Traveling Abroad Made Simpler With Passport Day

Courtney Garloff, Editor in Chief

   A passport is a key to the world, and the president is covering the cost.

   On Wednesday, March 25  Dallas Post office representatives will be in the Heritage Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library to help students obtain passports. This is a part of a university initiative to encourage more students to study abroad.

   “Students will be able to come to the event and get a photo taken for free, and then they can fill out the forms with the help of the Dallas Post Office {staff},” said Marguerite Roy, Visting Assistant Professor.

   University president Dr. Thomas Botzman will cover the cost of the photographs.

   TJ Arant, interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, said  a passport is an important document to own.

   “Too many people put off travel abroad because they don’t have a passport. Having a passport eliminates this worry,” said Arant.

   “You need one to travel abroad, and sometimes those opportunities present themselves in such a way that you don’t have the time to wait for passports to process. Plus, it’s a universally accepted form of identification,” he said.

   Roy said one of the first and most important steps to travel is obtaining a passport.

   The process consists of multiple steps: Students must have a photo taken, complete applications, and pay a fee.    

   The passport day event was planned to be a one-stop shop to simplify the process.

   Interested students should stop by the library from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. They must bring a photo ID, their original birth certificate and a$135 check made payable to the US Department of State.

   Students have the option to apply for a traditional passport book, a passport card or both. The type is dependent upon the countries students choose to visit.

   The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry and is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air.

   “Who doesn’t want to travel somewhere and get a new stamp in their book?  It’s very exciting,” said Roy.

   Organizers hope having more events like this will help the university increase the amount of students who travel abroad for academic credit, whether they take existing courses or those offered by independent service providers.

   “We want as many students as possible to have the experience of studying abroad,” said Roy.

   Roy and Arant stress the learning experiences they gained from studying abroad.

   “My daughters both traveled and studied abroad. When they returned, they were more confident, more knowledgeable, more curious about other cultures, and more wise and accepting. It’s almost impossible to study abroad and not come back home with new eyes, a different way of seeing things, even familiar things,” said Arant.

   International travel is also a fast track to learning a new language.

   “I studied abroad in France. Before I went I didn’t speak any French while my host family didn’t speak any English. I was immersed in the language. I feel that it was a great way for me to learn a new language and be able to communicate with more people,” said Roy.

   Study abroad experiences may also beef up students’ resumes.

   “You might be in the top percent of your class when you graduate, but so might someone else who is graduating from a different university. Studying abroad can really set you apart,” said Roy.