How to Approach Studying Abroad

By TIffany Meier

Many people want to experience the world, but do not know the first step in approaching the matter.

Studying abroad is an option that all students have an opportunity for, but are just unsure of where to start. I should know, I used to be one of them. That all changed when I walked into the Study Abroad office and began planning my trip for the fall semester of 2019. So if you are like me and want to discover other parts of the world, here are a few tips and guidelines to help you along as you embark on your journey.

The first step to figuring out study abroad opportunities is to talk to Lexi Lueck. Lexi is the study abroad counselor at UJ and is full of great information. So make sure to hit her up early in the fall semester and keep going back to her throughout the year. Quit saying “Yeah, I’ll go tomorrow” and just do it already. Ask for options and just sit and talk to her. It may seem extremely overwhelming but remember one step at a time. .

The second step would be to get your four-year plan done. Attempt to have one semester empty if possible, which sounds impossible depending on your major. If you really want it, you can make it work. If you need help with this go to your advisor or the Registrar’s Office in Taber Hall. They can help you organize your classes and guide you through the best ways to set up your schedule to allow you to study abroad.

Third, really take into consideration all the options Lexi mentions and find the best fit. What works best with your major and other things going on in your life? Should you go in the summer?… a semester?… do an abroad internship? Once you decide the best time to go for you then start looking at the different programs Lexi mentioned.

The fourth step is to talk with Financial Aid and figure out the cost for the programs. Some programs are expensive and may seem overwhelming at first. By talking with the Financial Aid office you’ll be able to find a sense of comfort and maybe even some answers to the questions you don’t quite understand. The Financial Aid program is absolutely phenomenal on our campus. I spent many afternoons with them and exchanged many emails during my application process. You would be surprised by how many people are willing to support you through a study abroad trip. I speak from personal experience here.

The fifth part I am recommending is to make sure you pay attention to the application process. You do not want to miss out on a program because they filled up or you missed the date to send your confirmation payment in. Really try to stay on the ball and work ahead. Again Lexi is a great resource to have. She offers great advice and will help you take things one step at a time, if you ask her to send you a reminder she definitely will.

If you absolutely cannot make any of these study abroad options work, definitely consider taking one of the classes that offers traveling. There are many different options with this; a biology class goes to Canada every summer, nursing goes to Kenya every year, foreign language classes go on trips often, and band and choir go on international trips every few years. These are just a few of the many options for traveling from being in a class. You do have to pay extra to take these classes, but they work really well with a busy major.

Overall, any major can study abroad at some point because there really are so many different options. If you manage to graduate from the University of Jamestown without getting out of the country, you must have tried exceptionally hard. Get out of your comfort zone and go see the world!

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