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The Go Abroad fair on 17 October 2018 was a big success, with throughout the day a good 300 visitors who popped in and out of the fair and attended the info sessions. Besides the VUB International Relations office, there were some 20 stands at the fair offering advice and information to give to anyone interested in going abroad for studies, internships and volunteer work.
The info sessions were equally well attended with presentations from BAEF on studies and research options in the US, Bouworde vzw, Jint vzw talking about volunteer work in Europe, EU Careers, and of course the colleagues from the VUB International Relations office, explaining what opportunities there were for students to go abroad as part of their study programme.
During the fair there was a chance to win an interrail pass. The idea behind the interrail pass was to encourage students to take those first international steps, to lower the threshold towards a brand new experience, but in a sustainable manner (i.e. by train). On Thursday 25 October, the two winners – Elisa and Marie - dropped by the VUB International Relations office. They each win an interrail pass for travel by train in Europe during a whole month. Marie is studying Language and Literature, English/Dutch (2nd year bachelor’s programme) and Elisa is in her 2nd year bachelor’s programme in political sciences. [continue reading below picture]
Both are keen to travel more and have a wish list. They checked out the Go Abroad fair for ideas for an exchange within the Erasmus+ programme. Exactly where they want to go to and when they don’t know just yet, but they are checking out the options. Elisa is keen to explore the world outside Europe, with South Africa, the US and Australia on her dream-short list. Marie hasn’t yet been beyond Europe, but her top 3 destinations are New York, Berlin and Greece. For her exchange programme options though she is looking at somewhere to improve her English, related to her studies, so most likely an exchange in the UK.
When asked what motivates them to look for more information towards studying abroad, they both agreed it was about improving language skills, making friends abroad, and experiencing something that is different and new. Possible points that might make them hesitate are their parents, costs and maybe a boyfriend… although there is that old adage, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ of course! However, even these initial doubts should soon evaporate given that VUB manages different grants and scholarships for studies abroad and offers extra financing through social services (e.g. an international allowance). Partner institutions are also selected based on the support they provide students (socio-psychological, etc.)
If you want to know more about going abroad for your studies, internships or for volunteer work, and you missed the Go Abroad Fair at the VUB, then contact your faculty coordinator, check the webpages on the student portal, or contact the VUB International Relations office (firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, there is another go abroad fair taking place in Gent on 25 November 2018, if you need some more inspiration.