Friday, October 14, 2016

How to Make the Most out of the Study Abroad Fair!

The annual Tulane Study Abroad fair is a great place to start your study abroad journey. The fair is a one-stop shop where you can come meet with representatives from Tulane's many program providers. In addition to learning about semester and academic year programs, Tulane students can speak to representatives from different Tulane departments that offer study abroad programs, like the Center for Public Service and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. We also bring together staff from various on-campus units like the Office of Financial AidAcademic AdvisingCareer Services and the A.B. Freeman School of Business.

You can even renew your passport, thanks to the booth staffed by the folks at the United States Postal Service (passport fees still apply; be sure to check out the requirements on the USPS website and bring the relevant documents!). 

So, how can you get the most out of the study abroad fair? 

The study abroad fair is the best time to get as much information as possible about the programs you think you might be interested in, as well as exploring other options you may not have considered. Take some time, if you can, to look at the Tulane-approved programs that are listed on the Office of Study Abroad Website. As you do, try to think of specific questions that can't be answered just by reading the websites of the different programs. Bring those questions to the fair where we'll have program staff and study abroad alumni who will have the insider's answers.

The fair is a pretty laid-back event meant to help students learn about their options. It's not necessarily the time to make a final decision about where to study abroad. Instead, it's a time to gather as much information as you can to help you when you are selecting the right program for you in the months that follow. 

One good piece of advice about preparing for the fair is to identify your study abroad goals. If you know your goals for studying abroad, then you can be more intentional about getting information at the fair itself. 

Some goals past Tulane students have had for studying abroad include: 

  • Develop fluency in a foreign language;
  • Learn about the culture of a new or different place;
  • Make meaningful connections with people from a different country;
  • Take major or minor courses to learn about a topic from a new perspective.
Once you have those goals narrowed down, you'll have a better idea of what kinds of questions to ask at the fair. For example, if your number one goal is to become fluent in Italian, then you can ask about the language level of students on each of the programs in Italy that are represented at the fair. The answers you get may help you determine which program best suits your needs.

Many students say that one of the best parts of the Study Abroad Fair is having the opportunity to meet with students who have already completed the program. They can offer an insider view, telling you about their accommodation experiences, academic culture and tips about the city where they studied. 

If at any point during the fair, you need some help or guidance, just stop by the Office of Study Abroad table! We'll be there to meet with students and help them figure out their Fair Game Plan. And then, after it's all over, we'll be posting tips on what to do with all of the information you gathered!

We hope to see you there on Wednesday, October 19 from 2-5 PM in the LBC Qatar Ballroom!

The photo for this year's study abroad fair was taken by Madeleine Nicholson, a Tulane student who studied abroad on the CIEE program in Legon, Ghana.