Multiple countries and program options available
This is what I want students to know: It’s within your reach.” These words come from Saira Hamidi, a study abroad coordinator for the Office of International Affairs (IA) who handles Global Education/Study Abroad.
The Office of IA hosted its Fall Study Abroad Fair on Sept. 17 in the Tivoli Turnhalle. The event was a joint venture between MetroState and CU Denver, the goal of which was to familiarize students with all global education options available to them.
On CU’s side of things, a plethora of such options were available. Not only were study abroad coordinators and program alum present to talk one-on-one, but practically every option on campus had a table. One entire half of the room was made up of faculty-led programs, most of which are one-month stints abroad in academically rigorous — but exhilarating nonetheless — environments.
Faculty programs included, but certainly were not limited to, Professors Kerrane and O’Brien’s June-July “Interdisciplinary Art in Ireland,” Professor Robinson’s May-June “Korea Goes Global,” and Professor Van Leeuwen’s Jan. 2-16 “International Development in East Africa” that takes students to Uganda & Rwanda.
For the prospective studiers-abroad, however, faculty-led programs are only a sliver of what is available. At the Study Abroad Fair, other options such as semester programs and third-party ones — still sanctioned by CU Denver —also had tables dedicated to them.
Hamidi and many of her colleagues oversaw the event, and with an energy and passion for global education that simply radiates off of her, Hamidi was happy to help any student who needed it.
“I recommend studying abroad to all students,” Hamidi said. “It has the potential to be a life-changing experience. Oftentimes it’s transformative for, like, all the students I’ve spoken with… I think it’s important to do this because this is the only time in a student’s life where they’re going to have this kind of opportunity.”
Hamidi is also realistic, and confirmed that studying abroad isn’t always easy. She cited both culture shock and homesickness as difficulties students go through, but such difficulties are not bad; they are opportunities for growth and the cultivation of self-knowledge.
“Don’t run away from those moments,” Hamidi said, “because that’s when you really start to learn about yourself and your resilience… and you really come out stronger.”
Erin Edwards spent her fall 2018 semester studying in New Zealand. She cited “feeling alone” as the biggest challenge she faced, noting that she knew nobody around her. “For the first two weeks I was miserable,” Edwards said.
With time, however, she made friends. “The people I met are still some of my best friends to this day.”
Ultimately, Edwards shared her advice to those considering studying abroad, saying, “Just do it,” and, “There is no real reason not to. It will be the most memorable and gratifying part of your college career, guaranteed.”
Although the Study Abroad Fair is over, there is no reason to fret. The office is currently in the process of moving into LynxConnect in the Tivoli. They will be open to students starting Monday, Oct. 14, and encourage anyone interested in studying abroad to stop by and chat anytime from 8a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.