You might believe (or someone might be suggesting) that study abroad isn’t for you, but that’s not necessarily true! It’s important that you do your research and test your assumptions. We find that for the vast majority of students, once they explore their options they find there are good possibilities. See below for common myths about study abroad and how USAC busts those myths.
5. “I’ve never traveled before so it would be too hard to be someplace that’s different.”
Students sometimes worry about this and it’s understandable. If you’ve never left the country, the fear of the unknown may seem overwhelming, but it shouldn’t stop you from going. For many students, studying abroad is their first time out of the country, so you won’t be going through this experience alone. And don’t forget about the support system at your disposal! Your program team of USAC staff in the US is there for you from the beginning and they remain committed to you throughout your experience. Once you’re abroad, the overseas USAC staff will be there to help you with all of your needs, from locating the closest grocery store to finding a doctor if you get sick. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you learn to adjust. Adventure can be a little scary, but you’re not alone in it. Once you get a taste of it, we guarantee you’ll never want to give it up.
4. “I can travel later in my life. A vacation will be just as good.”
You may be fortunate enough to travel and be a tourist for long stretches of time in your post-graduation life, but stop and consider the true value and purpose of studying abroad. Studying abroad is much more than just traveling or visiting a foreign location — it’s an opportunity to truly immerse yourself in another culture, to grow and develop vital skills and abilities, to be stretched and challenged, and to prepare for your future. This is your chance to make yourself who you want to be — why postpone that? There is no better time than now.
3. “My major is too intense to study abroad. If I do, I’ll get behind for graduation.”
If you’re in a rigorous major, you may feel like you barely have time to breathe, let alone study abroad. Don’t let this hold you back! Many USAC programs offer courses that you need to fulfill your degree requirements. The sooner you start planning your study abroad in your college career, the more time you have to see how classes will fit into your degree. If you’re already pretty far through your degree and feel like it’s too late to study abroad, summer and January programs are great options for students who can’t leave campus for a whole semester, as well as those who are looking for programs for after graduation. Recent studies of university graduates found that students who study abroad graduate at the same rate as honors students — all it takes is some planning and we’ve got the resources to help.
2. “I can’t study abroad because I don’t speak a foreign language.”
USAC has no language requirement for studying abroad. This means that you can go to France having never taken a French class. Many of USAC’s language courses are set up on intensive tracks, with placement exams to ensure that you’re in the right course. If you need to fulfill a language requirement for graduation, our track courses allow you to complete up to four semesters of language in one semester. Furthermore, you will apply the language in your everyday life while studying abroad, so most people pick it up faster than learning it at home. Do you want to go abroad without studying a language? This is an option too. USAC’s programs offer many courses besides language courses—including art, business, engineering, and biology—all taught in English. USAC also offers programs where all courses are taught in English, either because they are in English-speaking countries or hosted by English-speaking universities. In other words, don’t let a language barrier stop you.
1. “I can’t afford it.”
This is the myth we hear most often at USAC. As a non-profit, university-based organization, USAC understands the financial pressures students (and parents) face to finance their education and we are committed to maintaining modest fees for our programs. Additionally, we work to provide scholarships and access to information about other means of financing in order to provide an affordable study abroad opportunity with USAC. USAC intentionally offers affordable options and a variety of session lengths to give you some flexibility in the choices you can make to ensure this is an affordable opportunity. Our program fees vary widely, depending on factors like cost of living and exchange rates. All together this gives you many choices and you can strategize to get the right mix of expense, length of time, cost-per-credit earned, and/or cost-per-week-abroad and make a choice that works for you.
It’s not too late to make your goals and dreams come true. Adventures await and you can earn credit while you’re at it. Don’t let this experience pass you by!
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