Students and Global Education Office staff hosted an informational panel for students interested in studying abroad last Wednesday, March 23, at 6 p.m.

The meeting in regard to the attacks that took place in a Brussels, Belgium, airport on March 22, 2016, in which 31 people died, according to the New York Times. These attacks have raised concerns for students studying abroad, especially those who are drawn toward visiting Europe, the Times reported.

Although the attacks are still so recent in many people’s minds, the panel of students that hosted this study-abroad student panel focused on the countless opportunities that learning overseas offers.

“There will always be danger somewhere in the world,” Plattsburgh State Study Abroad Adviser Ingrid Almaguer said. “But it shouldn’t stop students from experiencing the world.”

A mere 1.5 percent of all students in the U.S. enrolled in higher-education programs in the United States, according to a study done by the National Association International Educators. That percentage translates to a total of 304,467 students. Despite the fact that NAFSA studies suggest the study-abroad program is growing PSUC senior international business major Darren Taylor, the point person for the panel, urged students to take advantage of this opportunity.

“I took away so much from my experience studying abroad in China,” Taylor said. “I was able to work with people from different cultures and I learned how to survive in a completely foreign setting.”

Because of his personal experiences, Taylor’s main goal while speaking on the panel was to encourage students of business and economics to expand their horizons. The panel focused on this select group of students because many study-abroad courses that deal with business and economics are offered in English.

From a business standpoint, Taylor believes it is essential for undergraduate students to reach out to a variety of places around the world.

Forty percent of the companies that were evaluated in a study by U.S. Business Needs for Employees, a scholarly journal, were not able to capitalize on international business opportunities due to the lack of “internationally competent people,” according to the study.

Currently, the GEO offers students the opportunity to travel to Antarctica, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, England, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Spain.

“Before I went to the meeting I had no idea how many options I actually had when it came to where I could study abroad,” PSUC sophomore international business major Daniel Merrick said. “After hearing what the panel had to say, I’m excited to explore my options and see what’s out there.”

There was no mention of the Brussels attack, nor were there questions from the audience regarding the attacks at the meeting. However, Merrick believes that the people who are interested in studying abroad understand the risks involved. He also believes that the risk is worth the reward.

“I’ve always heard that there is a higher chance of dying on the way to the airport than on the plane itself,” Merrick said. “Going through every day, life has its risks, but it should never stop you from doing what you want.”

Email Kevin Morley at kevin.morley @cardinalpointsonline.com

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