By Jeremy Biello
On Thursday, Oct. 11, entering the first floor of the Student Center one could find a selection of colorful tables and stands set up for the 21st annual Education Abroad Fair.
Here, students could find all the general information needed in order to begin a path toward a learning experience in a foreign country. The Student Center atrium was filled with these attractions and many more including a popcorn machine, trivia and All Natural Hennas by Monica Noland-Gustafson. The tables ranged from scholarship information to internship opportunities with third-party programs.
The first table in the lineup belonged to Campus 411 All-in-1 Enrollment Services, which acts as the stepping stone for students making their way overseas.
On the fourth floor of Berkman Hall, formerly known as Main Classroom, students can find the Center for International Services and Programs, where they may meet with advisors who can guide them in the direction best suited for their major and life experiences.
Students then have the option to pick from various third-party programs such as American Institute for Foreign Study, Academic Programs International, Center for International Studies (CIS), Institute for Study Abroad, International Japanese Language School, University Studies Abroad Consortium and the Peace Corps. Once decided on a program, the advisors in the All-in-1 offices will help students find what financial aid or scholarships they are eligible for. The list of scholarships contains over fifty options.
The financial opportunities for studying abroad do not stop there. The Center for International Studies gives out close to half a million dollars in scholarships each year. Currently, students applying before Oct. 31 for international study through CIS can save $250 with the promo-code “TRIPORTREAT.” CIS also offers semesters in Hawaii, an opportunity for international students, foreign to the United States, to gain experiences in other parts of the country.
Other programs, such as the National Student Exchange (NSE), offer domestic transfers to public universities in all 50 states and most provinces of Canada. Unique to NSE programs, students pay the same amount in tuition as they do at Cleveland State University as opposed to what they would pay in out-of-state tuition to any other universities. This allows a greater affordability to Cleveland State students to experience the parts of this country that they may otherwise never see.
Study abroad does not demand the traveler be the student in every case. With Academic Programs International (API), a for-profit group founded by four women over 20 years ago, individuals can apply for internships and teaching programs in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the South Pacific. API teaching positions focus mainly on teaching English in non-English dominated countries, and the teaching program is intended for graduate students. Each student enrolled in an internship gains a mentor throughout their stay for hands-on learning experiences.
Greeting curious students visiting the Education Abroad Fair was Cleveland State alumni Chanda Bynum, an East Cleveland native. In Bynum’s last year at the university, she applied to University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) — a program that aims to give students the most culturally authentic experience — and studied film at the London Metropolitan University in London, England.
Before embarking on her journey overseas, Bynum was nervous for the major cultural change she was set to see. Once settled in, however, she found London to be most hospitable and easy to navigate.
“In America, we’re so segregated,” Bynum explained. “But there, they’re so blended that nobody ever looked at anybody weird.”
Naturally, it was a lonely experience at first, but Bynum quickly made friends in London. Most of the new friends she made were native to England and not necessarily fellow USAC students.
“Going abroad really taught me how to be independent and kind of just be fearless,” Bynum said. She still keeps contact with her English friends to this day.