Deadline season is fast approaching! As API hits study abroad fairs across the country helping students take their studies and internships abroad, we’re talking to students just like you; some who have reservations about studying abroad.
When we ask these students about why they’re holding back, we usually hear a few similar answers. Some of these answers… stories of the hassles, the expenses, the cost-benefits… are, well, false! Today we’re sifting through fact versus fiction.
Study Abroad Myth #1: It’s too expensive
This is the myth we come across the most, by far. Of course, a study abroad program is an investment, but with a little research and homework, you can find a program that’s right for your budget. Some API programs may even be comparable to the cost of a semester at your home university!
If you’re looking to study abroad on a budget, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. The best advice we have is to look at several different program providers and be sure to look for hidden costs. Some providers may have a lower cost up front, but attending excursions and other events costs extra. At API, all of our excursions are included in your program cost. Some of our programs even include international excursions, making it even more cost-effective.
Another consideration: programs in Latin or South America can cost thousands of dollars less than programs in other places around the world.
In most cases, financial aid awards can also be applied towards study abroad programs. Scholarships are also available, both at your home university and through the program provider you choose. All it takes is a little time and research, and you’ll be surprised at the affordable programs around!
Study Abroad Myth #2: It will put me behind for graduation
Another big myth! Most programs include credit-bearing coursework or even internships that count towards your degree. In addition, exposing yourself to another culture, language and city adds more depth to your college experience. It also gives you an added bonus to put on your resume. Because less than 10% of college students choose to study abroad, you’re setting yourself above the competition when it comes to applying for jobs later.
Our best piece of advice here is to meet with an academic advisor as soon as you’ve decided to study abroad. They can help you map out your major and decide what type of study abroad program will best help you (whether that be gaining general credits abroad, or focusing more on major-related coursework). In addition, they can provide resources for funding options as well as help you find the perfect program location based on your personality and career goals.
Study Abroad Myth #3: It’s an opportunity only for young college students
When you picture “study abroad student” in your head, chances are high a young student is what you imagine. But that’s no longer the case. As global experiences grow, so do options for students across all demographics.
Did you know you can earn a full graduate degree abroad? A great example is API’s UL Graduate Program in Limerick, Ireland. Spend a year in this gorgeous city and continue your education! Graduate programs are available in the Kemmy Business School, the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.
In addition, API also offers a graduate semester program in London. You may also qualify for API’s Diversity Scholarship! In order to be eligible, students must be one or more of the following: a U.S. military veteran, a non-traditional student (30 years old or older), a student with a disability, a minority student, and/or a LGBTQ student.
Study Abroad Myth #4: It’s only for language arts or communication majors
Although study abroad used to be an opportunity more for language or communication students, that is no longer the case. Today you’ll find programs for STEM students across the board, from Rome to Reykjavik. Pre-med and health majors will feel right at home in a Medical Immersion Program for Spanish Speakers in Buenos Aires or our Latin American Health Care Studies for Spanish Speakers in Costa Rica program. If animal science or biochemistry is what you’re looking for, programs can be found around the world; from Seville to Sharjah.
Other examples of coursework you can find abroad: Information Technology, Sports Marketing, Political Science, and Architecture. If you’re not sure what location or program would be best for your major, visit your study abroad office or chat with us on our website and we can point you in the right direction.
Study abroad myth #5: It’s all about travel and fun
Of course, traveling while studying abroad is an amazing part of the experience. But the academics and cultural immersion will be the defining part of your program and will set you up for years of success. Visiting different places while abroad and taking trips is great; spending a weekend in your host city with your host family is priceless! Plan your time abroad wisely and write down what’s important to you. Seek out those trips with new friends but don’t forget to focus on your academics and reach out if you’re ever in need of support. Find a balance that works for you and gives you the full and enriching experience you’re searching for!
The truth is, the journey to study abroad may be hard, but it is always worth it.
There’s a lot of paperwork involved and deadlines to keep tabs on. It requires motivation, determination, and a strong drive to make this dream happen. If you want the experience badly enough, you’ll find the hurdles you jump over were all worth it in the end! We can’t wait to help you get started!