On Wednesday Feb. 3 the Gallagher Center hosted a Study Away Expo for all to come learn about their programs. The Expo was held in the Muenster University Center ball room and had several tables set up with different programs for students interested to learn about and ask questions.
Study Abroad and national student exchange advisor for the Gallagher Center for Experiential Learning and Education Abroad (Gallagher Center), Jessica Winterringer, said a lot of planning went into the expo because they really wanted to be able to have a face-to-face experience while ensuring safety by following COVID-19 regulations.
“We had spent the whole year already doing virtual stuff and we wanted to give somewhat of a physical event a try, so we decided to do the MUC ballroom because it was largest and would accommodate for social distancing,” Winterringer said.
The event was set up in different stations and students were given a passport booklet that they took to each station and filled up with stamps after visiting each. Students who filled their booklets received a Gallagher Center mug.
Some of these stations included a financial aid table for students to learn about affordable programs for them as well as a passport station where students were able to apply for passports and even renew existing ones. Also included was a virtual reality station.
“Students could go anywhere in the world and be able to see it for their own eyes,” Winterringer said.
Some alumni of Study Abroad also made an appearance to tell students about their personal experiences as well.
The Gallagher Center offers several options for students who are interested in traveling while continuing their educations such as with faculty led programs, national student exchange, study abroad and service learning.
Winterringer said she currently has several students study away through the National Student Exchange program and has plans for more in the upcoming semesters.
“I currently have one in Washington State, one in Hawaii, another in Colorado Springs, Colorado and lastly Missoula, Montana,” Winterringer said.
The National Student Exchange also extends to U.S. territories like Puerto Rico and Guam as well as Canada.
Faculty-Led Program Coordinator Holgar Oswald said he currently has plans for a sustainability group to go to Malta and Sicily during winter break, a health service administration group going to Cuba during spring break of 2022 and several programs during summer 2022. One of these trips will be in Greece where students can receive credits in English and History.
“Within just three weeks where they are traveling to Greece they are sailing on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea they can scuba dive and go to all the big signs, the Acropolis and the stadium where the original Olympic Games came from 2000 years ago,” Oswald said.
Oswald said the Expo has shown them that there is still a need for students to want to travel despite COVID-19.
“There’s a lot of need to do something. Students really like to explore the options to really go abroad and look at everything. They’re really open and we’d like to support that,” Oswald said.
Winterringer said the goal of the Expo was to let students know that these options are still available to them and to keep students looking forward.
“Just keeping the momentum going because we’re all so tired and we’re stuck at home and don’t get to go anywhere so keeping students motivated to think ahead,” Winterringer said.
Winterringer said some of the dates might seem far away, but once students start the planning stages it comes rather quickly.
Students interested in any of the programs offered by the Gallagher Center are encouraged to make an advising appointment to discuss their options.