Student interest in study abroad continues to rise

Despite the recent fatalities from the earthquake in Haiti, University students continue to show interest in studying abroad, as seen by their attendance at Wednesday’s spring study abroad fair.

Student safety is a main priority for the Study Abroad Office, said Rachel Kamagne-Jones, outreach coordinator.

“It’s always an ongoing discussion between our office and the people we work with on the ground,” Kamagne-Jones said.

She added that there is an on-call adviser within the study abroad office who carries a cell phone at all times in case a student has an emergency.

Erika Ryser, associate director of the Study Abroad Office, said the office has a health and safety orientation that all students who are traveling abroad must attend before they depart. It discusses tips for maximizing safety, security and health concerns including the utilization of the U.S State Department, Ryser said.

“We regularly review our safety procedures, and continually monitor our host sites for safety issues from a variety of sources,” Ryser said. “We have not made any changes as a result of the events in Haiti.”

Ryser said the study abroad office is a member of an international network of education professionals that contain a health and safety committee.

Many students said they acknowledge the need to remain cautious in foreign countries.

“I had to hold my backpack right in front of me on the bus,” said Carolyn Kloecker, senior in LAS and peer advisor for the study abroad office.

She added that staying with a host family while studying abroad in Ecuador increased her comfort level. Her host family showed her around the city and warned her about unsafe areas.

The University offers programs throughout the academic year, as well as Courses Abroad, which is a three to six week course held over summer or winter break.

Courses Abroad are taught in English by University faculty, Kamagne-Jones said. Programs are also available through outside organizations including, the International Educational Exchange.

“We have a communication network abroad where if something happens, we would know about it right away and respond as soon as possible,” Kamagne-Jones said.