A cacophony of conversation filled the ballrooms of the SUB on Sept. 25 as the Office of Student Engagement, along with the Office of International Programs, put on the annual Involvement and Study Abroad Fair. The event consisted of a myriad of informational booths displaying information about opportunities for students to travel abroad to other schools for a semester or a year, as well as representatives from on-campus clubs and community non-profits.
Outside of the booths and representatives, the event offered catering and a slideshow of pictures for the various organizations. In total, 30 volunteers were involved in setting up and running the event.
Members from one student involvement group, Airsoft of MSU, made their way around the ballrooms dressed in Airsoft gear, encouraging participation in their weekly Saturday meetings and explaining how students can rent airsoft gear. Representatives from other clubs answered questions about their activities and some offered free trinkets for students who attended.
The Student Engagement Global Ambassadors (SEGA), a group consisting of students heavily involved with the many organizations that were on display, helped Bobcats attempting to navigate the booths. Students looking to get involved at MSU who missed the event can drop in during SEGA advising hours for detailed information about the options available to them. Hours vary based on each employee and can be found with a visit to the SEGA website, www.montana.edu/engagement/sega/.
Sophomore Ellie Smith visited the ballrooms looking for a study abroad opportunity to expand her experience with the Spanish language.“I want to get integrated into the Spanish culture,” Smith said. “I am a Spanish major, so I want to improve my fluency and my ability to speak Spanish, and I also want to gain cultural experiences and meet new people all over the world and be outside the U.S.” Smith was particularly interested in studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, a location that would provide her easy access to travelling around other countries in the European Union.
The travel opportunities exhibited by the fair provided freshman Andrew Jenner with a chance to explore programs for his engineering major as well as his academic planning. “I need to do a little bit more research to see what fits with my major because I am in engineering, so if I do a semester program I want to make sure it doesn’t make me have to stay an extra semester [at MSU],” Jenner said.
Heidi Worley, a staff member for the Office of Student Engagement, described studying abroad as an opportunity to enhance education.“I think that it’s a way that you are able to bring what you have learned here to a new place but also to bring what you learn over there back home and experience your education in a whole new light,” Worley said. The hustle and bustle of the fair provided students an opportunity to find a new experience and reach beyond the boundaries of their education.