Myth#1: Studying abroad is too expensive
Reality: Some programs are very comparable to studying. Some programs are more expensive and some are less. There are a variety of ways to pay for studying abroad, including scholarships, financial aid, and loans. By planning ahead, you can speak to your family about your financial restrictions, as well as save for your time abroad. If budgeting is a concern, the cost of a program can be factored into choosing the right program for you.
Myth #2: Studying abroad is all about partying and having fun.
Fact: It’s about studying, learning and building valuable skills. There is no doubt that some students view studying abroad as a vacation, going just to party, drink and hook up with other students. Some programs are run more like glorified vacations, shuttling busloads of American students from one sight to the next. But times are changing, andstudy abroad is so much more than that. It expands personal horizons while opening up a world of personal and professional opportunities. Although it should be fun, it’s also a serious undertaking that will challenge students on a personal level and have an impact on their academic career. Studying abroad includes taking classes, preferably taught by local professors on locally-relevant subjects and in the local language if possible. Students will learn about different education systems and ways of teaching. They will find themselves challenging their own ideas and beliefs once they’ve had a chance to experience an alternate perspective. Students will learn how to appreciate different cultures and solve problems while operating in an environment from what they’re used to.
Myth #3: Study abroad is only for language and international relations majors.
Fact: All subjects can be taught through a global lens. Study abroad is for all majors, and students in every field will benefit from a global experience. Historically, most programs embraced the humanities, but today only 11.3 percent of students who study abroad major in the humanities and only an additional 5.6 percent major in languages. More colleges are offering or even requiring international stints for students in social sciences (22.9 percent), business (20.5 percent) and engineering/math/sciences (13.2% percent.
Myth #4: Potential employers don’t value study abroad.
Fact: Employers increasingly want workers who can work cross-culturally and speak another language. Study abroad is one of the best ways (often the only way) for students to acquire marketable international qualifications, cross-cultural competency and proficiency in a second language. In addition to valuing the soft skills acquired while spending time abroad, employers want workers who can collaborate with others around the world. But just listing study abroad on a resume or in a cover letter won’t cut it. Students must package their study abroad experience in a way that showcases what they’ve learned. Organizations will want to know what an applicant did and learned while abroad — and how that experience can be brought to bear on the job.
Perhaps study abroad is not for you, and if that’s the case, it’s okay. But if you’re saying “no” due to any one of these misperceptions, do your research before you decide not to go. All programs are not equal, and study abroad offices cannot possibly convey all the big and small things needed to know to make a decision, prepare a student for the experience and help students leverage what they’ve learned once they’ve returned.
Myth #5: Traveling independently offers the same experience.
Fact: Studying abroad includes “studying,” whereas traveling does not. Traveling and tourism are added perks to studying abroad, but they should not overshadow the actual purpose of studying abroad, which is studying and living in another culture. Taking classes with local students, and honing language skills by communicating and interacting with local friends or a host family, will offer much deeper insight into the local culture. Rather than leaving town every weekend, students should explore their host community and spend time getting to know the local neighbourhood, not just seeing the big sights. Students will learn more about themselves and others.
Myth #6: It would be better to study abroad after graduation.
Fact#: It is difficult to find time after graduation to study or travel in another country. College is a unique time that allows for a summer, semester, or year studying abroad. After graduating, most people find that the demands of work, family, and other responsibilities prevent them from spending significant time abroad
Myth #7: It’s difficult to get accepted.
Fact#: Most of the students who meet the minimum qualifications and complete the application process are accepted to study abroad. Every University is looking to increase the number of students studying abroad, and will work closely with students to find the program that best meets their needs and qualifications.
Myth #8: All programs are alike—I’ll just select a country I would like to visit
Programs vary immensely! Not all majors/courses on all programs
- Size of institution
- Size of town/city
- Housing options
- Academic calendar
- Academic structure
- Cost of tuition & living
- /non-technical classes
- Myth #9: I will make local friends & travel every weekend!
- Myth #10: My Parents Will Never Let Me Go Abroad; No One In My Family Has Ever Studied Abroad or Been Out Of The Country Before.
- Myth #11: If I’m paying the same as at my home university, so I should get exactly the same level of services, technology, extracurricular opportunities…
Myth #9: I will make local friends & travel every weekend!
- Set priorities
- Initiate friendships
- Find out about the local scene
Myth #10: My Parents Will Never Let Me Go Abroad; No One In My Family Has Ever Studied Abroad or Been Out Of The Country Before.
Fact # – Many students who have studied abroad are the first in their families to leave the country.
Give your parents the facts about the program. Direct them to our Study Abroad website to help them Find answers to their questions.
Myth #11: If I’m paying the same as at my home university, so I should get exactly the same level of services, technology, extracurricular opportunities…
Fact #: You are in a different country and things will be different. Remember that you have gone abroad to experience differences: Enjoy them! There are different standards of living, expectations, and priorities in other cultures. You’ll think some things are better than at home and some things are worse.