Fall Study Abroad Fair introduces students to options abroad, passport application offered


Dr. Shu-Ling Wu (right), 36, of Taiwan, speaks to Andrew Aaflaq (center), 20, of Carbondale, and Destiny Hurd (left), 21, of LaGrange, about her Chinese Language and Culture Program at SIU’s Study Abroad Fair Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Carson VanBuskirk | @carsonvanbDE)

By Brandi Courtois, Staff Reporter

The Center for International Education hosted a study abroad fair on Wednesday at the Student Center to inform students of opportunities available and offered an opportunity for students to apply for passports.

Thomas Saville, the associate director for study abroad,  said the study abroad program helps internationalize the campus.

Studying abroad is generally a maturing experience, Saville said.


“For a lot of students it’s the first time they’re independent, which can be a little scary,” Saville said.

When he was a college student, Saville said he had the opportunity to study in Mexico and Brazil. He later received a Fulbright award to Japan as an educator.

Saville said a lot of times studying abroad is going to be wonderful and a lot of times it’s going to be hard.

There are far more times when students see it as the most important thing they did in college, Saville said.

“I’ve been abroad once before and it was so immersive and amazing,” Savannah Coady, a junior studying communications studies, said. “I feel like you just grow when you’re in another culture.”

Various tables were set up for students to learn more about particular countries, non-profit organizations and for financial aid, grants and scholarship information available to students.

Some of the tables set up advertised trips to Ghana, Japan, Costa Rica, Ireland and Scotland.


At the table for Ghana, Kelechi Agwuncha, a senior studying cinema and photography, sat in front of a board with several pictures of Ghana.

Agwuncha, who has been to Ghana, said students should go there to experience the unknown.

“Africa is more than what the media publicizes,” Agwuncha said.

Leonard Gadzekpo, Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Africana Studies, sat next to Agwuncha. He said students who go to Ghana see the human aspect.

This experience exposes students to the real life of the people and teaches them how to adjust and be flexible, Gadzekpo said.

Students who have gone to Ghana in the past have been to parliament meetings, seen magistrates offices, and have been able to meet with military and police officers. Gadzekpo said this allows students to learn the culture and see a larger world.

Over the main section of tables a bunch of flags representing various countries hung. A lot of those represented were countries that have study abroad opportunities through the exchange programs the Center for International Education offers.

One of the tables offered a Costa Rica spring break trip to San Jose, La Fortuna, Jaco Beach and Monteverde over the upcoming spring break.

“Monteverde has the most biological diversity in the world,” Alan Walters, a professor in the college of agriculture sciences, said.

The objectives of this trip are to experience the sustainable ecologically-based fruit and vegetable industry in Costa Rica according to a flyer offered by Walters.

Students learn things that will last a lifetime when they study abroad, Walters said.

Stephanie Mueller, a study abroad advisor for the Center of International Education, said she advises students on programs based on their studies and how long they want to go.

“You learn how to navigate a different space,” Mueller said.

You’re able to hurdle challenges, Mueller said. She said it’s great for resumes and personal growth.

Timmy Global Health of SIUC, a nonprofit organization based out of Indianapolis that accepts volunteers of all backgrounds, had a table set up near the financial aid table.

Emily Shoaf, a senior studying radiological sciences, said the goal of the organization was to try to give people an opportunity for healthcare by setting up clinics and triages in foreign countries.

All students need is to have a giving heart and an open mind to be able to go, Madison Wolverton, the director of advocacy for the chapter, said.

A table was set up close by for a volunteer opportunity in Cape Town, South Africa by Evan Brown. Brown is a graduate student studying education administration and founded the organization in 2016.

The goal of the trip to South Africa is to provide access to education for underprivileged youths, Brown said.

Alongside the Study Abroad Fair was a Passport Fair, the second time one has been organized here at SIU.

Several tables had been set up next to the escalators so students could apply for a new passport or renew their old one.

“A passport is the one universal means of identification,” Saville said.

Students filled out forms, provided evidence of citizenship and showed a photo ID. The fees required included a $110 application fee and a $34 execution fee.

The Center for International Education, which partnered with the United States Postal Service for the event, offered to cover the $35 execution fee for currently enrolled SIU full-time students who presented valid student IDs.

A Salukis Abroad Scholarship program is offered to SIU students through the Center for International Education. Other options are available to students through financial aid and external scholarships.

Staff reporter Brandi Courtois can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @CourtoisBrandi.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.