By Camille Lialios

Study Abroad Advisor

Students tend to have preconceived notions about what it means to study abroad. Some automatically assume that it is too expensive, some may think that it will push their graduation date back, and yet others may think that they do not have time, due to obligations on campus or at home. While studying abroad is not something every student is interested in, traveling by way of study abroad is definitely something to consider doing while you are still in school.

Studying abroad while in college is the most cost-effective way to travel. Students are able to utilize financial aid and scholarships, and most UNG programs cost no more than the usual UNG tuition and fees. Some exchange programs even charge the same cost as UNG for housing and meals abroad, so your bill looks very similar to what it would look like if you were on campus. There are also several Direct Enrollment programs in which the cost ends up being less than a normal semester at UNG.

While still in school, students who study abroad are gaining credit. My goal as a study abroad advisor is to match students to programs that keep them on track to graduate, or possibly get them ahead by participating in a summer program, a time when the student may not normally be enrolled in classes. Summer options are also ideal for students who do not want to “miss out” on things happening on the UNG campuses, such as clubs, student activities, sports, etc. For students who tend to work in the summers to pay for their fall and spring semesters, studying abroad for a full semester may be ideal.

Traveling to different areas of the world with your peers and obtaining assistance in planning for such a trip isn’t as likely to happen once you graduate. After graduation, people are less likely to have the time to take a few months off and travel, due to work or family obligations.

Having cultural experiences and picking up other cross-cultural competencies can also help boost your résumé for when it comes time to apply for jobs after graduation. Making connections overseas also opens up your networking capabilities, and you start to see how small the world can be.

If you are ready to take a leap and give study abroad more thought, check out the Center for Global Engagement Web site for program information, deadlines, costs, and other resources on how to make study abroad happen for you. Consider also talking to your classmates and friends to see whether they’ve had the opportunity to study abroad, and find out more about their experiences.

There are also ways to get a global connection right here on campus, by taking part in CGE events, or joining the International Student Association or Global Connections Program.

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