As a college student, there are many exciting ways of getting involved on campus, and at first it is certainly overwhelming. Whether it is academics, clubs, a sports team, work or an outside organization, it is easy to build a full schedule for yourself! What many students do not realize is that if they study abroad all of those obligations will still be there when they return from their program. Not only does this experience abroad enhance your prior abilities, but I can personally testify that you learn additional skills that you could have never experienced in the comfort of your home. Studying abroad can be made possible for ALL students and here’s why:
- We can give you money and who doesn’t want money?
Now, we cannot hand out money to everyone, but scholarships and financial aid opportunities are available! The University of Kentucky offers a variety of scholarships, and the financial aid office welcomes student to come with any financial concerns you may have. In addition, there are external scholarships and often specific ones for our Partner programs. There is no such thing as being too early when applying for scholarships, so be on top of the deadlines and use your resources to stand out!
- Talk to your parents about it ahead of time!
I remember the first time I told my dad that I wanted to study abroad he laughed in my face! However, just two weeks later, my program application was submitted and he was helping me with scholarship applications. Of course it can be difficult to get initial approval from your family, but if you allow enough time and resources for your them to review, your chances can become much higher. There is a lot of information to take in, so be sure to have an idea of what goals you have in an education abroad program before asking the big question. In addition, my mom came to Europe for the first time when I studied abroad and my dad was able to see his family from Italy. Not only did I grow in my experience, but they also had a reason to get out of their comfort zones too!
- Do not let your FOMO (fear of missing out) hold you back!
Many people are afraid of missing out and being excluded from life on campus. I promise that you can watch your favorite basketball team (the Cats) on TV or on your computer when abroad! You can Facetime your friends back home as often as you want;, although you will quickly realize that your life abroad is much cooler than any date party or tailgate will ever be! I almost decided to not go abroad because of this reason and now I cannot begin to understand why.
Julie Lamagna is a Junior majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and minoring in International Studies. She studied abroad during the 2016 Spring semester in Rome, Italy. She traveled to seven different countries during her time in Europe and learned more about her Italian Heritage. She loves to explore new places and is already trying to plan another trip!