Growing up in South Orange County as a third/ fourth generation, Japanese/ Chinese American, nearly all of my relatives live in the United States (mostly California and Hawaii). So, unlike many of my friends, I do not have any close relatives I can visit in other countries and there is no real expectation for me to travel to Japan or China in order to learn about my ancestry because it exists here, within my relationships to aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. The ‘need’ to go abroad, is much less an expectation than just something you feel when you start making connections to a cultural and historical heritage that you can learn from and identify with on a different level. The realization that these connections exist, that you can feel at home millions of miles away from home, and truly learn from these communities has become central to my work as a student and educator. After completing my B.A. in Global and International Studies and my M.A. in Sociology, I began a doctoral program in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education division at UCLA in 2006, concentrating on International Comparative Education.
- Many of the non-traditional countries will be the most beautiful places you may ever experience (for example, Greece, South Korea and South Africa). The guidance available from your study abroad program and fellow students will offer you the support and resources you may need while you are there. Choose a country or a program that matters to you, even if it is not a place that other people might be attracted to. And, talk to a study abroad advisor; they will be able to tell you exactly what to expect there. Also, if you are looking for funding, especially prestigious funding resources like a Fulbright grant, traditional countries are much more competitive. So, I know some students who pursue their studies in non-traditional countries and then plan their weekend trips or travel before and after their program to more traditional countries nearby.6 answers – Deciding On A Program
- Since there are numerous study abroad programs offered how do I know which program best fits my needs?Several study abroad programs are organized for particular disciplines, language levels, and age groups. You can check your school’s study abroad website, or the website of other affiliate programs for opportunities that match your academic interests, skill level and career goals. There are several funding opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds to study abroad as well as some particular study abroad programs that target underrepresented students for travel to the Caribbean, Asia and Latin America especially, so you may have the opportunity to study abroad with several students with similar backgrounds and reflect on your experience abroad together. Since many students enjoy their time abroad so much they look into graduate study or work abroad, it might also be helpful to study at a particular university that would allow you to make connections or gain familiarity with coursework, research and perspectives common outside of the US relevant to your particular field of study.6 answers – Deciding On A Program
- Your school’s study abroad office will have a lot of information about the particular country you plan to study in, but start doing your own research too. You can easily get information online, at the library, or contact other students (through your study abroad office) who have participated in the same program previously. Sometimes, students keep blogs of their travels, so you may be able to find some of those online as well.3 answers – Deciding On A Program
- I am afraid to leave all my family and friends back home if I decide to travel abroad. What are some reasons to convince me why studying abroad outweighs these fears?One of the major reasons why I was uncertain whether I could study abroad (aside from financial reasons), was a fear of leaving my family and friends. But you really do get caught up in all of the opportunities available to you abroad and the close friendships that you make with others in your program. Traveling has also tended to connect me to previous friends and family members in new ways. We can talk about the same places, events, festivals, etc. that we visited separately and the unique impressions we had. Even short trips can have this kind of impact; so for those people who are fearful of leaving friends and family back home, they might try out a shorter program and then decide if they want to apply for an extension near the end of the trip.4 answers – Before You Leave
- What if a student's major does not permit him/her to study abroad? How can he/she still study abroad?For college students who have to follow a set track of classes, studying abroad can be difficult during the year. Think about studying, interning or working abroad during the summer or even after you have completed your core coursework requirements. Most schools have a general education language requirement which can be completed over a few months in the summer, or look for summer programs specifically geared toward certain disciplines. Oftentimes, discipline specific courses, internships, and work opportunities abroad are planned for graduate students, but if you are interested in participating while still an undergraduate don't be afraid to contact program representatives-- many times, these programs are flexible.3 answers – Deciding On A Program
For students, who are unable to study abroad until all their coursework is completed, consider 'walking' at your graduation ceremony in the spring, then completing your study abroad program during the summer and officially graduating at the end of the summer term. You should be aware that some programs prefer continuing students over graduating seniors, so again, talk to an advisor or program representative about your situation. Let them know you are serious about it and they will probably be accomodating.
- What if I can't study abroad as an undergraduate? Are there any study abroad programs at the graduate level?Yes, there are a lot of opportunities to study abroad as a graduate student! I was unable to study abroad as an undergrad, so I was in this exact position as a beginning graduate student. A lot of programs available to you are based on teaching or language acquisition (sometimes related to business/ management like UCLA's programs in Shanghai and Lima), but if you are looking for other international experience specific to your research or career interests, find out which universities have particularly big graduate programs in your field. Then look on their websites; these universities will probably have study abroad programs that incorporate international language and culture with topics relevant to your discipline. For education, I think NYU's Steinhardt School has some really interesting programs. Plus, as a graduate student, you have access to several funding resources (e.g. FLAS, Fulbright Grant, Rhodes Scholarship, Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships, international center & non-profit scholarships, disseration grants and fellowships) that are responsive to graduate students who may be more academically focused than undergraduates.3 answers – Deciding On A Program
- La oficina de estudios en el extranjero debe tener mucha información sobre el país donde piensas estudiar, pero también puedes comenzar ahora a hacer tus propias investigaciones. Puedes obtener información fácilmente en Internet, en la biblioteca, o hablando con otros estudiantes que han ido a estudiar con el mismo programa que a ti te interesa (los empleados de la oficina de estudios en el extranjero sabrán con quien puedes hablar). También puedes encontrar cuentos y diarios (o sea, anécdotas en Internet) escritos por estudiantes de sus viajes y experiencias viviendo fuera del país.2 respuestas – Decidiéndose por un programa – Preocupaciones: antes de salir
- Muchos de los países que no son típicamente visitados son los más bellos que jamás pudieras visitar - por ejemplo: Grecia, Corea del Sur, y Suráfrica. Mientras estés allí, algún guía o consejero de tu programa de estudio en el extranjero y tus compañeros estarán también para darte todo el apoyo que pudieras necesitar. Escoge un país o programa que te interese, aunque no sea un lugar popular o sea, “tradicionalmente escogido” por otros. Lo que importa es que te interese a ti. También habla con los consejeros del programa de estudio en el extranjero de tu universidad - ellos te pueden decir exactamente lo que puedes esperar del lugar. Adicionalmente, si estás buscando financiamiento (becas o préstamos) especialmente de programas prestigiosos como Fullbright vas a ver hay más gente compitiendo para la concesión de becas para ir a estos paises “tradicionales” (más visitados). Conozco a estudiantes que decidieron estudiar en países menos “tradicionales” (como, por ejemplo, Corea del Sur) que también aprovecharon para viajar a otros paises cercanos más populares o más turísticos (como, por ejemplo, Japón) antes de ir o después de terminar los estudios en el país de su elección o durante un fin de semana largo.4 respuestas – Decidiéndose por un programa – Preocupaciones: antes de salir
- If you are interested in working while you are studying abroad, make sure you contact your program to make sure that your school will allow it. If it is permissible, your program representative may be able to assist you in finding a job, but there are plenty of resources online as well.3 respuestas – Budgeting – How to pay – Deciding On A Program – Career
There are opportunities for short term-work abroad (between three months and year, typically a summer) which usually involves working in an unskilled job that allows you to pay for your lodging, food, day-to-day living expenses, and additional travel (although it often will not be enough to cover your initial airline costs). Meanwhile, there are plenty of jobs available for teaching English abroad after you complete your college degree.
(Resource: University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center: Work, Volunteer, and Interning Abroad)