Last Thursday, September 15th, the Department of International Programs hosted a study abroad fair in Springs Gym. Mr. Viet Ha, Director of International Programs and the coordinator of the study abroad fair, was interviewed.
When asked how he felt the study abroad fair went, Mr. Ha replied that “the staff did a great job organizing it!” He also thinks it’s great that the faculty who are leading the Maymesters were there, because their excitement gave students a more clear idea of what the trips will be like and added a more personal feel to the overall event.
One challenge Mr. Ha and the other coordinators faced was that of the venue. Finding a large central location to have the fair is very challenging. In years past, they have had it in the lower level of Springs or outside GDH. Having it in Springs was just too crowded and unorganized whereas outside GDH, there is a lot more room but it is often very hot. This year the set-up was great, but the gym is definitely out of the usual path of students. This was reflected in the numbers, over 120 people came which is a drop from previous years. The advantage to this, Mr. Ha says, was that it was a lot easier for the international students and PC students who have already studied abroad to share their experiences.
Mr. Ha believes that the objective of the fair was to recruit last-minute students for the spring semester, to show all the international options, and “to plant seeds” in the minds of students to travel. He feels that due to the excellence of the faculty promotion of the Maymesters, students were able to pick and choose what tables to visit.
Mr. Ha’s hope for students is that by the time they are done at PC, an international program of some sort is part of their experience. The international experience, says Ha, enhances the liberal arts education and prepares students for the world after college.