Of the 30,000 students who started the new school year in August, 60 came to Blacksburg from 15  institutions that are partners with Virginia Tech.

When international students come to Blacksburg, many Virginia Tech students take the opportunity to switch places with their international peers. The exchanges create new experiences for students such as William "Billy" Vician, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who spent spring semester 2015 attending classes at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey. In turn, two students from Koc University are currently studying in Blacksburg.

Such exchanges can occur over a semester or full academic year under programs managed by the Global Education Office. The Virginia Tech-Koc exchange will be one of several programs represented at the annual daylong Global Education Fall Fair on Sept. 21 on the Drillfield.

The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include more than 70 information tables on faculty-led and third-party opportunities for students to travel or study abroad. Past and current exchange students will be on hand to share and answer questions about their respective programs.

Vician, a senior majoring in construction engineering and management in the College of Engineering, said he benefited from the partnership between Koc University and Virginia Tech, established in 2012.

"After spending six months in Turkey, I gained a new cultural understanding of not only another country, but also of my own," Vician said. "This has aided my engineering studies, especially in finding new ways to solve problems that may be culturally sensitive." 

Vician stayed in Turkey after his program ended to participate in a Project Go program. He serves as a peer advisor in the Global Education Office and is also member of University Honors, Corps of Cadets, and the Air Force ROTC programs.

Global Education Fall Fair on the Drillfield
The Global Education Fall Fair features over 70 study-abroad opportunities, including exchange programs.

Chelsey Watts, assistant director for partnerships and affiliations, said that international experiences broaden students' perspectives.

"Apart from the academic and cultural benefits, exchange programs can also be a cost-effective way to study abroad, since tuition and comprehensive fees are paid to the home institution," she said.

Information on funding and scholarships will be provided at the fair. Representatives from related programs (the Peace Corps, Cranwell International Center, Student Conduct, and VT Engage, among others) will be on site to answer questions.

The Global Education Office is part of Outreach and International Affairs

Those with a disability who desire accommodation are encouraged to contact the Global Education Office at 540-231-5888 or email vtabroad@vt.edu during regular business hours. 

Written by Rommelyn Conde Coffren

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