Binghamton University showcased more than 50 study abroad programs in person last week at the Education Abroad Fair in Old Champlain Hall.
The semiannual fair, hosted by the Office of International Education and Global Initiatives (IEGI), was held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, with almost 300 students attending across all three days. The event featured representatives from BU’s study abroad programs, as well as academic advisers and representatives of the global studies minor. Education abroad advisors were also present to discuss topics such as financial aid options and exchange programs.
Linda Torricelli, coordinator of education abroad, said while the programs are open now, a change in the pandemic situation may impact them.
“The IEGI is continuing to monitor the [ever-evolving] global situation as it relates to COVID-19,” Torricelli wrote in an email. “Although we have opened applications for several of our programs, it does not guarantee that they will ultimately run. There is still a chance that [BU], SUNY, New York state or another entity will suspend one or all programs. The IEGI recommends that all spring 2022 education abroad applicants have an on-campus backup plan. We will share updates with all applicants as we know more.”
While in previous years the fair was held on one day, it was split this year in order to better accommodate both social distancing and students’ schedules. Additionally, while other SUNY schools are usually present at the fair, a separate SUNY Education Abroad Virtual Fair will be held this year on Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where more than a dozen SUNY schools will present their programs.
The tables at the fair featured not only staff and program representatives but students who had previously studied abroad as well. Charlotte Williams, a senior double-majoring in economics and political science who had previously studied abroad in Hong Kong, spoke about experiencing the fair from the other side of the table.
“When I first came to BU as a freshman, it was pre-[COVID-19], and the fair was a lot bigger and a lot different than it is now,” Williams said. “Given the environment that we’re in, and people being hesitant about study abroad because of [COVID-19], I think [the fair has] been really successful. Lots of people are coming and are hopeful that they can study abroad at some point. It doesn’t seem to have dampened people’s spirits, so I think it’s going pretty well.”
Taylor Jones, a sophomore majoring in psychology, went to the fair with a specific goal in mind and found her experience to be positive.
“I’ve been interested in studying abroad for a little while now, so I was just keeping up with the B-Engaged calendar and when I saw this I signed up,” Jones said. “I’m really interested in something in a French-speaking country, but particularly with gender, women’s studies, sexuality, psychology or something related to that. And I feel like I have found some pretty good options so far. I think it was good that they split it up by individual countries and programs, and everyone I’ve asked seems to know a ton about the program they are representing.”
Nina Collavo, a senior majoring in English, was unable to study abroad earlier due to the pandemic but is hopeful she can find an opportunity now.
“My educational circumstances are a bit more complicated than the average student, since I am graduating early and enrolled in the 4+1 program, but they gave me excellent advice on how to proceed,” Collavo said. “I really wanted to try studying abroad my sophomore year, but for obvious reasons, that wasn’t an option. Though I am still anxious about the global health situation, and the pandemic now flaring up with new variants of the virus, I felt the need to dip my toes in the water and parse the options, to see if studying abroad could be viable for someone in my situation.”