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Mentor Profile


mentor picture Miloni Gandhi
Miloni Gandhi
Associate Director, International Recruitment, Office of Admissions
University of Southern California
I am an Associate Director, responsible for international student recruitment, in the Office of Admissions at the University of Southern California. Prior to this, I worked at the Center for Global Education at UCLA following... I am an Associate Director, responsible for international student recruitment, in the Office of Admissions at the University of Southern California. Prior to this, I worked at the Center for Global Education at UCLA following the completion of my Ph.D. at the University of California at Los Angeles in the field of Comparative Education. I studied abroad my junior year of undergrad in Madrid, Spain at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. My year abroad is a year that changed me forever and I hope I can help others take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity.


  1. This varies country by country. Some places are more accustomed to mixed race people then others. If someone is mixed race and studies in a place that is not used to seeing mixed race people then perhaps the student would have to field more questions regarding their race and ethnicity, but generally it is not a problem.
    2 answers – For African Americans – For Asian/ Pacific Americans – For Hispanic/ Latin@ – Racism – While Abroad – For Native Americans
  2. Most programs use financial aid forms that follow FAFSA-- which students fill out every year for financial aid at their home university. However, there are several scholarships available to students for study abroad as well.
    2 answers – How to pay – Before You Leave
  3. Every scholarship has different stipulations. The student should contact the scholarships sponsoring agency directly and see if they can transfer the funds to a study abroad program.
    2 answers – How to pay
  4. Many times students are looked upon as something of a spectacle in countries where they do not fit the typical physical description, where locals are very curious about their origin and background. But again, this curiosity is really just that, curiosity and should not be seen as a negative. There are a few places where being of a different ethnicity might be harder, but again, this varies per country and usually the issues are overcome by learning about the host culture in greater detail before going and being prepared for any obstacles you might face.
    2 answers – Racism – Before You Leave – Culture
  5. There are material benefits such as being able to find similar products and food that you are used to as well as easier access to communications and better medical treatment, but nowadays most developing countries offer similar lifestyles, especially in the bigger cities. In a rural setting, access to goods that you are accustomed to as well as lifestyle challenges such as having washers and dryers might be more of an issue.
    3 answers – Deciding On A Program
  6. This is different for each institution. You may pay in installments but it also varies per program. Check with your program provider or study abroad office.
    1 answers – How to pay
  7. Working while you study abroad depends on your visa situation. Work permit visas are available through application by the employer who will be hiring you, but the employer is supposed to show that you have unique skills that local citizens do not have in order to get a work permit.

    If you participate in a work exchange program rather than attempting to find work on your own, you shouldn't have to worry about the process of obtaining the work permit visa.
    2 answers – While Abroad – Career
  8. Of course. There are many ways to stay within your budget. Most of the time, many tourist attractions as well as hotels have low and high seasons. If you travel during the low season, rates are generally lower. Another advantage that students have now are online sales for airfare, or bidding on rooms on sights such as Sites where you can name your price are generally cheaper. Once there, a great way to save money is to prepare your own meals. If you stay at a hostel or bed and breakfast, most will allow you kitchen privileges. Cooking your meals is also a great way to meet other travelers. Also, try to walk to as many places as you can to save money or public transportation where possible instead of taxis.
    3 answers – Budgeting – While Abroad
  9. Unfortunately, there is no finite number you can give across the board for travel and souvenirs. Everyone has different tastes and depending on where you are going, what kind of accommodations you choose, and the time of year, prices very a great deal. If you look for package deals, last minute discounts, or sale fares, you can save a lot of money by doing your research. Sometimes sharing a room or packing your own lunch or dinner can help to defray costs of traveling. Souvenirs are also a personal choice. Some people choose very expensive souvenirs, while others pick items that are much more economical. The best souvenirs on a tight budget are photos which are free, as you can snap as many as you want and do not take up much space. Then you can print them after you get back home.
    2 answers – Budgeting
  10. Most countries require a visa at the very minimum. Depending on the program, there may be other requirements such as host university acceptances.
    1 answers – Before You Leave
  11. Programs that are legitimate are generally safe. The best way to check the legitimacy of a program is to talk to other students who have studied abroad on the same program and ask what they thought. Additionally, programs that have been around longer will have more experience with safety issues in their location. Physical harm that might be incurred while abroad really depends on each student’s vigilance and decision making. While you can’t control nature, you should also be aware if there are any natural disasters that are new to you in your study abroad region so that you are aware of what to do.
    2 answers – Deciding On A Program – Safety Issues
  12. Students should definitely be told about reverse culture shock, that of the challenges they might have in regards to coming ‘home’. There are a number of resources both online and in print that deal with issues of re-entry and reverse culture shock. By directing students to these resources and providing opportunities for discussions, you will be helping students have realistic expectations of what they will encounter not only abroad, but upon returning. Dealing with reverse culture shock is much easier if students are aware that this is something that they might have to face.
    1 answers – Before You Leave
  13. Siempre puedes preguntar a los estudiantes multirraciales que han estudiado en el extranjero para ver como ellos se sienten acerca de su experiencia. Además los programas ya muy establecidos tienen más experiencia con estas cuestiones y saben más acerca de la gente en los países donde tienen programas.
    1 respuestas – Decidiéndose por un programa – Preocupaciones: antes de salir
  14. Esto varía de país en país. En algunos lugares más que otros la gente está más acostumbrada a gente multiracial. Si alguien multirracial (de origenes diversas) estudia en un lugar donde conocen poca gente como ellos, puede ser que el (la) estudiante tenga que contestar más preguntas sobre su raza y etnicidad pero por lo general, no es un problema.
    1 respuestas – Racismo
  15. Muchas veces los estudiantes son tomados como un “espectáculo” (algo raro) porque son diferentes que lo que le gente se imaginaba de ellos. Pero es curiosidad y nada más y esta gente va a querer saber más de su origen y su historia personal. Los estudiantes no deben interpretar esta curiosidad como algo negativo. Hay lugares donde ser de un grupo étnico diferente al de la población es más difícil, pero estos problemas se pueden superar aprendiendo en más detalle todo referente a la cultura y preparándose para cualquier obstáculo que pueda aparecer.
    1 respuestas – Preocupaciones: durante la estadía – Racismo
  16. If you are trying to apply federal loans to your study abroad program, you need to remember to apply for FAFSA a year in advance, just as you would for regular school. You should also start saving and creating a budget for your expenditures as soon as you know you want to go. This way, you can have an idea of how much money you will need to be comfortable and accomplish everything you hope to accomplish.
    6 answers – Budgeting
  17. If you are on a really tight budget, be vigilant about watching out for sales. There are a lot of sales especially online, you just have to catch them at the right time. Also, local travel agents often sell many packages that come out to be much cheaper than buying things separately. Learning to cook your own meals even when traveling will also save a lot of money as well as help you meet new friends. Also, when in a city, try and avoid taxis but instead walk and take public transportation when possible.
    6 answers – Budgeting
  18. Many study abroad offices also have some information about working abroad. There are several companies who specialize in work abroad as opposed to study abroad and can help with visa’s and job placement. Also, many foreign governments sponsor programs teaching abroad for example, so you can look on those websites as well.
    3 respuestas – Budgeting – How to pay – Deciding On A Program – Career
  19. In most cases, financial aid is applicable, however, this is a question best asked to both the study abroad program and your school’s study abroad office.
    4 answers – How to pay
  20. Non traditional countries are many times harder to get to in the sense that they haven’t been commercially popularized, therefore it is often more difficult to find an excuse to go. Also, many times people fear the unknown, and don’t want to go to places they are not familiar with on their own. By studying abroad in a non-traditional country, you will be able to go someplace completely different and at the same time be surrounded by a group of peers who share similar interests as you. There is also a greater chance that you will have more intercultural interaction with locals if it is a place where foreigners are not prevalent. From a practical sense, many non traditional destinations are softer on the budget. Non traditional countries also push students out of their comfort zones more than places where you can find all the same products as home, and force the student to think outside the box.
    6 answers – Deciding On A Program
  21. You can always find short term programs for the summer where you can learn something new that you wouldn’t have had time for in class. Also, you can try picking up a minor and then try and take classes for you minor abroad.
    3 answers – Deciding On A Program
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