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Semester Abroad celebrates 50 years

October 10, 2013

Semester Abroad: Europe/Quarter Abroad will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Oct. 12. Robert Bailey III (center), the founder of the program, poses above with other SAE/QA members in the 1980s.
Semester Abroad: Europe/Quarter Abroad will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Oct. 12. Robert Bailey III (center), the founder of the program, poses above with other SAE/QA members in the 1980s. SAE/QA allows students to create their own projects while studying abroad. (Used with permission from Magdalena Pala)

As a global campus, UW-River Falls offers many opportunities for students to travel around the world.

The Semester Abroad: Europe/Quarter Abroad (SAE/QA) is one of many options that students at UWRF have. The program will celebrates its 50th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 12. This program, founded by Robert Bailey III in 1963, is the oldest international program on campus.

Bailey, a professor of sociology at the time of his creation of this program, decided to establish this international program after leading a group of non-UWRF students to Germany. Bailey himself led groups within the SAE/QA program from the years 1963-1974.

The program, which is designed to allow students to create a project of their own choosing while abroad, was created by Bailey to suit the types if students that generally attend UWRF and have an interest in studying abroad. According Magdalena Pala, a past co-director of SAE/QA, the program displayed the “genius of Bailey…his critical thinking and keen observation.”

Fifty years of learning abroad through the SAE/QA program is certainly no small accomplishment and there are many aspects of the program that have led to its success.

“The dedication of the people involved with it, and also the other faculty involved with it” are a large part of the program’s success in the eyes of Pala.

According to Pala, the program is a three-semester commitment for students and they remain in constant motion the entire experience, which appeals to many of them. Charles Rader, a past assistant group leader of the SAE/QA program, attributes the program’s success to the fact that the program is “student-centered.”

The experience with in the SAE/QA program has had a great effect on the UWRF campus and the students who have participated in the program. According to one SAE alum, this program (after talking to many people over the last 10 years, has proven to be the most unique and rewarding study abroad programs out there for undergraduates.

Many students who are interested in a study abroad experience look to others for advice on how to approach their experience.

“Start planning early, commit to going abroad, convince yourself that it is important, and realize that in the long run it [study abroad] does not cost that much,” Pala said.

Rader, who had also worked with the Wisconsin in Scotland, Experience China and International Traveling Class room programs, recommends working with your advisor early on to ensure that the program meets your degree requirements, when pursuing a study abroad experience.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the SAE/QA program will begin at 4 p.m., on Oct. 12, and will include opportunities to communicate with program alums and faculty from previous years, tributes to Bailey, displays of photos and selected projects, as well as videos of programs currently taking place in Europe.

The celebration will also feature a European-themed buffet dinner and cash bar. Cost of the event is $35 per person.

There will also be information sessions held for the SAE/QA 2014 program from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Davee Library 103.

For more information about the 50th anniversary celebration contact Pala at magdalena.pala@uwrf.edu. For more information about the SAE/QA program contact Rader at charles.p.rader@uwrf.edu.