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 first-year student. Or maybe you don’t know if you'll be able to afford it. Whatever the reason, 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 package to cover studying abroad. If you haven’t seen anything like that advertised on campus, contact your school's financial aid and study abroad departments to see if there's 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 while studying in a foreign country. 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. There are also summer programs that allow you to be more flexible with your schedule. 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'll 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!).
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. It exposes you to people and experiences you might never meet or see again in your life, and it's a great way to meet new friends and learn a little more about the world we live in.
Start looking for scholarships to help finance your study abroad dreams using our Scholarship Search tool!