Fair gives students opportunities to study abroad

(Photo by: Tyler Brown) Left to right: Ross Walker, Jessica Corey and Arrakis Rasmussen at the study abroad fair. Students can earn academic credit by studying in other countries.
(Photo by: Tyler Brown) Left to right: Ross Walker, Jessica Corey and Arrakis Rasmussen at the study abroad fair. Students can earn academic credit by studying in other countries.

Tables filled the Shepherd Union Atrium on Wednesday morning, advertising opportunities for students to travel to places such as Spain, Italy and China at the Study Abroad Fair. Students can study abroad for a semester while earning school credit.

“It’s an opportunity to promote programs and get the word out,” said Lori Ornelas, the secretary in the Study Abroad Office, who helped plan the event. “It’s an education in itself, an opportunity to earn credits while traveling and learn about other countries.”

Each table at the fair consisted of a different country, sponsored by academic departments at Weber State University. Students do not need to be majoring in the department in order to study abroad with them.

The WSU Interior Design Department was at the fair and is planning a trip through Scotland, England, France and Spain. The trip will start in May and will be worth up to eight credit hours.

“We are going to a lot of tourist spots where the architecture is interesting,” said Jacie Johnson, an interior design instructor.

She said they will go to places like the Eiffel Tower. They went to New York over the summer and traveled to Venice two years ago.

“It’s awesome — it’s so much better seeing it in person,” said Jessica Corey, a interior design major who went on the Venice trip. “You get a whole different feel and it sticks in your mind so much better.”

Lisa Trujillo, the program director in the respiratory therapy department, plans to take students to Ghana this year.

“I’ve seen the change in our students, especially if they haven’t even seen our county,” Trujillo said. “It’s an eye-opener of how others live. We are the minority in how we live, so to see challenges people face has a huge impact.”

Trujillo said she first started going to Ghana when one of her students invited her to come to his village. She has taken about 100 students to Ghana since she started going in 2006. They spend their time helping sick people. She said that, one year, the students were able to help a girl with malaria who could not afford the medical cost of $6. They paid for her treatment and took care of her for a few hours.

“We can’t fix the whole problem, but that was the world to them,” she said. “It’s great for students to learn from their health care.”

She said that, because they don’t have the same equipment in Ghana as doctors have in the United States, doctors in Ghana have assessment skills students can learn from them. Instead of having machines that will help doctors find out what disease a patient has, they must rely on their own knowledge.

Before the trip, students can learn the basic procedures they need to know, such as taking a pulse or finding out someone’s blood pressure.

“I want to study abroad so I can become fluent in Spanish,” said Justin Porter, who attended the fair.

Porter said he plans to become a Spanish minor. He also said he wants to study abroad somewhere like Spain after he gets back from his mission.

Scholarships are available for students who would like to travel abroad. The Study Abroad Office is offering up to 40 scholarships of $500 for 2013. Applications for the scholarships are due by Feb. 15.

To be eligible for one of the scholarships, students must fit requirements such as demonstrating a financial need, being registered for three study-abroad credits, a GPA of at least 2.0 and good academic standing.