Fair to highlight overseas study, travel abroad

A study-abroad fair will be available Thursday for students who are interested in traveling across the world while still learning their required UH curriculum.

This year, the Office of International Studies and Programs staff wants to heighten awareness of the program and its option, Director Parul Fernandes said.

"Students get a global perspective. They learn tolerance and experience what is like for a foreigner in this country within a different system to what they are used to," Fernandes said.

The fair will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the University Center and will consist of 31 tables, each representing different countries. Other tables will include volunteer groups, health insurance, scholarship information and international music.

"The fair is a great opportunity for the faculty to share the experience with prospective students to the program," Jerald Strickland, Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Studies and Programs, said.

The study abroad experience forces students to develop survival skills and to improve their language and interpersonal communication, Fernandes said.

More than 300 students study abroad per year, she said.

The majority of students go to further the pursuit of their minors or to study their foreign language of choice, Fernandes said. The most popular country among students is Spain, while Mexico, Germany and England round out the top four, she said.

Depending on which option students choose, credit hours can be received through the office’s internship program or for regular course credit.

On average, students pay between $4,000-$5,000 per year. The fee includes tuition, room and board, food and airfare.

Students who are involved with the program go through the OISP for all their needs, which include choosing courses, getting their passports or liability insurance and their international student identification.

Before taking part in the program, senior Armand Jawanmardi had never left Houston, but since then, he has traveled from Italy to Morocco.

His most recent trip was a 5-month stay in Madrid, Spain.

"I got the rare opportunity to not only learn about foreign cultures and diverse people, but also to garner a better understanding about myself," Jawanmardi said. "I felt the personal development and increased maturity I attained through the experience transcends any type of academic or travel experience I gained."

Jawanmardi said he was completely satisfied with the study abroad program.

At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Pacific Room of the UC, OISP will also host a special scholarship session dealing with finances and financial aid for the study abroad program.

"In today’s job market, so much emphasis is put on global teamwork and personal development. International education is the key to finding a good job; Study Abroad helps a lot on a resume," Fernandes said.

In order to qualify, students must have completed 12-credit hours at UH and have at least a 2.5 grade point average.

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