Learn the truth about studying abroad

By Bonnie Bottner
Published August 21, 2013

Does studying in another country top your academic “bucket list?” Do you feel there are too many deterrents keeping you from packing your bags? If you think you can’t study abroad, think again… read on for the reasons you can – and should.

Myth: I can’t afford to study abroad.

Study abroad programs often cost the same amount as studying at your home college or university. Sit with your study abroad advisor and financial aid office to review what programs are eligible for transfer of aid, as well as any available scholarships or awards that may help you on your way. You can also custom-tailor a program to your budget, based on items like amenities and length of study.

Myth: Studying abroad is too dangerous.

This can often be the most obvious disincentive when considering travel to a foreign place, and it is wise to stay well-informed of world politics and current events. That being said, your study abroad advisor will be able to steer you in the direction of a program in line with your level of comfort.

Myth: I have a learning disability, so I can’t study abroad.

Most higher education institutions are committed to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to study abroad, and that the needs of these students are met in full. Work with your advisor to identify the program of your choice, and research any additional services and accommodations (free or paid) you may need in the host country. Additionally, you’ll want to communicate any special needs with your study abroad program provider to help smooth out the process.

Myth: I only speak English, so I can’t study abroad.

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to limit you. There are many programs taught in English where English is the official or secondary language (i.e., the U.K., Australia, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, or even India or the Philippines).

Myth: The study abroad programs don’t have any courses in my major track.

Meeting your degree requirements is definitely a priority. Your academic advisor will be able to tell you what’s needed for your major so that you and your study abroad advisor can identify which courses will qualify.

Myth: I missed the application deadline.

Check with your study abroad advisor to see if the program you’d like is accepting late applicants—oftentimes there’s space available and you can squeak in!

Myth: I’d miss my friends and the comforts of home.

One of the benefits to studying abroad is the learning of a new attribute: independence. Seeing a new place and making new friends enables you to spread your wings even wider, giving you confidence and a larger worldview.

Ready to find a program? Get started now!

Bonnie Bottner has a B.A. in English with a concentration in Communications from the University of Tampa. She has worked in marketing and communications for over ten years, and has taken continuing education courses at Georgetown University and College of Notre Dame of Maryland.