World Wide Whitewater

Global experiences come to campus

Brayden Lantta, Staff Reporter

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater went worldwide Tuesday, Sept. 17 for the annual Global Experience Fair. The fair took place on the campus mall between the University Center and Hyland Hall, and over to Upham Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event’s purpose is to help make students aware of the study abroad program opportunities and connections the campus has all over the world. If a student wants to study outside of the country, Whitewater has a connection for them.

The fair also hosts students who have done abroad programs and come back to share their experiences and answer questions. Additional services provided by the fair include internships, service projects, student teaching, and more than 30 exchange opportunities at overseas universities which are similar in cost to Whitewater. There were also several faculty-led programs that offer group travel opportunities lasting from two to three weeks.

Thanks to affiliations with outside organizations, hundreds of customizable programs are also offered. For any student, from freshman to senior standing, information is available – no matter what stage of the decision-making process they are in.

The Office of Global Experiences is made up of people who have participated in the programs themselves, and is located in McCutchan Hall, room 204, for anyone to learn about its opportunities.

A recent hire of the office, Shia Lee, is a graduate of UW-Whitewater who worked there as an intern before being hired in August as a full-time global experiences coordinator.

“Studying abroad had a big impact on my life,” said Lee. “And I want to encourage others to also step out of the familiar and see what the world has to offer.”

Ten years later, and the experiences are still important to Lee, who is now sharing them with students who might be looking for a larger view of the world outside of Whitewater, Wisconsin.

Also helping to organize the fair is John McGuigan, the director of the Office of Global Experiences. He got the position in January 2019, but has been a faculty member in the languages and literature department since 2004. He also participated in a study abroad program in London.

“It’s an eye-opening experience that will broaden your understanding of the world, and deepen your understanding of yourself,” said McGuigan.

He said it’s satisfying for him to observe the change that occurs in students who go through the program as they discover that they now have access to more skills, knowledge and self-confidence than they had before.

Indeed, it seemed that many students were eager to see what was on the table for them. The mall was crowded on Tuesday, but when there’s something this exciting going on, nothing less was expected. Those who had tables at the fair passed out fliers, brochures, hats, pens and pins to those looking and passing by. Conversations were often short but packed with useful information, with barely a question unanswered. UWW encourages students to reach out and see the world through a wider lens to gain a broader understanding of what their life means to the global community, both academically and socially.

Students who could not attend the fair and would like more information can stop in to the Office of Global Experiences in McCutchan room 204, or email questions to Shia Lee at [email protected], and to [email protected]. The office can also be reached by phone at 262-472-5759.