Take Your Studies Across the Globe

International Opportunities Offered at Study Abroad Fair

Richard Tzul, Staff Reporter

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Golden Eagles were presented with opportunities to fly across the world at the Study Abroad Fair.

The fair stretched from outside the bookstore to the career center on a sunny Wednesday. Canopies served as booths to provide info on the different ways to embark on a study abroad trip.

Business accounting major Diana Santos and business major Esmeralda Maldonado explored the fair together while carrying a number of pamphlets.

“So far, it’s fun and interesting to learn more,” said Santos when asked about her experience at the fair.

Santos is considering traveling to Germany, while Maldonado wants to visit Europe.

Each destination is provided by different programs from Cal State LA or third-party study abroad providers coordinating with the school.

One provider present at the fair was Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (SAE), which works with students with a variety of majors and can offer internships for its clients.

Barcelona SAE Senior Director of U.S. Operations Kristin Uyl said since the organization hosts its programs solely in Barcelona, it offers a more intimate experience. 

“We really get to know our students and in turn we really want our students to get to know the city,” said Uyl. “We don’t just want students to see the tourist hot spots, we really want them to see what life is like as a local.”

Other providers included University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), a non-profit that hosts programs in over 56 locations across the globe; there was also International Volunteer HQ, which offers volunteer and internship opportunities in 15 to 20 different fields of study.

With over two dozen booths at the fair, there were a variety of providers and programs for students to get involved in. Cal State LA Education Abroad Coordinator Sonja Lind admitted it can be overwhelming with so many different options. This is why she encouraged students to seek advisement from the school’s International Office. Students can learn not only what options are available, but which one suits them best.

Study Abroad Student Assistant Kaitlyn Castaneda explained that a study abroad advisement session takes into consideration the student’s major, academic year and locations of interest. The process takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

While students can have a multitude of options available, one major concern can be money. However, Lind insisted that studying abroad is more affordable than one might realize.

“There’s a lot of scholarships – actually the less money you have, the more money you can apply for,” said Lind. “A lot of study abroad scholarships are designed specifically for need-based scholarship applicants.”

However, she emphasized “financial literacy” such as budgeting and saving is also crucial to be able to afford studying abroad.

Student Research Assistant Courtney Scheidt recently came back from South Korea as part of the school’s exchange program. She explained that expenses were primarily covered by her financial aid and received a bit of housing assistance from scholarships. 

“[South Korea] housing wasn’t even a fourth of the cost it is for our campus. [I know] because I do live on campus here,” said Scheidt. 

Lind added that the CSU exchange program tuition is very cost effective since it’s basically the same cost as on-campus tuition. Through the program, students can still receive the same financial aid they normally get if they studied on campus.

She clarified that third party providers offer their own exclusive scholarships so they can be just as affordable, if not more so than a program offered by the school. It ultimately depends on each student’s circumstance.

To learn which options work best for them, students are encouraged to drop in for an advisement session at the International Office located at Golden Eagle Building Room 217. Advisers are available Tuesday through Friday with differing hours. For more information on studying abroad, including the complete advisement schedule, check out the office’s website at http://www.calstatela.edu/international/study-abroad. The office may be called at 323-343-3170 or emailed at international@calstatela.edu.