Fair encourages students to expand horizons

By Shannon Findley and Emily Ballard

While at Baylor, students may remain unaware of opportunities available outside the Baylor Bubble, the social and cultural boundaries around Baylor’s campus, like embarking on an academic journey in another culture or part of the world.

Joining a study-abroad program is a viable option for Baylor students of any major. There are even programs specifically geared toward majors such as nursing and social work that often require a specific collection of courses.

“There is nobody who can’t study abroad,” said exchange program and study abroad advisor Bobby Leis.

The Study Abroad Fair will be from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday in the Barfield Drawing Room in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Study abroad directors will stand at 27 tables around the room alongside international students, ready to answer any questions about studying abroad — whether for a summer session, a semester or as an international exchange student.

“The fair is largely designed to promote all the different aspects of studying abroad,” Leis.

The fair, held once a semester, helps to recruit students for Baylor’s numerous study abroad programs and to dispel any fears students may have about study abroad programs interfering with graduating on time or being too expensive.

“Quite often it can be cheaper to study abroad than to stay at Baylor,” Leis said.

Shreveport, La., senior Audrey Richardson has studied abroad in both South Africa and Turkey with her linguistics major. She thought South Africa was the perfect place to study abroad since the nation has nearly 20 official languages.

Richardson said navigating a new culture enhanced her overall college experience. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” she said.

Besides giving students an expanded worldview and often making them highly sought-after job candidates because of their global experiences, studying abroad provides invaluable personal growth opportunities.

Julie Bailley is an exchange student majoring in business from Institut d’administration des entreprises (IAE) in Cannes, France.

“I can experience both a French school and an American school. And for my resume, it’s good,” she said.

Learning about and assimilating to a new culture is just as big a part of studying abroad as the academics are.

“I think it speaks about a person’s character, not only getting through it, but adapting,” Leis said.

For Bailley, studying at Baylor has been a learning experience both in class and outside of class.

“It’s a great experience. You learn outside of the school by meeting new people,” she said.

Baylor has at least two students this year that, after having life-changing study-abroad experiences, will be returning to work in the countries in which they studied. At the fair next month, study abroad directors and international students hope to help Baylor students envision an eye-opening and meaningful study abroad program that would be tailored to each student’s individual interests and academic pursuits.

Students interested in studying abroad must be willing to delve into a culture, region and group of people with which they are unfamiliar.

When asked how she likes Texas so far, Bailley said, “It’s not as cliche as we thought. It’s really great.”