Your Study Abroad Resource to Find Answers, Funding, and Programs

Mentor Profile

Bio

mentor picture Shannon Wilson
 
Shannon Wilson
Sales Representative
Polymer Science, Inc.
I currently serve as the international education intern at the Georgia Tech Office of International Education. I assist incoming international students with immigration status advising and perspective study abroad students with... I currently serve as the international education intern at the Georgia Tech Office of International Education. I assist incoming international students with immigration status advising and perspective study abroad students with choosing a program. I also process study abroad applications and perform other administrative tasks as needed. As an undergraduate engineering major, I studied abroad in Metz, France for 3 months. I traveled to 10 countries during that time. Study abroad has made me more aware of the impact I can have on the WORLD. As future leaders, managers, engineers, and parents, we must learn to see the world through a global lens. Traveling allows us to identify needs and then tailor our skills and thought processes to meet these needs on a global scale. Study abroad also expanded my perspectives on family, time, patriotism, politics, race, and nutrition. Immersing myself in new cultures made me more aware of my own. I am forever grateful for the friends I made, the places I visited, and the life lessons I learned along the way. Study abroad was by far the best part of my college experience; I strongly recommend that you take advantage of the international opportunities at your school!

Responses

  1. Seek out scholarships early. Financial planning is key. There are dozens of scholarships out there, but many have deadlines that are at least 6 months before your departure date. I winded up taking out quite a few loans to finance my study abroad trip, but this could have been avoided by searching for scholarships well ahead of time.
    5 answers – Before You Leave – Personal
  2. Though it is not 100% necessary to be fluent in the host country’s language, knowing a few key phrases such as “thank you”, “please”, “hello”, etc. is essential for your survival abroad. Not only are there practical benefits for knowing these phrases, but there are also social ones. The natives of the host country will treat you with more respect if you at least make an attempt to speak their language.
    4 answers – Before You Leave
  3. Show your parents of pictures of other minority students that have studied abroad, preferably, students that your parents might know. Another helpful tip is to connect your parents with parents of returned study abroad students. This can be your greatest resource. In addition, information on financial aid and scholarships may help convince your parents to let you go. Ask your study abroad advisor for a cost comparison between a semester in the U.S. and a semester abroad. Sometimes, it is cheaper to study in another country than it is to study in the U.S. Keep in mind, however, that if your parents are not budging, take matters into your own hands. Study abroad is a once in a lifetime experience. If you want it, go for it!
    5 answers – For African Americans – For Asian/ Pacific Americans – For Hispanic/ Latin@ – For Native Americans
  4. You can prepare to be immersed into a new culture by preparing an open mind. Observe your everyday activities at home. How do you greet others? What kinds of food do you eat? How do most of your classmates dress? What are the gender roles in your society? Once you identify some of your own cultural norms, you can start to get an idea of how other countries might have varying norms. Ask yourself how you might react to new foods, music, etc. Preparing yourself to keep an open mind is the best thing you can do before going abroad.
    3 answers – Before You Leave – Culture
  5. My expectations were exceeded. Study abroad was by far the best experience of my undergraduate career. I made lifelong friends, learned about myself, my country, and the impact I could have on the world. International art, music, food, fashion, and family values have inspired me to look at the world as a magical place with endless opportunities. My expectations were far exceeded and I gained a global perspective that I will cherish for a lifetime.
    4 answers – Personal
  6. Think of friends who have parents with similar concerns as your own. Then, coordinate a Skype date or conference call so that both sets of parents can connect. Email might also suffice. Parents like to talk to other parents.
    1 answers – For African Americans – For Asian/ Pacific Americans – For Hispanic/ Latin@ – Personal – For Native Americans
  7. France is a beautiful country. Each region has its own flavor, subculture, and history. The people of France are kind if you are kind to them. Try to speak a little French, show them that you"re trying. Then, you will find that they are more willing to help you. Sweden was another favorite. A distinct blend of old architecture and modern design. And ladies, there"s an H&M on every block!
    1 answers – While Abroad – Personal
  8. Get creative! Contact your local churches, country clubs, pizza shops, etc. Talk to people one on one, share your excitement for traveling abroad and ask if they"d be willing to contribute to your cause. When all else fails, don"t be afraid to take out a loan. Of course, loans are not the ideal route, but if you are having trouble finding complete funding, it may be your saving grace. The last thing you want to do is miss out on the experience of a lifetime because of finances. Also, make sure you have enough spending money for your trip. You want to be able to experience study abroad in the fullest form. Don"t let money hold you back!
    6 answers – How to pay
Sponsors
CEA Global Education
GlobaLinks Learning Abroad in Australia