There are three myths students believe about studying abroad: it is too expensive; it will delay their graduation date; and it is geared toward certain majors or students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds.
Cal State Fullerton’s Office of Study Abroad hopes to dispel these myths at its Study Abroad Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 8 in the Quad. At the fair, program leaders, financial aid representatives and former study abroad participants will help students learn which programs can best fit their academic and financial goals.
“Our job is to address the financial and curricular pieces, so we can remove real or perceived barriers to studying abroad,” said Jack Hobson, study abroad director. “We would never establish programming that didn’t advance students toward their diploma.”
The University is committed to helping students participate in high-impact practices, like studying abroad, which are linked to increased engagement and graduation rates. Since 2012, CSUF study abroad participation has increased by 83 percent.
“Our mission as an educational institution is broader than just providing bachelor’s degrees,” Hobson said. “In addition to getting a degree, part of what a student is doing in their undergraduate experience is developing their personal and professional identity — and there is no profession that doesn’t have some sort of global perspective to it.
“Having a study abroad experience can be instrumental in helping you get a job, or stand apart when you’re applying for law school, medical school or graduate school.”
According to Hobson, many students opt out of studying abroad without even checking to see how much it costs or if the opportunity can align with their degree program.
“We invite students to come to the fair and talk to our advisers,” he stressed, “but more importantly to talk to other students who have done it and know firsthand how possible studying abroad is.”
One such student is Claudia Itzel Marquez, who graduated in spring with a B.F.A. in art-drawing and painting and a B.A. in art-art history. Marquez spent an academic year in Florence, Italy, where she met artists from around the world and witnessed the art restoration process up close.
“I never imagined that I, the first in my family to attend college, would be accepted to a yearlong study abroad program,” she said. “My experience studying and living abroad was transformative in many ways. I learned more about myself as I became actively engaged in my studies and assimilated to Italian culture.”