International Education Week looks to entice more students
By Trevor Conlow
International Education Week is ongoing at Kean University, yet with over 13,000 students in attendance at Kean, fewer than 150 students participate in international study abroad programs yearly.
The answer to this dilemma is often times the same amongst students; the perception of financial hardship takes the dream of studying abroad far from what they believe is possible.
But there is a lot of information that many students overlook when considering if a study abroad education is a feasible venture that is worth the challenges involved in applying and coordinating. All one has to do to learn more is make their way to the center for international studies in Kean Hall.
Stephen Ferst, the director at the Center for International Studies, had several insightful tips for students who want to enjoy the benefits of studying abroad but believe they have no way to pay for it.
“I think that the financial barrier is a myth,” Ferst said. “What students often miss out on is that the financial differential is rather small. For example, for a student living on campus who wants to study abroad the financial costs are usually around 10 percent to 15 percent more than what one would be paying here (Kean), and in some cases it can actually be cheaper than the cost of attendance.”
Scholarships and financial aid are readily available. A number of students who receive the Federal Pell Grant to study at Kean often qualify for additional aid that most students don’t even know about, which can be applied in addition to the aid they already receive towards their study abroad expenses.
“A lot of the organizations that we work with offer direct scholarships, and additional ones are available through financial aid,” Ferst said. “A number of our students who receive the Federal Pell Grant are eligible to apply for additional scholarships that can allow them to study just about anywhere in the world.”
As a fellow traveler himself (Ferst studied in Israel for six months during his undergraduate years), Ferst wants to encourage more students to reach out to the international studies department and learn how beneficial studying abroad can be for students. So, he has been proactively working to promote International Education Week to students at Kean in order to try and raise awareness.
International Education Week (IEW) offers week long celebrations and awareness campaigns that stress the importance of international education and the future of students in undergraduate and graduate studies around the world.
Those interested in studying abroad can learn more by stopping in at the Center for International Studies in Kean Hall room 225 on the second floor.