Africa and Latin America and Asia, and we're certainly encouraging students to look at the entire globe."

Approximately 560 University of Iowa students studied abroad in the 1997-98 academic year, according to Perkins. Approximately 1,650 students from 100 other countries study at the University of Iowa each year.

Students do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply to a study abroad program. However, all students must be in good academic standing to apply. For more information about the Study Abroad Fair, or to obtain information about studying abroad, contact the Office for Study Abroad at 335-0353.

The UI Office for Study Abroad administers study abroad programs and exchanges for the University of Iowa and provides advising services for students interested in an international educational experience. The office also administers several scholarship competitions for international study and research. The office is located at 28 International Center and is open to students from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The International Center is located at the end of Person Avenue in Iowa City, off of Park Road or by foot up the stairway from Riverside Drive.

The UI Office for Study Abroad is part of UI International Programs, which consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

(Editor's Note: If you would like to profile a student who has studied abroad, call Lois Gray at 335-2026.)