Learning fair encourages going global

International Programs worked to display travel opportunities for students to gain cultural experience



Kim Tulman, left, director of university relations University Studies Abroad Consortium at WSU, shows WSU junior Mike Chan, center, and sophomore Chia-Chen Lee opportunities to study abroad Wednesday at the Global Learning Fair.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

The Office of International Programs coordinated a resource fair Wednesday to help students work through the challenges that come with study abroad by displaying various opportunities through the Global Learning Fair on the Glenn Terrell Mall.

Global Learning Adviser Mayra Villegas said she wanted to encourage more students to study abroad, as only about 3 percent of Cougs take this opportunity.

“It’s important to expose Cougs to being global citizens and why it’s so important nowadays,” she said. “We are all very interconnected now, so being a global citizen is just a part of daily life.”

At the Global Learning Fair, students could speak with representatives of over a dozen different study abroad programs. This included providers and other experts in financial aid and distinguished scholarships.

Junior business major Alice Johnson studied abroad in Florence, Italy, in spring 2018. She became a global learning peer adviser to help students navigate the study abroad system.

“I just want to bestow all of my knowledge and information onto the next study abroad students,” Johnson said. “Going abroad is quite the process and I went through so much when I was abroad. I just want to make sure everyone who goes after me has an as great if not better experience than I did.”

Getting started is what’s most intimidating for students going abroad, according to Villegas and Johnson. Many of the students don’t have the information they need to start this journey, Villegas said.

One of the first steps of the study abroad process is attending a Global Cougs 101 seminar led by the peer advisers. Johnson enjoys being a part of these seminars because she can help students in a non-intimidating situation.

“With the fair, we’re meeting students out in their comfort zone on the Terrell Mall,” she said. “We’ve brought together all these resources and opportunities so everyone can learn about going abroad.”

At the Global Learning Fair, most of the big colleges on campus were represented, including the Voiland College, the Murrow College and the College of Arts and Sciences. Many of the different colleges on campus displayed faculty-led study abroad programs so students could take WSU classes in a different country and gain practical experience.

Other options included programs not involved with WSU, such as Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA) and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). Johnson worked with CEA and participated in a marketing and sustainability program while in Florence.

“When you go to school at a university you meet people from all around the world, but then when you go abroad you are around the world with people from around the world,” she said. “It’s a completely different experience.”

The Global Learning Office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays in Bryan Hall Room 105. For more information about studying abroad, go to studyabroad.wsu.edu.

“By studying abroad, students get to see a different perspective on the world and the U.S.,” Villegas said. “You can learn a second language, learn adaptability and flexibility and become more independent. You’re gonna look at the world [through] a different lens.”