Truths and Myths about Study Abroad
Don’t let common misperceptions about study abroad keep you from pursuing your desire to study in another country.
MYTH: “Study abroad is too expensive and I can’t afford it.”
FACT: Ironically, it may actually be cheaper to study abroad than it is at home! Favorable exchange rates, the elimination of some of your usual expenses (no need for budgeting gas money or car maintenance when you’re overseas!) and lower costs of living may make your study abroad program cost even less than studying at your home campus. In addition, many student loans, grants or scholarships can be applied to your study abroad program (including scholarships offered by your institution).
MYTH: “I’m not a foreign language major, and I can’t speak another language.”
FACT: Many programs do not require any knowledge of a foreign language, and there are quite a few programs offered in English.
MYTH: “I’ll be behind and won’t graduate on time.”
FACT: Actually, study abroad programs can sometimes put you ahead of your stateside classmates. Students can graduate in four years factoring in studying abroad, as long as they plan ahead. You may be able to earn credit toward your major, CORE or elective requirements while studying abroad.
MYTH: “You are really supposed to go abroad your junior year.”
FACT: In reality, programs are available to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The earlier you plan, the better off you’ll be in determining the best time for studying abroad.
MYTH: “My school doesn’t offer any programs that fit with my major.”
FACT: The University System of Georgia (USG) offers over 350 study abroad programs in disciplines including nursing, education, computer science, graphic design, theater, wildlife management and many more. As a USG student you are eligible to participate on most USG programs (even those not offered through your home institution).
MYTH: “You have to plan it all out beginning your freshman year.”
FACT: Program deadlines are usually less than six months prior to departure, and for some programs, the deadline is less than three months prior to departure.
MYTH: “You have to have very good grades to be accepted into a study abroad program.”
FACT: Study abroad is not just for students who have a 4.0. For many programs, the requirement is simply that you be in good standing with your college or university.
MYTH: “Studying abroad is not safe.”
FACT: Making wise decisions about international travel is important. This web site http://www.studentsabroad.state.gov/ will be useful as you make your study abroad decisions. Important facts including information on travel documents, smart travel and travel alerts are available on this site.