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Letter to the editor

Study abroad options abundant, money possible

September 25, 2009

Last week, Alayne Hockman wrote a wonderful piece about her study abroad experience.

As a new peer advisor for the Global Connections office on campus, I would like to take the time to follow up and add to Alayne’s remarkable article.

The article, “International Programs Offer Students Unmatched Opportunity,” was a great introduction for any student considering study abroad as a future educational experience.

The excitement that she expressed in the article is something that other stu- dents who have studied abroad also feel, and those that have not, should envy.

Over a year ago, I studied with the Wisconsin in Scotland (WIS) program, and like everyone else will tell you, it was an amazing experience.

Since my return, I have been dreaming of the day that I will return, not only to Scotland, but also to the many places I traveled.

The entire experience has left me speechless and in awe. You can only learn so much by sitting in a classroom. Imagine what is beyond those four walls waiting for you!

As a new peer advisor for Global Connections, I have the privilege of promoting these wonderful opportunities to the rest of the student body.

The study abroad opportunities are endless. From Spring Break, Summer or J-Term, to a full semester (Fall or Summer) or even a full year, the Global Connections office is willing to work with you so that this possibility can become a reality.

As Alayne mentioned, finance is a major issue for college students. However, money issues should not be holding you back.

Many assistance programs are out there — scholarships, grants, loans. There is always something available; you just have to look for it.

When I went on WIS last year, I received a $800 grant just for being a Wisconsin resident! Money should not be the reason holding you back from the experience.

Most of us just want to take the classes we need, graduate and get a job. However, it seems almost fair to say that international programs have become almost a requirement for any real-world job.

Employers look to see if you have what it takes and that you are fully pre- pared for the future. If you have noticed, our country is made up of millions of people who are from other countries.

Employers want to know that you are adaptable to different situations and that you have been exposed to other cultures, customs and perspectives different from your own. This experience could be the one thing that puts you ahead of everyone else.

As a shameless plug, I would like to invite you all to check out the Study Abroad Fair, which is going to be held on Tuesday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Falcon’s Nest.

The Study Abroad Fair is a great opportunity for students to learn about the various programs offered through UWRF, other campuses and outside organizations. Students will be able to interact with study tour leaders, past participants and Global Connections staff.

Furthermore, students will discover information on passports, financial assistance and answers to any ques- tions they may have about studying abroad!

The Study Abroad Fair is a convenient opportunity for students to explore the many abroad possibilities that exist!

However, if you can’t visit us then, stop by our office (102 Hagestad).

We’d love to help make your dreams of study abroad a reality!

Ashley Iehl
Global Connections Peer Advisor