Global Education restarts annual Passport Fair

The Global Education department is set to host its first post-pandemic Passport Fair on Nov. 16 in the Henderson Campus Center. All Allegheny students have the opportunity to apply for a passport for free, saving $180 in fees.
After being shut down for the past few years, Brita Doyle, assistant dean for global education, plans to restart a series of study away events that make the program more accessible for all students.
“Allegheny College really feels that all students should be able to travel abroad,” Doyle said. “The world is back open and we want to encourage students to be ready for opportunities that present themselves.”
The Passport Fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students need to sign up online for a timeslot. Information about signing up is posted on the Global Education department’s website.
While the college covers the cost of applying for a passport, students will need to bring three documents to their appointment: an original birth certificate, a completed application form available at the college post office and a government-issued photo ID.
Doyle explained that the application process is pretty straightforward.
“At the event, you’ll come at your time slot,” Doyle said. “(The post office clerks) will review those documents and take the application and then the student is done.”
After turning in their form, students get their passport photo taken. The post office then sends the forms to the State department and students will receive their passports in the mail, Doyle explained.
“It can seem like an overwhelming bureaucratic process,” Doyle said. “By bringing the passport clerks from the post office to the campus and by funding the cost of the passport for students, what I hope is that we are making it a lot easier for students to get a passport, so that they are that much closer to the next step of gaining an international experience.”
To Doyle, studying abroad is one of the most enriching things a student can do during their time in college.
“You can learn a lot about yourself as well by going to another country and being removed from all of your normal surroundings,” Doyle said. “It’s during those experiences that I think students gain an ability to handle ambiguity, they learn to be more flexible, they learn to navigate difficult situations, they learn to work with folks from different backgrounds and perspectives from their own.”
Faythe Shulte, ’23, attested to the positive benefits of studying abroad. Double majoring in French and Environmental Science, Shulte spent her spring 2022 semester studying in Paris, France, through Boston University’s Paris internship program.
“It’s really hard to put into words how amazing — and, it’s cheesy, but — life-changing study away was,” Shulte said. “I learned so much more about myself and about not only who I am as a person, but where I’d like to go in life. It was just amazing to immerse myself in a language and culture that I love.”
Shulte added that going into college she had planned to study abroad, it was just a matter of choosing where. She already had a passport before coming to Allegheny, but many of her friends did not. Shulte remarked how crowded the Passport Fair was during her first year.
“It was so popular,” Shulte said, gesturing towards the campus center lobby. “This whole area was filled with people getting passports.”
However, studying abroad is not the only reason for students to get their passports. Class of 2026 President Sam Ault explained that, although they are attending the fair, as of right now they have no intention of studying away.
“I’m not actively attempting to study away but I would love to not have to pay for my passport,” Ault said. “Also, as a PA resident, I can’t fly with my driver’s license.”
Ault explained that getting their passport serves a number of purposes. Primarily, they can use it to fly domestically. They also plan to use it to travel abroad in the future. However, Ault was quite firm in their decision to stay at Allegheny instead of studying abroad.
“Do I want to leave campus?” Ault asked. “I love it here.”
Lydia Wagner, ’26, however, has been set on studying abroad since she began looking into colleges.
“That (study away program) is one of the reasons why I choose to come here,” Wagner said. “I was really happy with the amount of programs they have available for students.”
Wagner has already begun to look into which program she might attend. Right now, her frontrunner is the environmental science trip to Costa Rica.
“I think that will be a really fun experience for me to be able to immerse myself like that in environmental science and Spanish,” Wagner said.
Much like Ault, Wagner mentioned that the fee savings convinced her to sign up.
“I was really intrigued by the fact that they would be waiving the fee,” Wagner said. “That’s a pretty big savings so I’m going to have to do this.”
Ault and Wagner are not the only ones taking advantage of this event. Thus far, 61 students have signed up for the passport fair, according to Global Education’s sign-up sheet. That is approximately $10,890 worth of passports being covered by the President’s Office. However, there are still numerous spots open. Doyle explained that the goal of the event is to help as many students as possible, so there is no cap on the number of people attending.
“We want to remove one of the barriers (to study abroad) for those students,” Doyle said. “As many students as we are able to schedule to come between nine and three that day are able to get passports.”
This is not the only thing that the Global Education department is doing to help students. Doyle explained that with the world opening back up, the department plans to restart many of their annual events that were put on hold during COVID.
“I will continue to hold general education sessions at the beginning of each semester,” Doyle said. “In the next academic year, we will be reinstating our study abroad fair … These are the types of things that we are relaunching now that the world is opening back up.”
She emphasized that study abroad is an opportunity that every student should consider. For those on the fence as to whether or not to travel, Doyle said they should meet with her to talk it out.
“The Global Education department is here to help prepare students for their experience,” Doyle said. “Come talk to me and ask questions and help me understand what your doubts are. I’m happy to talk with students about the circumstances they are in, in their personal, professional, and academic lives here and help see if it is a possibility.”
She added that no matter what a student studies, there is a way for them to study abroad.
“With some careful planning, students can study abroad no matter what their major is,” Doyle said.
Shulte agreed, explaining that Allegheny makes it “economically feasible” for students to travel abroad.
“If you have the opportunity and it works, take it,” Shulte said. “There are a whole lot of different scholarships and things like that which made study away, for me, less expensive than being at Allegheny for a semester.”