Study abroad fair highlights student opportunities

Story by Michelle Hawks, Contributing writer

The Curris Center Dance Lounge was filled with students and faculty ready to discuss studying abroad Sept. 15.

For some, it was a new and unfamiliar topic. However, for those like Delila Root, the fair was a place where she could share the unforgettable memories she had made.

Root, International Studies major with a minor in Chinese, had traveled to Regensburg, Germany for the Fall 2015 semester.

Root said that she was scared when she first got to Germany, but after learning the language, it’s an experience she wishes she could do all over again. “I honestly miss it a lot, especially the food, which is so different,” said Root, senior from Madisonville, Kentucky.

While not every student is required to study abroad, it is an experience everyone is encouraged to have. Last year, 334 Murray State students studied abroad for some length of time. Approximately 18 percent of last year’s graduating class had studied abroad, which is nearly 8 percent higher than the national average.

The study abroad office offers a broad range of programs for all majors. The office also collaborates with many organizations to ensure that students are able to travel where they want while taking the classes that they need to graduate.

Heather Claiborne, Education Abroad advisor, said the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA) is one of these programs. CCSA, a program based out of Western Kentucky University, gathers faculty from across the state to teach courses that might not be available through the individual universities.

Melanie McCallon Seib, director of Education Abroad, said that study abroad not only teaches students valuable lessons inside the classroom, but also gives them a strong sense of independence they wouldn’t otherwise have as well as allowing them to think deeper about different aspects of their lives.

She encourages students who may be afraid to study abroad to step outside of their comfort zone and go.

“Choose a program where you go with your best friend, choose a program where you go with Murray State faculty, go with someone you trust,” McCallon said.

The Education Abroad office is open from 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday and is located in Woods Hall.