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Students explore options at UNH study abroad fair



Durham may be the central location of UNH, but the university certainly exceeds the small town’s limits. It also exceeds the state of New Hampshire, and  the U.S. border. There are wildcats studying in every corner of the world through any of the UNH-managed study abroad programs.

On Sept. 15, the Center for Study Abroad hosted a fair in the MUB’s Strafford Room, where over 20 informational tables were laid out for those eager to learn about studying abroad.

UNH study abroad programs include trips to places in France, Spain, Russia, England and more.

According to Jim Parsons, the College of Liberal Arts (COLA) Study Abroad Coordinator, there are approximately 30 UNH-managed study abroad programs, with the majority of them being within that college.

While Parsons himself wasn’t able to study abroad in college due to financial issues, he always had an interest in having an international outlook. For him, it started when he taught English in France, just after graduating college.

“I think it has the possibility to add a lot of things to the college experience. Each student has their own goals when they study abroad,” he said. “It’s one of the most valuable experiences a student can have. It’s something that has the ability to open many doors. It’s a cliché, but it’s definitely a life-changing experience (for some people).”

In terms of financial matters, there were also representatives from both the UNH financial aid office and the fellowship office.  The representative from the financial aid office noted that as long as the program is UNH-approved, any financial aid given by the state carries over with the student as they study abroad.

Also available to students are a number of fellowships. According to Laura Perille, who is an associate with the Office of National Scholarships, students at UNH have been having particular success with obtaining the Gilman International Scholarship. This award can include funds up to $5,000.  Perille remarked that five UNH students received this scholarship during this past summer term.

With a crowd of over 50 students walking around the room, it’s obvious that studying abroad is a keen interest of many modern college students. This hasn’t always been the case. According to faculty member Stephen Brunet, for something that is “such a great experience,” it wasn’t as common when he was enrolled in university.

Brunet, an associate professor of classics, will be the on-site director for the UNH London Program beginning in the fall semester of 2016.

In regards to getting accepted into a study abroad program, Brunet offered his input on the matter.

“You’re not likely to be turned down,” he said. “Most people don’t study abroad because they don’t meet GPA requirements or they have student conducts conflicts.”

The minimum cumulative GPA requirement for a UNH-approved program is 2.5 .  Along with that, a student must have earned at least 32 semester hours of credit, and be in good standing with the student conduct system.

Nathan Underwood, a graduate student with a BA in Spanish, had previously studied abroad in both Granada and Costa Rica, and is a strong advocate for studying abroad.

“I’ll recommend it to every person I will ever meet. I mean it, 100 percent. There is no other way to assimilate into a culture in such a manner,” he said. “You can’t get that from a class.”

Students spend time checking out  the places they can go during the study abroad fair.
Students spend time checking out the places they can go during the study abroad fair.
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