Journey On, Travel Bugs!
Starting this spring, there is a new group on campus for those wanting to develop their cultural awareness. The group was founded by three seniors—Emily Gross, Carolyn Gribble and Abby Zelenka—who share a passion for traveling developed while studying abroad in the spring of their junior years. “Students don't have enough opportunities to share their stories of overseas travel or have a good venue to engage others,” the seniors stress. “We want to fix that.”
The UNH Travel Bugs have a full agenda of ideas to reach out to campus and beyond. According to Carolyn, they hope to “create presentations on various regions of the world, initiate sessions and events about international travel, work, volunteer and intern abroad opportunities, and bring alumni from different countries and different types of programs together with students interested in studying abroad to talk about their experiences and share advice.” They also hope to collaborate with international students on campus and partake in study abroad pre-departure and re-entry-related conferences.
The Travel Bugs' inaugural event is the International Festival on April 17th. This is a fundraiser for international students here at UNH, where there will be food, performances, a fashion show and an auction. The Travel Bugs are building a Facebook community and hold meetings once every few weeks. All students are welcome to attend. “We hope to create an online blog where students can post travel pictures, ask questions about things such as packing advice for upcoming trips, hostels and the best places to travel,” says Carolyn. UNH Study Abroad Advisor Leo Meijer, who advises the student group, knows firsthand how eager students are to engage when they return from an incredible experience abroad: “At the Center for International Education, we advise all students and help them prepare for their academic journeys abroad. Students definitely appreciate our process, but I know it makes a huge difference when they talk directly to students who have already been abroad.” According to Meijer, “they get the real scoop on a place and what it will be like traveling there. Nothing beats student-to student storytelling to inspire them to travel and study abroad.”