Panel to address Latino students studying abroad

Jada Huddlestun, Staff Reporter

Latin American students who have had the opportunity to study abroad will share their stories in the “Latino Students Take on the World” panel at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Arcola-Tuscola room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Students will express what it was like to leave America and be immersed in another culture in an event unlike any Eastern has put on before.

The panel is being led by three Eastern students who have spent time in other countries as foreign exchange students. It will conclude with a question and answer session.

The Minority Affairs office came to the Office of Study Abroad with an idea the idea in order to attract students to study abroad.

Evan Lohmann, Study Abroad Coordinator, said the event would give people a chance to learn more about Latin American heritage, to spread awareness and to teach acceptance.  Lohmann said that the more people embrace different cultures, the more they will be tolerant of other cultures.

“It will also help our international students assimilate into life by creating more diverse American citizens in Charleston that will be more welcoming and accepting,” Lohmann said.

Lohmann said the event would give students a better understanding of what it feels like to study abroad in Latin America. The audience will learn the benefits of studying closer to home, such as cheaper costs and similar culture compared to studying overseas.

When they hear from other Eastern students, the audience will see this is something they can also do, Lohmann said. Having more students take the leap to study abroad in Latin American countries can help break barriers and create more diversity on our campus and in a small community like Charleston.

Kurt Olausen, the Director of Study Abroad, said minority students face more difficulties than others. He said this would give students a chance to share struggles they faced on their trip.

“We want [students] to leave with the idea that, if they are from one of these minority cultures, ‘this is possible for me.’”

The intended audience for this panel is foreign language majors and minority groups, but it is open to any student no matter what their major.

Olausen said the goal of this event is to attract students to study abroad, give them more insightful information and also broaden their knowledge.

Many students travel to European countries, but traveling to Hispanic countries also has many benefits. It is cheaper, the culture is more familiar and can provide a chance for students to see where their ancestors grew up, and it allows them to get a better understanding of their culture in a way they have not had before.

Jada Huddlestun can be reached 581-2812 or [email protected]