Fisher Holds First-Ever Study Abroad Festival

February 25, 2019

St. John Fisher College hosted its first-ever Study Abroad Festival in February, raising awareness about the array of study abroad programs available to students. And for 20 lucky students, the festival was an opportunity to apply for a passport through Monroe County, free of charge.

Jen Pluretti with the Center for Career and Academic Planning talks with two students about study abroad opportunities at Fisher.

“A passport is the first step to imagining possibilities of studying abroad or traveling in search of discovery; it is truly a gift of exploration and a ticket to getting to know the world beyond one’s scope,” said Dr. Stella Plutino-Calabrese, director of global education at Fisher, who estimated more than 200 students stopped by the festival. “I am grateful to our affiliate AIFS for their generous support in providing scholarships and free passports to our students and want to thank Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello for sending a representative from his office to campus and processing the passports.”

Ethan Draper arrived at the festival at 7 a.m. and was the first in line to receive a passport, which he’ll use when studying abroad in Russia next semester.

Draper said he’s always been fascinated by the history and culture of the country, and has been learning the language as an independent study with Dr. Robert Dunbar, visiting instructor of religious studies and program director of international studies.

“I look forward to putting my language skills into practice. I have never been abroad for a long duration and it will be a test to see how well I survive,” Draper said.

AIFS Study Abroad served as a sponsor for the event, offsetting the cost of refreshments and County passport services, and providing funds for two study abroad scholarships. Kerri Orbach, who is headed to Salamanca, Spain in spring 2020, and Meghan Hurley won the two $500 scholarships available to help fund their study abroad ventures.

Students welcome visitors to the Study Abroad Festival.

AIFS has partnered with the College for more than 15 years, offering its more than 20 different study and internship abroad opportunities to Fisher students.

“Identifying lack of passport as a surmountable barrier to study abroad came about after discussion with a number of stakeholders on campus, including the Study Abroad team and the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs,” said Maura Cassells, regional director, Northeast, for AIFS. “In helping to address this barrier, it is our hope that overseas study and travel may become a reality to an even wider array of Fisher students.”

In addition to the passport station, faculty and staff from the Center for Career and Academic Planning (CCAP), the Registrar’s Office, and Office of Student Financial Services Aid were on hand to answer questions about study abroad including financial aid, course scheduling, and planning. The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Programs collaborated with AIFS to provide a cultural array of food, as well.