"This is a perfect place for moms, dads, and their students to rub shoulders and learn about the vast opportunities the Reves Center has to offer," said Guru Ghosh, director of global education at the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies, which sponsored the expo.
Representatives from all over the world came to speak to students about the international experience in the study abroad expo. Stephen Magee, vice president for external relations at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland, challenged William & Mary students to "Get a genuine experience, go somewhere sufficiently different than you're used to."
The Reves Center will soon launch a new dual-degree program with Saint Andrews that's unlike any other program in the world, said Ghosh. The new program is just one of dozens of travel opportunities, international support initiatives and educational events and programs offered through the center. It is the goal of the center to have one hundred percent of undergraduates study internationally.
Emily Hogge, global education services assistant in the Reves Center, said she was excited about the international expo because it allowed students who had been abroad to connect with those who had never traveled.
"The exchange of ideas and information between these two groups is by far the most unique," she said.
When asked about how to decide on the best study-abroad program for her, Christine Kennedy '12 commented, "I want to go somewhere I've never been before. This will be a special chance for me. I am a hopeful government major, and I am looking for courses that will give me credit toward the major and fit my academic interest. I am also looking at doing a summer program rather than a full semester away from the College."
Other than having taken a number of enriching courses, travelers were most eager to talk about the lifelong friendships they have made abroad. Sneha Raghavan ‘12 provided her perspective on relationships she has made.
"I was surprised when I went to Sicily last summer," she said. "I got a chance to bond with other William & Mary students who I may have never crossed paths with and met otherwise. It's amazing how much you can learn."
Lamar Shambley '10, a Hispanic studies major, was able to travel to Spain last semester and attend the University Pablo de Olavide. He shared his view on building relationships internationally.
"I was able to immerse myself in Spanish culture, meet plenty of Spaniards, and I have friends from Turkey, France and all over the world," he said. "I learned a lot about myself, what it means to be American."
The possibilities for international experiences are as diverse as they are numerous. Emma Tuohy '10 participated in a study abroad program at the University of Capetown in South Africa, which provided both academic and service-learning experiences for students.
"Not only was I able to learn about South African government and take side-trip Safaris, but I tutored children in the villages. It was the perfect balance," said Tuohy.
There is a sense of discovery in many who have traveled. Elaine Shou '10, an exchange student from the National Chengchi University in Taiwan talked about the cultural differences between William & Mary and her university.
"You have to be open, try new things. I love it here," she said.
Sophia Druet '12, who represented the Sciences Po Lille in France, encouraged William & Mary students, to travel "not just for sightseeing."
"Go abroad to challenge every stereotype you may have about another culture. That's where the learning starts."