NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The next time Monique Miller travels she hopes to hear the words, “may I see your passport please?”
The sophomore Nursing major at Tennessee State University was able to move one step closer to her goal Tuesday when she attended the University’s 3rd annual Passport Fair, where she submitted her application for the all-important travel document that will help her see the world.
Miller wants to travel to France, New Amsterdam and Berlin this summer to study developmental psychology and knew today’s passport fair would help move her along her way.
“Ever since I started here, I wanted to study abroad,” said the Indiana native. “The (passport) fair was convenient and they even waived some fees so it was the perfect time to get the process started.”
Now in its third year, the Passport Fair is a joint effort by the Student Government Association and the Office of Diversity and International Affairs, to help make international travel easier for students, faculty and staff. According to Mark Brinkley, director of International Education, acquiring a passport has been one of the biggest barriers to the study-abroad program and a reason the two organizations joined forces.
“We started this program three years ago when then SGA president, David Rowles, saw a need to help our students participate in study abroad programs,” said Brinkley. “We were able to work with the U.S. Department of State to bring the one-stop passport fair here to students so they really have no reason not to apply for one.”
Government officials traveled from South Carolina to the University this week specifically for the Passport Fair, and not only will help students here, but will also travel to Vanderbilt and Belmont universities as part of a joint venture.
“This is a first for any Tennessee Board of Regents institution and we’ve been able to help not only our students here at Tennessee State, but also some of our partner institutions,” added Brinkley. “We know our students are not the only ones who travel outside of the U.S. We want to help all global travelers, whether they be our students or our neighbors.”
Since the Passport Fair began in 2012, nearly 120 students have applied and received passports. Brinkley said he expects to help an additional 20-30 through this year’s fair.
“This truly is an opportunity for students to receive a cross-cultural experience through the study-abroad programs,” added Brinkley. “But the first step is getting the passport.”
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.