WCU provides opportunities to study abroad

IEP students talking to one of their instructors at the Study Abroad Fair. Photo: Hilary Lindler

IEP students talking to one of their instructors at the Study Abroad Fair.
Photo courtesy of Hilary Lindler.

‘Come and see what the world offers’ was the description of the eighth annual Study Abroad Fair and many students came to see it on Sept. 16.

Around 300 people came to the event. Information about studying abroad was given out, and students could also get to know some of the international students on campus.

Excitement was in the air as the UC Grand Room started filling up with people. There were flags hanging up everywhere complimenting the event.

Students had to sign in before walking into the room while faculty gave out handouts with all the programs of studying abroad on them.

“I absolutely think it’s just a wonderful experience for college students to participate in studying abroad. They can learn more about countries with another culture, learn more about themselves, learn another language, and receive academic credit,” student services specialist from the WCU Office of International Programs and Services, Josie Bewsey said.

Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Japanese, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, China and South Korea, had tables and information about different programs that students of Western Carolina University could get involved with. There were students from each of these countries who are currently studying on campus.

The visitors got information about various places to study abroad at. There are XCH (Exchange) programs, University of NC Exchange Programs (UNCEP) and International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP), for both exchange and direct enrollments. WCU Study Abroad Programs are one-on-one student exchange with other universities overseas. That is when WCU sends a student there, and the university overseas sends a student back.

That way, students can spend a semester or two in countries like Australia, Brazil, Germany, South Korea, Canada, go to few universities that WCU collaborates in Middle East, and much more. There are currently 30 to 35 students from WCU studying abroad this year, which does not include faculty led trips. During the summer, the amount of students going abroad varies from 20 to 25.

“Japan is popular because the Japanese language program on campus. Australia, Germany and England are always popular places for students at WCU,” Bewsey said.

Before a student can study abroad, they must have in mind a specific place that they want to go and they need to do some research..

“There are information sessions you go to at the Camp Building to learn more about studying abroad,” Bewsey explained. These sessions take place every Wednesday at 4 p.m. and every Thursday at 11 a.m.

The Intensive English Program (IEP) at was also at the fair promoting their classes and answered questions about how students could become an IEP instructors.

“There was a nice turnout of students, including both current and former IEP students, faculty and staff. It was a great opportunity for our IEP students to mingle with their fellow WCU peers and practice important language skills,” an instructor from IEP, Ashlea Green, said.

There were many opportunities for students to learn how to get involved and make their dreams of traveling or studying abroad happen. Even if they wanted to study a semester at sea, that is possible.