Study abroad fair welcomes nations, cultural exploration


Josh Saxton

Eric Micheli, a freshman chemistry major speaks with University Relations Manager, Ellen Knuth Tuesday during the Study Abroad Fair in the University Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr., University Union. Micheli was in attendance for general information regarding study abroad.

T'Nerra Butler, Multicultural Editor

The Office of Study Abroad brought a wide range of nations to 34 tables for the Study Abroad Fair Tuesday afternoon in the University Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr. Union.

Tionna Alderson, an advisor for the study abroad office, said the fair would give people a chance to learn about their options to go overseas.

“I never would have thought that I would be going to South America and climbing volcanoes, that was something I never would have done without going to study abroad,” Alderson said.

Alderson was in Ecuador for four weeks and said the experience was a reason why she loved Spanish and made it her major. She said the country gave her a chance to fall in love with the language.

One program involves students going to Guatemala for spring break and is meant to give students a chance to see what they are getting themselves into before committing a semester or year.

The program in Guatemala allows students to travel to the country with two of Eastern’s faulty advisors. After the week, students are given two credit hours.

Alderson said if a student goes overseas for a semester, they could possibly complete a year’s worth of classes, and being with faculty members makes the trips less nerve-wracking.

Jalisa Smith, a senior psychology major, said she is a Spanish minor who got a chance to go to spring break in Guatemala. She said attending class in a foreign country was an adventure every day.

“Depending on what we talked about in class a certain day, was the trip we went on,” Smith said. “If we talked about volcanoes in class that day or a coffee plantation in class, that was the field trip we went on.”

Smith said the worst part about the trip was that everyone got sick while being in the country.

She said she would not take the experience back for anything, but noted people being in the hospital.

Kasey Adams, a sophomore Spanish education major, was with Smith when the illnesses sprang up.

“They told us beforehand to be careful of what you eat and what you drink. We couldn’t have ice, and only could drink water from water bottles,” Adams said. “And if you cooked anything with water it had to be boiled.”

Adams said one of the most memorable things was going to a restaurant and witnessing chefs carve an ordinary cucumber into a flower and dye it pink.

She said it was one of the most beautiful things she has ever seen.

Two students representing Studying Abroad in India were dressed in the country’s wear, a Kurta.

Ashley Sheets, a senior elementary education major and Erin Hill, a senior early childhood major, were both wearing the traditional garb.

The gowns resembled tunics, but Sheets said they had to be modest by being clothed all the way down to their ankles.

She said they decided to wear the gowns to be in tune with the natives.

Hill said she wanted to show the cultural differences through clothing. She said it shows how different Indian and Western views are.

“We see the Indian students on campus and we see them with their heads wrapped. So we get to wear it too, and that promotes different cultures,” Sheets said. “You feel a sense of pride, supporting that country.”


T’Nerra Butler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]