Gannon holds possibilities abroad fair

Gannon University held its annual Possibilities Abroad Fair Tuesday to provide students with opportunities designed to expand their educational horizons.

The fair offered information about Alternative Break Service Trips, faculty-led trips, retreats and mission trips, semester exchanges and the T.R.A.V.E.L. program.

T.R.A.V.E.L. stands for Transforming Residents Abroad Via Engaged Learning.

These are service trip aimed at helping students understand topics that are important to the country they are traveling to.

The G.I.F.T. program (Gannon: Inspired Faculty-led Travel) conducts trips that are led by Gannon faculty members and offer academic credit for Gannon students in the Liberal Studies Core or within their specific major.

Associate Provost Kathleen Kingston, Ph. D., said the financial side of things was what traditionally held students back from going on these trips.

“We aim to help out students, to make sure that they can go on these trips if they want to and that money isn’t the only reason they can’t,” Kingston said.

In addition to fundraising, the G.I.F.T program also awards students Learning Abroad Scholarships based on merit and/or need to undergraduate students who are participating.

The amount awarded depends on how many people apply for these trips, how much scholarship money is available and the duration of the trip.

“The funding that we have to award for this year’s trips is…quite large,” Kingston said. “There is a very good chance that these trips will cost very little out-of-pocket.”

2014-2015 G.I.F.T. destinations include places such as the Bahamas, Sweden, Thailand, Paris, and Barcelona.

Students also have the option to spend a semester, a year or a summer abroad at one of Gannon’s partner universities.

These universities include Mary Immaculate College in Ireland, American University of Rome in Italy and Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences in Germany.

Different programs are offered at these colleges such as English, psychology, archeology, communications and more.

These trips allow students to use their Gannon scholarships and financial aid, as well as their state and federal financial aid to fund their trip.

Instead of students using their financial aid for Gannon, they would use their financial aid for the international university of their choice.

Several Alternative Break Service Trips are sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns every year during Gannon’s spring break.

Leah Johnson is a sophomore social work major and co-leader of the Alternative Break Service Trip to Merida, Mexico.

Johnson will be visiting Mexico and working closely with the Mission of Friendship and some of their local partners.

The group going on the trip hopes to work with the after-school program, the nursing program and a medical clinic but will work wherever they are most needed.

“I believe they’re a great opportunity to not only give back, but to experience cultures that are different,” Johnson said.

“It gives you a different perspective of the global community and expands your knowledge of the world immensely.”

 

SAMANTHA GRISWOLD

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