Kiera Savage

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The International Center at Winthrop University hosted its first study abroad fair for the 2019-20 school year, which is intended to introduce students to the various locations around the globe where they can choose to study.

The fair, which was hosted Sept. 12 in the Richardson Ballroom of the DiGorgio Campus Center, included poster boards with information about the different countries and students who have visited or studied there were available to answer questions.

“The International Center works primarily with two different functions: one serves to receive incoming international students at Winthrop University and the second is to work with our outgoing students who want to study abroad,” said Dr. Leigh Poole, director of the International Center and coordinator of the study abroad fair.

According to Poole, Winthrop currently has over 100 international students from 40 different countries enrolled for the fall semester who are working on obtaining a four-year degree.

Bautista Vivanco, a freshman from Argentina, is one of the many international students involved in athletics, serving as a manager for track and field team.

This is his first semester at Winthrop, but Vivanco is already a member of the Culture Club and the World Ambassadors Club.

“I don’t feel overwhelmed by the other students or not even with my classes. I am able to speak one-on-one with my professors,” said Vivanco.

“I really appreciate the focus that the university has on interculturality and global awareness. Relating a lot of cultural activities, like the global and cultural events are fantastic for broadening the student’s horizons,” he said.

Students who are interested in studying abroad are encouraged to prepare well in advance to help the process run smoothly.

“I spent a lot of time applying for scholarships. I think the hardest thing was making sure that I got everything in before the deadline. Make sure you look at them ahead of time,” said junior Mars Hogue, who studied in Argentina.

However, for students who aren’t able to study abroad, there are still opportunities to get a similar experience through cultural events offered by the International Center.

“We also have a number of opportunities for global learning to happen throughout the course of the year, in which we sometimes collaborate with different departments around campus,” said Poole.

“Everything from an International Tea that we host in November, to different panels and sessions throughout the year, casual Fridays and all kinds of ways for Winthrop students to get global experiences, while they are right here in Rock Hill.”

Poole created a course three years ago to help students gain knowledge about the process of studying abroad.

“Primarily we have a lot of students very interested in what we call our ‘Winthrop programs’ and that is 21 different partnerships from 19 different countries,” she said.

“That is where that particular program option, if it’s a Winthrop program, its guaranteed Winthrop tuition and the room and board varies in terms of where you are going. If you’re getting an apartment or if you’re staying on campus…those room and board costs will vary.

“So students know going in the door exactly what the Winthrop tuition is going to go towards, it’s going to go towards one of those 21 programs.”

However, students are able to study in almost any country in the world, as long as they get approval and pay the costs of living and tuition.