Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs


News Release

Contact: Anne Seitzinger, NIU Study Abroad Office
(815) 753-1988

September 5, 2007

Sept. 13 Study Abroad Fair offers students
chance to see world, earn academic credits

DeKalb, Ill. — Students interested in international study-abroad programs and internships can get more information on available opportunities at the upcoming 15th annual Study Abroad Fair.

The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center. The event will feature informational booths on study-abroad programs in about 65 countries.

Students can meet with NIU faculty members who direct short-term study-abroad programs worldwide. Students can also meet with representatives from several independent study-abroad organizations working with the NIU Study Abroad Office to offer programs for which students may still earn NIU academic credit.

“The fair is an opportunity for students to answer many questions and accomplish a great deal of research on study-abroad options,” said Anne Seitzinger, director of the Study Abroad Office.

About 500 students expected

Representatives will be available at the fair throughout the day to answer questions and help students consider which programs might best fit their major or career interests. Each year, the Study Abroad Fair draws about 500 NIU students seeking academic experiences outside the United States.

“There are dozens of options that allow students to find programs in their major areas of study, or they can explore options where they might earn credit toward NIU general-elective requirements,” Seitzinger said. “Some students will prefer a semester or academic-year program that offers a variety of courses, while others might want to focus on a topic such as art history in Rome, history in Malaysia or marketing in Ireland. It’s imperative that NIU students understand their profession or area of study from a global perspective.”

Last year, about 250 NIU students studied abroad. The university is unique in that its study-abroad programs attract high numbers of graduate students. Last year, about 30 percent of study-abroad participants were graduate students, and that percentage in recent years has been as high as 45 percent. Nationally, only about 15 percent of graduate students study abroad.

Faculty-directed programs

“Compared to other universities across the country, we send a relatively large number of graduate-level students overseas,” Seitzinger said. “We are able to do this thanks to the significant number of NIU faculty-directed programs that we offer.”

During the 2007/08 academic year, NIU faculty will be directing programs in China, Costa Rica, England, France, Ghana, India, Italy, Ireland, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka and Thailand. These faculty-led programs provide faculty development, while also promoting internationalization of curricula.

“That’s outstanding diversity in terms of the destinations we offer,” said Deborah Pierce, executive director of the Division of International Programs. “In fact, providing study-abroad opportunities in less-commonly-chosen countries such as Ghana, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka is one of the goals of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act (HR 1469), which has more than 40 co-sponsors and was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this summer.”

Information from consulates and tourist offices will also be available during the NIU Study Abroad Fair. Student Financial Aid Office staff members will be present to answer questions about financial aid and to provide information on federal and state loans. Potential scholarship information will be available as well.

Goodie bags, raffle prizes

All attending the fair will receive free goodie bags and have a chance to win one of several excellent raffle prizes, donated by area businesses and offices on campus.

“Students who attend the fair will learn about programs and financial aid and loan options that will allow study abroad to become a reality,” Seitzinger said. “Past participants will be present to provide first-hand information and offer guidance and encouragement.”

The fair is for faculty as well as students.

“The annual Study Abroad Fair is an excellent opportunity for faculty members to learn how creating their own study-abroad programs might benefit them both personally and professionally,” Seitzinger added.

Students who aren’t able to attend the fair can plan to attend “Study Abroad 101: First Steps to Study Abroad.” The informal presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session, is designed to provide information to students who are considering studying abroad or who are in the first phases of the process. Content is the same at each session, so students need only attend once to learn the basics. Study Abroad 101 will be offered every Wednesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the NIU Study Abroad Office.

Both the Study Abroad Fair and Study Abroad 101 are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.niu.edu/niuabroad, send an email to niuabroad@niu.edu, or call (815) 753-0420 or (815) 753-0700.

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