2 common misconceptions about studying abroad

Most college students dream about studying abroad sometime during their college career. Although there are ample opportunities to do so, most college students end up not taking advantage of them. There are two misconceptions about the study abroad process that many people have, which end up preventing them from doing so. I personally studied abroad in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh last summer and can shed some light on these misconceptions.

Misconception #1: Studying abroad is way too expensive and there is absolutely no way I can afford it.

While it is certainly true that studying abroad costs a hefty sum of money, there are ample ways to afford it. First and foremost: fundraising. While the idea of raising enough money to study abroad seems daunting, it is certainly possible. There are many businesses and organizations that will actually sponsor somebody who is studying abroad. For instance, my friend who went abroad during her senior year of high school got sponsored by a local woman's organization in exchange for speaking about her experiences. Scholarships are also a fantastic way to get money for studying abroad. I personally received a scholarship for my program that covered a huge portion of the costs and ultimately allowed for me to go. As long as you show that you are passionate about the place you are going, you have a good chance of receiving some scholarship money. Here's a tip: choose a country to study abroad in that's unique, as they tend to give out more scholarship money for these. Finally, saving money is key. Whether you work or have extra money from school, save as much as you possibly can.

Misconception #2: Studying abroad will put me behind in my studies.

This is completely false. I actually got ahead while studying abroad, because my program allowed for me to take two classes that counted as general requirements. If you're really worried about this, choose to study abroad during the summer. It's more affordable and doesn't take away from any of your academic requirements for a degree. You can also take advantage of summer internships abroad, which would be good work experience that could benefit you in the long run. Most study abroad programs allow for you to take classes for your major anyway, as they are partnered with colleges and universities that offer a wide array of classes. This is especially true if you go through a program sanctioned by your specific college, such as the W. P. Carey School of Business.

If you are truly interested in going abroad, take advantage of each and every opportunity that presents itself. It is one of the best experiences you will have during college, or even after college. I promise that you will not regret it.

Trevor Thompson

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