Dozens of Brookdale students began charting a course for a rewarding undergraduate experience on Oct. 12 during the college’s annual Study Abroad Fair, hosted by the International Education Center (IEC) in the Warner Student Life Center.
The event featured representatives from a variety of partner institutions – including Aberystwyth University in Wales, the American College of Thessaloniki in Greece, and the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in Canada – along with faculty and staff representing more than 80 study abroad programs in 27 countries across the globe.
From short-term study abroad programs in places like London and Hawaii to semester-long stays in destinations like Japan, Spain, Switzerland and Costa Rica, students were able to ask questions and identify the ideal program for their educational goals.
“Study abroad can be a transformative, life-altering opportunity, and we encourage students to begin thinking about it early in their college careers,” said IEC director Janice Thomas. “It’s important to identify the right program, the right time to go, and to make sure you apply for any scholarships or financial aid that you might eligible for. We’re here to guide students through that process and help them make the most of their time here at Brookdale.”
According to recent studies, students who study abroad often go on to have higher GPAs, graduate at higher rates and find employment quicker than students who do not, Thomas said. Nearly all students also report increased maturity, self-confidence, open-mindedness and extroversion following their study abroad experience.
“The personal and intellectual growth is very tangible, and very worthwhile,” said Thomas. “That’s why we are constantly trying to provide opportunities that open up access for our students to study abroad, whether it’s through study abroad scholarships, financial aid assistance, or through affordable, shorter-term programs for those students who can’t be away for an entire semester.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Brookdale study abroad coordinator Hector Santiago, who spent much of the fair discussing his own study abroad experiences with current students.
As a Brookdale student back in 2010, Santiago said he was inspired by his membership in the college’s Asia Society to enroll in a study abroad program in Japan, where he spent close to 11 weeks studying the Japanese language and immersing himself in the national culture.
“Prior to that I had never left the country and rarely left the state. So my first experience was kind of a big leap,” said Santiago. “It was eye-opening, to say the least. It really encouraged me to follow my passion as a career, rather than try to force it.
“After graduating I transferred to Kean University, and I changed my major from physical education to Asian Studies,” he added. “I went to Japan and taught English, then I came back here and I teach martial arts now. I’m opening my own dojo soon, I have my own martial arts supply company, and I work here as a study abroad coordinator. I’m doing everything I love to do now, and my study abroad experience was a huge part of that.”
The Study Abroad Fair also featured free food and refreshments, along with a “Brookdale Plinko” prize giveaway hosted by the Asia Society.
To learn more about Brookdale’s study abroad offerings, including available scholarships and financial aid assistance, click here.
Check out more photos from the 2017 Study Abroad Fair here.