Study abroad fair goes virtual

Students can’t study abroad, however, until summer 2021

Bailey Brendel ® Staff Writer |

If you love to travel and experience new cultures, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s study abroad program is for you.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has eliminated study abroad opportunities for this academic year, MNSU’s study abroad program held its first-ever virtual study abroad fair. 

The program has 20 baccalaureate programs and 15-20 MNSU exchange programs. Students can study abroad for a semester, over the summer or for an entire academic year. 

There are programs available for major-specific, minor-specific, general education and language courses as well as extra interest areas. 

According to Anna Ochs, the Interim Education Abroad Advisor at MNSU, the fair was held on a new virtual system that was created specially for the event called “LunaTech Design”.

LunaTech allows students to access study abroad program information at MNSU. Users can join video chats with advisors and ask questions. While students may not be able to study abroad right now, they can access this program through the Study Abroad website, which will be up until Nov. 20. 

When talking about ways they hoped the fair would increase student participation, Ochs said, “Students like the ability to login and find a program instead of a time to talk with us that would work for them.” 

They kept this in mind while making LunaTech, so students can access information on the study abroad program on their own time. Unfortunately, there were no study abroad opportunities this summer, or in the fall of 2020. And they just received word there will be no study abroad trips in the spring of 2021 as well. 

According to Ochs, “Unfortunately, a lot of students had to defer their programs, and we brought students home during the spring semester.”

While they had to cancel studying abroad for the next year, the program has high hopes of returning in the fall of 2021. 

“We’re looking forward to a time where students should be able to go abroad safely. We’re adjusting, we’re adapting, and we’re able to help students with virtual programs,” said Ochs.

For more information, contact Ochs at anna.ochs@mnsu.edu. 

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