CWU’s education abroad fair allows students to learn about options for studying abroad


Megan Rogers

Sign at the entrance of the Education Abroad Fair in SURC 137.

Megan Rogers, Senior Reporter

CWU hosted the Education Abroad Fair in the SURC on Nov. 16. The purpose of this fair was to introduce students to the different options available through CWU and partnering organizations for studying abroad. 

The Education Abroad Fair had representatives from the Study Abroad and Exchange Program’s office, faculty-led programs and CWU’s partner organizations.

Matthew Zielsdorf, senior study abroad advisor, said the message they hope to get across at the fair is that studying abroad can be accessible, affordable and life-changing. 

“Those experiences translate to other things, like, having the intercultural experience and being able to understand that other people come from different places or to get that global perspective too that directly translates into your career,” Zielsdorf said. 

Colton Oliphant represented WorldStrides, one of CWU’s partner organizations. Oliphant said what makes WorldStrides unique is that they offer different support services, such as a resident director who are dedicated to making sure students have a well-cared-for experience. 

“If you were not quite sure how a cultural interaction [went], maybe someone was frustrated and you didn’t understand why, the resident director will give you information on what may have happened and talk through it,” Oliphant said.

Oplilant said that WorldStrides will also have an apartment set up for students in the place they are studying abroad and resident directors can help students work with the contractors if any maintenance problems arise. 

WorldStrides gives students options to travel to the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe, Central America, Oceania and South America. 

Richard Menard was representing the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) at the fair. Menard said USAC tries to keep studying abroad affordable for students.

“We [USAC] go to a secondary city. We’ll be in Pau or Lyon in France and in Italy, we’re in Verona and Reggio Emilia,” Menard said. “[It] helps keep down the costs and because we’re like one of the only organizations that’s there, we’re not fighting with everybody else to find housing or compete with faculty or staff.”

Students also have the option to do internships abroad. Christopher Adams was representing IE3 Global which is a company that offers international internships to students. 

“We do operate on a quarter schedule like CWU so we can be a good fit if you don’t want to do a whole semester abroad, like a lot of other programs,” Adams said. “You’re working 35 to 40 hours a week on-site with a small to medium-sized business that’s going to be mentoring you in your field of interest for an internship.”

Keith Lewis, professor of jewelry & metalsmithing, was at the fair talking about the study abroad programs the Art and Design Department offers. 

“We [the Art and Design Department] offer some short-term study abroad programs that start with a course here on campus to learn a little bit about the history and art of the place we’re visiting,” Lewis said. “Then we usually spend 12 or 14 days at a site.”

Lewis said you don’t have to be an art major to be a part of this study abroad program. 

Steven Cook, associate director of education abroad, said students who are interested in the study abroad programs can join the virtual information sessions that Study Abroad & Exchange Program hosts. The sessions take place every Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon.

“If they can’t make it … they can reach out to either myself or to Matthew Zielsdorf and schedule a one-on-one appointment to kind of talk about different options,” Cook said. 

Cook said having study abroad options for students is important because it allows them to gain intercultural skills. 

“Having an experience that is crossing cultural lines can help inform how you work with  [different] populations,” Cook said

Cook said studying abroad can also allow you to gain access to different kinds of academic programs that may not exist at CWU. 

“Ellensburg isn’t exactly a tropical location. So if you’re interested in Tropical Ecology or biology, then going to a place like Costa Rica, where those things are, are in their natural habitats,” Cook said.