UW-Madison students took a break from classes this afternoon to visit Union South for the annual study abroad fair. Hosted by International Academic Programs, the fair welcomed over 2,500 students with wanderlust.
Gabriela Cristobal, a senior studying political science and international studies, realized at the fair how studying abroad can uniquely impact not only one’s education, but life views as well.
“I think that there are a lot of different things you can learn from people of different countries and different backgrounds,” Cristobal said. “I’ve sort of always had wanderlust and I’m always looking to see something new and someplace new.”
Over 200 different study abroad and internship programs were represented at the fair. While IAP offers the most study abroad options through UW-Madison, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the School of Business and the College of Engineering have study abroad programs that were represented at the fair as well.
Julie Lindsey, associate director of IAP, stressed the importance of providing a chance for students to explore their study abroad possibilities in a single place.
“The study abroad fair provides an opportunity to showcase every study abroad program at UW-Madison in one location,” Lindsey said. “So it’s a little bit unique in the sense that people can actually come, browse the different program opportunities, talk to faculty that lead the programs and return study abroad students all in one quick location.”
While this is the only study abroad fair hosted throughout the year, IAP provides additional resources to explore study abroad options, Lindsey explained. IAP also hosts open houses and different information sessions each semester.
More than just the students at Wednesday’s fair know about UW-Madison’s study abroad presence. In 2014, UW-Madison was ranked ninth among U.S. colleges and universities in the amount of students earning credit abroad by the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. This ranking marked the eight straight year that UW-Madison has placed in the top 10.
Rachel Baldwin, a junior gender and women’s studies major, said that while she hasn’t studied abroad through the university, her past international experiences piqued her interest and brought her to the fair.
“I just want to broaden my worldview,” Baldwin said. “I think that there are a lot of other things to do outside of UW, and studying abroad would be a great opportunity to meet new people and find new opportunities.”