Office of Study Abroad gets a new office

T'Nerra Butler, Multicultural Editor

1130_StudyAbroad_MD_ILLISTRATIONMolly Dotson

The Study Abroad office will permanently move to the vacant space next to the office of International Students and Scholars.

The space was once used for the office of Continuing Education.

The office of study abroad has moved around a bit since the fire of Blair Hall more than 10 years ago; Evan Lohmann, the coordinator of study abroad, said the office started out in Blair, but after the fire they were relocated to Lawson Hall.

The office eventually returned to Blair Hall sometime in 2006.

Kurt Olausen, the director of the Study Abroad Office, said the new office will give them space for one on one advising with those interested in studying overseas.

The current office, which served as a space for Study Abroad for about 10 years, will be turned into a place where students can browse through brochures and see their options with studying outside the country.

Olausen said his current office, which is in the office of International Students and Scholars, would be used for the department of international students.

Olausen said the previous space was often crowded because of the many people working and students coming in.

“I didn’t think it’s a very welcoming space for people to come in and sit,” Olausen said. “We had a lot of materials in the old space, but no where for students to come and look through it all.”

The previous office space was not always the best place to advise students who were interested in studying abroad. Olausen said with so many personal information the students shared, the old office did not have an intimate atmosphere. He said with conversations about grades or medical issues in an open space are not the ideal place to have meetings with students.

“As a student, you’re not going to be comfortable telling me somethings if you know there’s people listening,” Olausen said. “Sometimes you have to talk about personal stuff like financial constraints or home life.”

The office was given the space around three weeks ago. Olausen said as people have been moving around on campus because of people leaving, the Office of Continuing Education was able to consolidate their staff, which in turn left an office for another department to use.

Lohmann said the new office provides a student-friendly atmosphere. In the center of the previous Study Abroad office are file cabinets. Lohmann said he hopes to trade those out for tables for students to sit at. He said the old office will be thought of as the study abroad library.

The study abroad sees a lot of student foot traffic, Lohmann said. He said he meets with about two students a day and his new office will give him a chance to talk to students in a more personal way.

Prior to the fire at Blair, the office of International Students and Scholars and the Study Abroad Office had one director, but around 2003 the university brought in two directors and the offices split, said Lohmann.

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