With more than 200 students signing in during the first half hour, Friday’s International Opportunities Fair in Payne Whitney Gymnasium’s Lanman Center attracted hundreds of people in search of overseas study and internship programs.
Representatives from 65 organizations from around the world offered information on summer internships, overseas work experiences, and study abroad programs. The 200 students who signed in at the entrance during the first 30 minutes were a record high for the fair, organizers said. But representatives from the abroad programs said few students seemed interested in leaving Yale to study abroad for more than a summer.
Ken Wagner of the Swedish Program observed that an overwhelming number of students were only interested in summer travel. The Swedish Program, which only provides semester-long study abroad opportunities, was one of the less-visited tables.
Students who attended had a simple explanation for their lack of interest — few were willing to give up on Yale life.
“There’s too much going on here,” Sulmaan Khan ’05 said, “I don’t want to miss a semester.”
Many students at the fair said they agreed, citing leaving behind friends, extracurricular opportunities, and the daily routine of Yale as too high a price to pay for a semester abroad.
One of a series of fairs sponsored by Undergraduate Career Services, the event was a part of a new focus by UCS to play a more integral role in the University, said MaryAnn Colonna, a UCS senior administrative assistant.
“This is just another means to get information out to undergraduates,” said Colonna.
The International Education and Fellowship Programs also sponsored the event.
IEFP Associate Director Karyn Jones, who helped plan the fair, said she hoped students would be encouraged to go abroad.
“You’re gaining a different perspective on the world, a global viewpoint, and realizing there’s a lot out there,” Jones said.
Students who have served as peer advisors for IEFP also attended the fair, saying they hoped to change other students’ views on going abroad.
“I remember on my first trip to Yale asking about studying abroad and the tour guide saying, ‘No one at Yale really does it.’ And that really kind of turned me off,” Ned Smith ’03 said. A former recipient of both the Light Fellowship and the Verite Fellowship, Smith said he was excited about the chance to “get the word out on something you’re going to love.”
Chesa Boudin ’03, another peer advisor, pointed out the value of studying abroad.
“It gives you a chance to reflect on who you are and where you come from,” Boudin said.