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**Debunking Travel Myths: Fair Hopes to Enlighten Wanderlust**

Galloway, N.J. — Louis Santiago-Conde, an esports management major, has a passion for travel but never considered studying abroad due to financial concerns. However, his perspective shifted dramatically after participating in the Education Abroad Fair at the Multicultural Center on Jan. 30. Realizing that financial aid could make studying abroad feasible, he now eagerly anticipates the opportunity to explore England, where gaming holds significant prominence.

Originally from Camden, Santiago-Conde expressed his initial reluctance turning into excitement as he engaged with representatives at the fair. Describing the experience as “very positive and awesome,” he acknowledged the newfound possibility of pursuing his academic interests overseas.

Patricia Sagasti Suppes

Patricia Sagasti Suppes, Stockton’s recently appointed Director of Global Engagement, aims not only to enhance study abroad options for Stockton students but also to facilitate opportunities for faculty members, such as exchanges and collaborative research ventures.

One prevalent misconception that senior Nikki Troehler seeks to debunk is the belief that studying abroad is prohibitively expensive. Working in [ppp1] and currently preparing for a summer program in Greece to complete her degree with minors in [ppp2] and [ppp3], Troehler, a Mays Landing native, reflects on her journey as a first-generation student. Despite initial doubts stemming from financial constraints and concerns about graduation delays, she emphasizes the accessibility of studying abroad and the debunking of prevalent myths.

Suppes, driven by the mission to remove barriers hindering students from international experiences, emphasizes the manifold benefits of studying abroad. She highlights the development of crucial skills like flexibility and adaptability, noting that students who engage in such programs often exhibit improved academic performance, timely graduation, and expanded career prospects.

In Suppes’ view, the most significant advantage lies in fostering international engagement among students, encouraging them to critically examine their cultural assumptions and broaden their worldview. By promoting deeper cultural immersion through faculty-led programs and emphasizing active student participation, she envisions a transformative educational experience that transcends traditional boundaries.

kamiya riley

Sophomore Kamiya Riley recently returned from a study excursion to Ghana under the guidance of Professor Donnetrice Allison.

Having participated in a West Africa class led by Allison, Riley found her experience in Ghana profoundly enriching, prompting her to volunteer at the fair to inspire fellow students to explore study abroad opportunities. Reflecting on the beauty of Ghana, its unique cuisine, language, and lifestyle, Riley expresses a newfound curiosity for global exploration.

Despite initial concerns about homesickness during extended stays abroad, Riley’s positive encounter in Ghana has fueled her desire to venture further. Expressing a keen interest in Thailand for its tranquility and allure, she eagerly anticipates future travel opportunities.

Troehler, echoing the transformative impact of travel on personal growth and perspective, emphasizes the value of cross-cultural understanding and empathy in today’s interconnected world. As she prepares to culminate her academic journey in Greece, she credits her experiences abroad for instilling patience, initiative, and a broader worldview essential for fostering global harmony.

— Story by Mark Melhorn, photos by Susan Allen