Study abroad fair opens opportunities


by Lauren Stillman, reporter

Ciao, au revoir or hasta la vista Simpson College. Simpson College’s 2015 May term and semester trips were displayed in the Great Hall during the study abroad fair last Wednesday.

The Office of International Education held the fair offering international food and a photo contest to answer questions about online applications, trips offered, curriculum designations and costs of each travel course.

“We started out with 275 copies of the two handouts that were offered to the students as they came in, and ran out of those within 35 minutes,” director of International Education Jay Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson observed the best attendance the abroad fair has seen in the eight years he has been at Simpson.

“I don’t have exact numbers, but I have a very strong indication that we had more than 400 people in attendance” Wilkinson said.

May term, semester abroad, and visiting international students had an instructor and table advertising their trip through power points, handouts or photo slideshows.

Sophomore Maddie Young attended the fair to get more information on the course traveling to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

“I want to study abroad. It sounds awesome. My mom never did and she regrets it,” Young said.  

This year the fair was able to introduce Dr. Joe Walt International Education Scholarships, contrary to last year when details concerning the scholarships were still being worked out. 

“By offering these Walt scholarships that will open up the pool of students that in the past thought ‘I can’t afford that.’ Hopefully with some scholarships that might entice instead of the previously said no, that’s not going to be possible” Wilkinson said.

Dr. Joseph W. Walt bequeathed more than 40 scholarships annually to help Simpson students travel abroad. Some awards fund up to 50 percent of program costs. Students are eligible for one Walt Scholarship during their time at Simpson.

Other schools study abroad fairs offer presentations, but Wilkinson likes the hour and a half come and go process to answer all questions and accommodate to student schedules.

Wilkinson and his team understand that some students expressing interest in traveling courses by signing up at the fair have no intention on actually going on the trip. Wilkinson says that it is helpful to see interest, and it sometimes results in a like on Facebook. That doesn’t necessarily translate to applications though.

“Some years I would have some students that were graduating that next semester and they were expressing interest for a study abroad semester the following year,” he said.

All travel courses are proposed and led by Simpson professors and are open to all students regardless of major. Professors are sent a call for a proposal and must turn the proposal in 16 months prior to their trip. After a trip is reviewed by the Study Abroad Committee, it is sent to the Education Policy and Curriculum committee. Once the course survives the committee process, it is approved or denied in an all faculty meeting. The final course is announced around April.

These are the following study abroad trips for 2015

May Term (9)

Africa- $4,750 plus additional fees

Asia-$3,099 plus additional fees

Caribbean region or Central or South America- $3,200 plus additional fees

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands- $4,995 plus additional fees

Europe-$ 4,380

South France- $3,500

Ireland- $2,995

Northern Italy- $3,650

Venice, Geneva, Avignon- $3,790


Rosario, Argentina on even numbered years

Adelaide, Australia on even numbered years

London, England on odd numbered years

Polynesia on even numbered years

Thailand on odd numbered years

Schorndorf, Germany on odd numbered years