On Thursday, UNM’s Global Education Office will be holding it’s annual Study Abroad Fair, where students looking to literally and figuratively broaden their horizons can get their questions answered about studying in a foreign country.
Students can stop by Cornell Mall between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to experience just a piece of the world and its various cultures, represented by students from study abroad programs.
Charla Henley, a study abroad advisor for GEO, said the fair will consist of several representatives from each of the programs UNM has to offer. Some of these representatives began early by visiting classes on Wednesday to disseminate information and encourage students to attend the event.
This includes direct enrollment, exchange and even non-UNM affiliated programs, which are those organized through third party representatives, she said.
Resources from the Gillman Scholarship and the Peace Corps will be attending, Henley said, and are able to offer students different information regarding the various financial options available to them.
This year, GEO is hoping to showcase relatively new faculty-led programs at UNM, she said.
“This is the opportunity to travel with people that students already know. They can go in a group, either in the spring, summer or during winter break. It would be a smaller group, maybe 10 to 12 students from UNM, with a UNM professor,” Henley said.
The fair is being put on thanks to the joint efforts of Henley and several of her colleagues at GEO.
Working closely with fellow advisors Kenny Gaona and Annette Mares-Duran, the team has spent a lot of time coordinating with faculty and facilitating representatives from outside the University.
The fair, which has been a staple since 2012, will highlight several different countries this year, with the help of current exchange students visiting UNM.
Henley said the fair provides not only a great opportunity to get more information for those interested in studying abroad, but also to meet new people from different countries and cultures around the world.
Pamela Iturricha, an exchange student visiting from Bolivia, is one individual who will be representing her home at the fair.
“UNM has passed my expectations. Everything is amazing. The people here are so nice and they help a lot. They give a lot of support to international people and have a lot of activities so you can involve easily with the rest of the community,” Iturricha said. “So for me, I love it.”
Iturricha will be joined by a representative from her university in Bolivia, who can provide interested students with answers about their particular exchange program.
Another student who will be attending the fair, Priscilla Sierra, spent last year studying at the University of Leeds through a direct enrollment program.
She said by immersing herself in another culture, her UNM experience also became more enriching.
“Life can become really routine but studying abroad gives you the opportunity to break away from that routine and learn in a new environment,” Sierra said. “It can be refreshing and motivate you to do better in class. And when you come back it helps you to appreciate home and the learning styles that they have here at UNM.”
Sierra said she is excited to attend Thursday’s fair, especially when it comes to the potential opportunity of revisiting her memories from England.
“It’ll be interesting to see other peoples’ study abroad experiences. Finding someone from Leeds I think would be awesome so I could reminisce about somewhere I’ve lived before,” she said.
Should students need specific assistance, Henley said she and her colleagues will be roaming the fair, helping to direct students to where they’d like to go.
They will also be signing students up for information sessions to take place during the next week, she said.
“My biggest hope is to help others understand that they can study abroad too. Because I know it seems like an impossible feat sometimes. Especially when you start thinking about funding and about buying a plane ticket,” Henley said. “But our office is here and we have scholarships to help with that. And we have people that help with the applications and walk everyone through everything.”