By Aundrea Murray
Whether your tuition is being paid through loans, scholarships, federal grants or directly out of pocket, studying abroad through your university could be worth every dollar.
Most times, the last thing a young adult wants to hear is yet another bill. And for most students, forking up thousands of dollars for any study abroad program is just an extra expense. What those students fail to realize, however, is the grand amount of opportunity studying in another country offers. In one trip overseas, a student can land themselves in a completely different bracket than their peers. Thus, strengthening their chances of standing out on any otherwise large pool of competition for a job.
Since money is one of the larger concerns with studying abroad, planning ahead can ease a lot of financial anxiety. Most universities provide students with the opportunity to adjust their financial aid packages in order to cover travel expenses. The process could be much easier than you would imagine. Schedule an appointment with your Financial Aid department months in advance to see if you are eligible to alter any financial aid packages you may have.
Another option for paying the bill is through a scholarship. Per usual, schools that offer programs abroad tend to have specialized scholarships for its applicants. Those can range from $100 to thousands of dollars. Each year, both private and public universities are given specified amounts of money to offer students in the form of scholarships. And if the money is not claimed, it is completely gone to waste. It is never a bad idea to apply no matter how large or small the reward is. A colleague of mine was the only student to apply for a three thousand dollar scholarship only applicable to commuter students; her $2,500 trip to Spain was covered plus she had $500 to spare. Talk about luck!
An even more creative way to earn money is through www.GoFundMe.com. The website allows you to create a money goal, promote your reasons for the funds and collect donations. With a very small service fee, the results are endless on how much money you could earn. Take me for example: after expressing to family, friends, co-workers, peers and even my social media followers about my desire to study abroad to Paris, France, I was able to raise over $500 in four weeks—enough to cover many registration expenses. This site makes the process of raising money as simple as clicking a button.
Once lack of funds is no longer your reason for not studying abroad, you get to experience the joy in finding a country to study in and how said travel will benefit you. Maybe traveling to the Middle East pairs well with your love for a warm climate and controversial culture. Or for a student studying art and design, studying in Italy could open your mind to the artistic and historical structures of their buildings. The process of finding the right program for you is undoubtedly one of the more enjoyable aspects of studying abroad.
For a Broadcast Journalism student like myself, studying in China soon after the 2013 Olympics were held and covering the 70th anniversary for France’s D-Day in Normandy provided me with a strong edge over competition. Not only are you traveling to a foreign country but also you are actively studying, learning, and soaking in the culture—something many do not get the chance to do.
Since being abroad, I have had articles published in both the United States and overseas on my experiences. Employers tend to notice these things first on my resume simply because it is not something they see everyday. Studying abroad is still highly limited and granting yourself that opportunity can make your options post-graduation limitless. Remember that many of the same reasons you have not applied to study abroad are the same very reasons the next student has not applied neither. Consider the odds that could be in your favor and check for study abroad programs within your school today!