Today’s blog post comes to us from Texas Woman’s University student & API blogger Seghen Kalleb! She’s studying abroad with us in Spain this semester. Because we have so many deadlines coming up, we know a bunch of you might be googling, “Help! How do I study abroad?” right now! Seghen’s helping you out today by sharing her tips.
¡Hola de España! Me nombre es Seghen Kalleb y estoy estudiando este semestre en la Universidad de Sevilla en Seville, España.
Okay now, enough with the Spanish! Don’t worry about pulling out Google translate for the rest of this, the rest is in English!
Hello from Spain! My name is Seghen Kalleb and I am studying abroad this Seville, Spain at the University of Sevilla.
I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas (Go Cowboys and Mavericks!). I attend Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. I am currently a sophomore at TWU majoring in nursing and minoring in Spanish (hence, the reason why I chose to study abroad in Spain). There were a lot of factors (large and small) that influenced the reason why I chose to study in Sevilla and I want to help those thinking about studying abroad.
I always knew I wanted to study abroad growing up, but I had a hard time deciding where to study.
I like to keep myself busy; I’m involved in just about anything you can think of and convincing myself to leave everyone and everything I knew for 6 months was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m a pretty well-rounded student: I’m a Terry Scholar, member of the Athenian Honors Society, former resident assistant, member of the Pre-Nursing Organization on campus, and actively involved in the Catholic campus ministry. When I’m not studying for an upcoming practical or planning a club meeting, you can find me working as a nanny, volunteering at nursery, at church, with family, or trying to catch up on sleep!
When the time finally came to start looking at programs and destinations for study abroad, I was at times confused and I didn’t know where to begin. I’ve made this handy-dandy list that I’ve shared with my friends back in the States that want to study abroad! Hopefully this will help you, too!
1. Your education abroad advisors on campus are your best friends.
Trust me on this one! Utilize your resources on campus! They are your best friends; they know about all types of scholarships available and genuinely want to see you do your best pre, during, and post-study abroad! Set an appointment with an advisor about a year in advance of your study abroad time frame (the earlier the better! If you don’t have a year to plan this, it’s completely doable to plan a semester before! It will just take a lot of time and work on your part but it’s completely doable!).
2. Try to narrow down what continent or country you’d like to study abroad in.
I personally always have wanted to go back to Europe and I wasn’t interested in studying abroad in South America, Asia, Australia, or Africa; so I knew right away where to start! There are different pros and cons to studying in each continent (ability to travel to other countries, cost of living, program options, etc.) and you can never go wrong with which country you choose! Once you pick a continent, try to narrow down regions in the one continent by making pros and cons lists. Deciding which country and specifically city to study abroad in took the longest for me. Once you figure this out, the rest is so much easier.
3. Look at your degree plan and see where you have some wiggle room.
Take your degree plan to your advisor for your major to see what classes you can take abroad that will transfer back towards your degree plan. Make a list of these classes (they tend to be electives, basic pre-requisite classes such as history, English, writing, art, etc.). Then make another appointment with your best friend (aka your study abroad advisor) and present to them your list of classes or subjects that you would like to take abroad in the continent or country that you have looked into study abroad in. Your advisor will be really impressed with your dedication to study abroad and will love to help you with the rest of your experience.
Speaking of studying abroad, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t have enough room in your degree plan! That’s a myth. There are various types of programs in duration and experiences: you can study abroad for as long as a school year, a semester, during the summer for a month or three, during the winter for a month or two weeks. You can take a gap year, study abroad, volunteer abroad, teach or tutor abroad, or participate in an internship. The opportunities are endless! I have friends who are nursing and pre-med majors who “don’t have the time” which is completely false! I found the time as a nursing major to study abroad for a semester and you can, too!
4. Once you decide on a program experience and its duration, look at different study abroad providers.
In my research, API was the best program I could find and deciding to study abroad with API was the best decision I’ve ever made! The resident directors in Sevilla know your name on the very first day and remember the little things you tell them. In addition, they are always great at checking up on you! They’re like my parents while abroad and I’m forever grateful for them.
Yes, I said the b-word and no I don’t regret it. It’s a word we hate to do but love when it actually works. Once you figure out which company you want to study with, think about your budget. Try to save before your trip by different means (fundraising, working before your trip, asking family members for monetary donations, etc. I will make a budgeting post soon so stay tuned)! Save money for treating yourself while abroad (because life is too short to not) and save some money for emergencies (you’ll be thankful later, trust me on this one).
6. Apply, apply, apply!
Apply to scholarships provided by your education abroad program and to scholarships provided by the program you picked. Then go crazy and apply to outside scholarships as well. Free money is also your best friend while abroad. Apply to your program (hopefully you picked API!) and fill out any necessary information. Once you’ve done this, congratulate yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve come long and far and this is just the beginning of the trip of a lifetime. Now that’s left is to sit back and relax until you hear back from API!