CIEE gives out over 100 free passports at DePaul

Over 100 DePaul students received free passports as part of an event held  by the CIEE Passport Caravan on Friday afternoon in room 325 of the Lincoln Park campus Student Center. Originally offered to students in the Daily Newsline email, the event was held in an effort to increase the accessibility of study abroad programs for DePaul students.

“We’re co-sponsoring the passport care event with CIEE – which is the Council of Educational Exchange – and the goal was basically to break down one more barrier for students to be able to afford to go abroad,” said Katie Saur, an associate director for advising and marketing who ran the event. “It’s part of what’s called generation study abroad, where they’re trying to double the number of students who are studying abroad. So it’s all under that initiative. We figured at DePaul, we know we have a lot of students who have demonstrated financial need, we have a very diverse student body, so basically covering the cost of a passport was one less barrier for them to be able to go abroad, so that was kind of the goal for the event.

“For students studying abroad, not only are they fulfilling academic requirements towards their degree but it is an opportunity to expand their world view and to really have that cross cultural experience where they’re kind of put in the shoes of an international student here in the U.S, getting to know another culture, and learning to adapt and be flexible and be patient,” Saur continued. “In some cases, students are improving their foreign language skills, problem-solving skills, I mean a lot of life skills and also career-related skills that students can use then when they’re applying for jobs or applying for graduate school.”

Four hours into the event, the response Saur and the rest of her team received was extremely positive.

“Students have been really excited,” she said. “Some students are already going to be using their passport over winter break, and then other students are applying for programs that are running in the spring and later on. And so students have been really excited about the event because the passports usually cost $140, which is a lot for a student to cover, so they’ve been excited about getting a free passport.”

For Cody Cwik, a sophomore business majorl, studying abroad is an attractive option that he hopes will increase his understanding of international business.

“This will be my first time studying abroad,” Cwik said. “[The appeal] is just kind of getting out of the country. I have never been outside the country, so being able to do that in an academic environment and being able to see the world and how it relates to business, which I’m studying. I think it allows students to be able to see the world in a different light, see different cultures and how it relates to their academic programs. Like I said, I’m studying business, so being able to see business with a global perspective is, I think, very helpful.”

Ryan Bold, a senior at DePaul, also got  his first passport at 1 p.m Friday afternoon. For the Palatine, Ill. native, he hopes a passport will lead to a trip to Japan or London.

“I was looking on DePaul’s website for announcements and I happened to see it [the event] and I was one of the last ones to sign up,” Bold said. “I’ve always wanted to travel abroad somewhere. I haven’t had a chance to study abroad yet, so this is a cool way to do it. Sometimes a study abroad trip can help, as part of your education to learn a lot on a trip and it’ll give you another perspective.”