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.
So we’re going straight Myth Busters on the most common myths about study abroad. Let’s do this.
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. We give away more than $2 million a year in scholarships and discounts, and we have a scholarship opportunity for every student. For some students, it’s cheaper to do a semester abroad than it is to study at their home university.
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.
2. “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.
3. “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.
If 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.
4. “There won’t be courses in my major.”
We know it’s hard to believe that there are classes for everyone when you study abroad with USAC, but we’re 100% serious! Whether you’re studying anthropology, marketing, finance, history, philosophy, mathematics, kinesiology, business, aviation, sociology, art, accounting, or any other area of study, we have courses for you.
Of course, the location you study abroad may be affected by your major if it’s less common, but don’t let your studies be the reason you don’t go abroad. This is another reason that we recommend starting your study abroad journey early. The earlier in your college career that you can go abroad the less pressure you’ll have to take specific classes geared towards your major. Students who study abroad and are able to take their elective courses can choose from a more wide variety of classes and locations to study abroad.
5. “I don’t have a declared major, so I can’t go abroad”
We have four eligibility requirements to study abroad with USAC and none of them have anything to do with your major.
- Are at least 18 years old at the time of application and who will be enrolled in a university degree-seeking program while they are abroad.
- Have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
- Are in good academic, disciplinary, and community standing.
- Meet any additional pre-requisites of the program to which they are applying.
Needless to say, all are welcome to study abroad, and if you don’t know your major, maybe going abroad can help you figure it out!
6. “I play sports so I can’t go abroad”
We understand the commitment that comes with playing a college sport. However, athletes can still go abroad, it just takes a little extra planning. Most athletes find that they can study abroad easily during a summer session or a winter sessions. These shortened sessions range from 3-6 weeks.
USAC students also have the ability to participate in the Global Student Athlete program in New Zealand, a program specifically created for student athletes to help them go abroad. You can learn more about that program here: New Zealand Makes it Easy for Student Athletes to Study Abroad
If you’re still not convinced, take a minute to read Mary’s story about studying abroad in Costa Rica as a student athlete.
By this point you should know that study abroad is totally possible, no matter your financial or academic situation. If you still have doubts feel free to reach out to us with your questions or leave a comment below! We’ll see you abroad!