Study Abroad Worries--and What You Can Do About Them

by
CollegeXpress Student Writer, Tennessee Technological University

Jun   2017

Sat

17

So, you want to study abroad in college—but you’re just a little anxious about it. Never fear. Sarah is here to help you overcome your worries.

Are you thinking about studying abroad in college, but you’re just not sure yet? Maybe you really want to go to a foreign country, but you’re a little afraid of going alone. Or you’re not sure if you can study abroad as a freshman. Or maybe you don’t know if you will be able to afford it. Whatever the reasons, here are a few tips to help you tackle all your college study abroad worries.

If you’re worried about money…

Don’t automatically assume you can’t study abroad just because you’re not rich. Many colleges and universities offer scholarships for students who wish to study abroad but can’t afford it on their own, or they might extend your existing financial aid packages to cover studying abroad. If you haven’t seen anything like that advertised on campus, contact your college or university financial aid and study abroad departments to see if there is anything available. If there is, they should be able to point you in the right direction.

If you’re worried about study abroad messing with your classes and credits…

There are a lot of ways to get the credits you need for a degree. If you think you might want to study abroad, be sure to mention it to your academic advisor so you can plan to take extra classes before and/or after your trip if you need to. The earlier you start planning, the better. And there are a lot of options—you could take a couple of college classes in a month, or you could choose to spend a whole semester abroad. The options are endless.

If you’re worried about traveling alone…

Many colleges and universities do shorter departmental trips over spring break or for a few weeks in the summer. For example, a German class might visit Germany for a week, or nursing students may join a trip to Guatemala to help with record-keeping. These kinds of study abroad trips are typically shorter and led by a professor, so you will be surrounded by people you know in your major. Or you might find a more straightforward study abroad trip done over spring break, where it’s just for travel (and fun!).

Most importantly…

It’s okay to be a little anxious about studying abroad. It’s big and challenging and unknown. But it’s also important to remember that studying abroad is a life-changing experience. So it’s worth facing your fears—and growing from them.

Whether it’s for one week or six months, whether you visit one country or five, whether you go alone or with 30 other people, studying abroad is one of the best things you can do for yourself in your college career. Studying abroad exposes you to people and experiences you might never meet or see again in your life, and it is such a great way to meet new friends and learn a little more about the world we live in.

Related: The Experts' Choice: Colleges with Great Study Abroad Options

Studying abroad is a unique experience that, in addition to beefing up your résumé, expands your horizons as a person. Once you have lived and studied in a place other than your home, the world feels smaller and more inviting. It really is the chance of a lifetime, so if you get the opportunity to go, don’t worry about it!

What study abroad worries are troubling you, CollegeXpressers? Got any questions or suggestions for us? Leave a comment!

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About Sarah Millard

Sarah Millard

Sarah is a book-loving, coffee-drinking, sweatpants-wearing college senior who is about to have to find her own place in the real world. When she's not applying for marketing jobs or working on her senior projects, she can be found reading, hiking, or writing for her personal blog, which you can visit at missionincomplete95.wordpress.com.

 
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