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‘World Cafe’ Discussion: A World Without Borders

October 11, 2011
By: WSU News


Last Tuesday, the Student Center Blue Lounge and Exhibit Area was transformed into a buzzing hub for travel abroad opportunities for students and tales of overseas experiences. The successful event was hosted by Global Studies, the International Programs Office, and Theme Semester.

The Study Abroad Fair in the Exhibit Area was packed with students eager to learn about the various travel abroad programs. Roughly 20 vendors presented at the fair. Students could choose from hundreds of locations, including: Athena, Spain, Argentina, Florence, London, Sydney, South Africa, Ireland, China, Morocco, and so much more.

The “World Cafe” discussion in the Blue Lounge allowed for continuous conversation between attendees and two students and one faculty member who have traveled abroad. The open-floor format made the event intimate, informative, and interesting.

Communication and Global Studies Professor Carlos Fontes correlated his experience overseas with his definition of self. Fontes believes that immersing oneself into another country’s ideas and culture is a valuable and irreplaceable experience. The existence of borders has been metaphorically erased with globalization, he said, and urged undergraduate students to embrace the opportunities globalization makes possible. “It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s an adventure, and it’s new,” he said.

Olivia Saisa, a psychology and Spanish major, spent her last academic year in India. Saisa enjoyed her first semester in India so much that she requested an extension. She spoke about the affordability of the study abroad program. WSU provides financial assistance to make the experience feasible and enjoyable. Saisa is already planning her next study abroad trip. “I will never be able to put a price tag or a cap on the value of knowledge I acquired while studying abroad,” she said.

Alexandra Salcedo, a nonprofit management graduate student, is an international student from Ecuador enjoying her second study abroad program at WSU. “A degree can be hung on a wall; an abroad experience will always be hanging in your heart and thoughts,” she said. Salcedo presented seven benefits of participating in the study abroad program: to broaden your horizons, to value what you have, to practice another language, to increase your contacts and friends, to immerse yourself in another culture, to enhance your resume, and for personal reflection. She said that she never realized how large the world was beyond Ecuador, and she hopes to keep exploring it.

Written by By Ene Idoko ’11

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