ISTC offices expand, offer students more travel services

by Mike Zacharias

The University’s International Study and Travel Center received a makeover this the summer.

Employees revised and expanded the library in its Blegen Hall office, and now the center has decided to specialize its services.

Martha Johnson, ISTC director, said the center no longer does any advising on academic or study abroad programs because Global Campus already does that job well.

“What we did add was a lot more information and advising and resources on work-abroad programs, intern-abroad programs, volunteer-abroad programs and general travel information,” Johnson said.

Also, information and resources for full graduate programs outside the United States, and other opportunities for University graduate students, have been expanded.

Johnson said these resources haven’t been offered at the University until now.

In addition to updated literature and information on foreign travel, ISTC offers travel supplies such as student identification cards and European Rail passes.

“The nice thing is that we still offer all of these goods at discounted rates that are definitely hands-down cheaper than anyone else in the area,” Johnson said.

And the center has fielded questions from students concerned about the risks of traveling after the this month’s terrorist attacks.

“I’d say we’re getting questions, but we’ve been amazed at how many people feel that this will not influence their plans,” Johnson said.

She also said ISTC improved the quality of information available so students can keep current on any troublesome places they might want to avoid. The center put a link to the State Department on its home page. Advisers are also staying up to date on State Department advisories and warnings.

“There are all sorts of things you can do if you are nervous that can help you travel more safely,” Johnson said.

Some University graduate students said they like the service and counseling changes ISTC made.

Bridget O’Connor, a graduate student of liberal studies and a University employee, said it was reassuring to talk with the well-traveled employees of ISTC.

O’Connor went to ISTC before leaving for a three-week European study abroad program, which she hoped to lengthen by at least a week.

“I utilized the resources that they had to plan that extended trip,” said O’Connor, who talked to an ISTC employee who had lived in Europe. “It was very helpful to me to know that there were people who traveled before.”


Mike Zacharias welcomes comments at [email protected]