Tips and tricks for studying abroad

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Imagine this: every day you walk to class, you pass where Julius Caesar was killed, or the Vatican, or La Sagrada Familia or the Eiffel Tower.

This could be the everyday life of a student studying abroad.

If you’ve been thinking you need some time in Paris or Florence, here are some tips to make that happen.

  1. Think about going abroad early.

The earlier you start thinking about going abroad, the easier it is to figure out when you will go abroad and how it will fit into your four-year plan.

“I’d always encourage students to start planning for their study abroad experience as early as possible,” UVM study abroad adviser Lauren Huffman said.  “First-year students should talk with their academic advisors and let them know they plan to study abroad.”

Academic advisors can help students structure their four years at UVM in a way that makes it possible to study abroad for a semester, or sometimes even a year. Huffman said

 

  1. Think about the finances.

There are three different ways you can study abroad, and each of these ways have a different sticker price.This is just one reason why it is so important to meet with your adviser to see which plan will work best for you.

According to Huffman, the most affordable plan in many cases are the direct exchange programs.

“These programs tend to be the most affordable because students are eligible to take all their financial aid, including UVM scholarships and tuition remission, with them” she said.

Other programs offer scholarships and grants to help finance students going abroad.

One of the steps when you start the study abroad process is to meet with Student Financial Services to create a budget to get an idea on how your scholarships and financial aid will transfer over.

  1. Go to the Office of International Education as often as you need

Even though it is a requirement in the study abroad process, going to the Office of International Education can help a lot in the study abroad process.

“Honestly, the study abroad office helped a lot,” senior Lauren Murdock said, “they have resources to help you pick places and guide you in the right direction when it comes to studying abroad.I had no clue where I wanted to go but knew I wanted to get credit for what I was doing abroad so I based my search off of that.”

The Office of International Education works to make it possible for everyone to go abroad, Huffman said.

“Students of every major can study abroad, and students from all economic backgrounds can study abroad,” she said. “It doesn’t need to put you behind in your degree at all, and it doesn’t need to break the bank.”

  1.     Just Do It!

 

I like to say if you have even the slightest bit of interest in doing something, you should do it if and when you have the chance to, because you never know what you’re missing.

“I’ve never met anyone who has regretted studying abroad,” Huffman said “but I have met a lot of people who have told me that they regret not studying abroad.”

       

Huffman emphasized the University’s resources are still available to students while they are abroad.

This allows you to have the comfort of having a safety net back home that doesn’t limit the experiences you will have while living abroad.   

“One tip I would give to anyone studying abroad is to literally take any opportunity you get,” Murdock said. “Many places have a lot more to offer than meets the eye and there can be a vacation found in the place you are living.”

“Talk to locals, speak the language horribly and get to know as many people as you can,” she said.

  1. Although the process may seem tedious, it is well worth it.

Once you start the study abroad process, the journey there might feel long and tiring while you are going through it, it is well worth it in the end.

“[It] was tedious but I was so excited to go abroad that it didn’t bother me that much,” Murdock said “I wouldn’t change anything about my experience abroad”

“It might feel like taking a big leap,” Huffman said, “but I know that that leap is worth it.”