This isn’t going to be a fun post. But rather I am addressing those who are interested in how I managed to study abroad,
Many people ask me how I seem to manage to study abroad my first year in college. I can say it isn’t an easy task. it takes a lot of planning and a lot time. But it can be smooth.
I’d say the best way to find study abroad programs at your university is attending orientation and looking at the booths that are set up. Here program coordinators flood you with tons and tons of pamphlets and flyers that you wont even know what to do with them. Step one is go through and actually read them. Really look into a program that appeals to you. Step two is set up a dialogue with your study abroad coordinator. They are your best friend in this endeavor. Step three apply for your program. Here you need to try your best to talk yourself up. You are an amazing candidate and an amazing person. No one is a better option for this program. The program would be incomplete without you. Which brings me to step four: get accepted. Most universities actually want to see their students study abroad and thus aren’t to quick to reject if you just show some determination. Step five apply for scholarships. This is the number one reason as to why students don’t study abroad. It’s too expensive. Scholarships help lighten this burden. Do not think that you won’t get them because that is the wrong mindset. I applied for some of the most competitive scholarships and received them all except one. Who knowns what they were thinking. At the bottom I will post all the scholarships I applied for and received. Step six, gather all important paper work. I personally had to get my passport expedited because it turned out that I need to apply for a government clearance for one of my programs. This was incredibly stressful. I had to deal with tons of bureaucracy when I didn’t have the time. Step seven, purchase plane ticket. There are incredibly cheap tickets out there. While at the airport, a travel specialized saw how cheap I had purchased my ticket to Amsterdam. I managed to save over $1000 mixing and matching flights and creating a smart itinerary. I purchased my tickets via both sta travel and student universe. I think they are by far the best websites for students to purchase their tickets. Step eight, your program is about to start get everything ready- this includes packing, giving your parents some piece of mind, dealing with more bureaucracy, buying travel power adapters and just getting in the mindset of traveling.
My departure wasn’t entirely smooth. I made several mistakes. First, make sure you have done all the required by the school first. In my case I was rushing around last minute trying to figure out why my financial aid for the spring semester had yet to be released. It was a last minute thing and it turns out I hadn’t taken a quiz online regarding my trip. Also don’t apply for scholarships last minute. I was running around campus looking for a scanner last minute because one of my scholarships needed me to upload a transcript. I officially submitted the document about 10 minutes before the deadline. Note, I had done finished all other aspects weeks in advance and simply lost track of time which is common in college. I don’t know if i emphasized this enough but studying abroad is incredibly bureaucratic. I get easily frustrated by this and thus at times ended up worrying about things that were out of my control.
Even if you manage to avoid all of these mistakes and take all the right precautions realize that trips like these will eventually come to fruition last minute. Hopefully this helps you.
Here are the scholarships to which I applied and received.
All of these can be found by a quick bing search. (That’s me injecting humor into this systematic post. I use Google.) Fund for Education Abroad (Nationwide)Gilman Scholarship (Nationwide)Turkish Coalition of America (Nationwide)Along with three other specific to my university.