As a study abroad professional who is working with prospective study abroad students, you listen to the common excuses and concerns that are shared by many students about studying abroad. We’re sure you’ve hear a laundry list of reasons why a student is trying to talk themselves out of studying abroad or has suddenly gotten “cold feet.”
We’re tackling these top 3 excuses that students have when convincing themselves to not study abroad, and arming you with the facts about why these common excuses shouldn’t stop them from pursuing an international program.
1. “Studying abroad is too expensive.”
The cost of study abroad is generally the main concern for prospective students who are unable to cover the costs of their time abroad out of pocket. Many students do not wish to take on an excess of debt or additional loans to cover the program fees for their study abroad program, therefore deterring them from studying abroad at all.
Why Cost Shouldn’t Stop Students From Studying Abroad
Being realistic while in college about finances and the amount of debt a student takes on is smart and we definitely don’t recommend they stretch themselves outside of their means or financial comfort zone to afford their study abroad. But, there are many options and alternatives to assist university students to achieve their dream and go abroad.
- Scholarships and grants – There are so many opportunities for scholarships and grants specifically for study abroad students and programs. Students can do research into scholarships and grants available through specific study abroad programs, or other options that are offered outside of those by private organizations. If they are involved in any national or global student associations, these typically offer scholarship opportunities too and would be a good place to recommend they look.
- Short-term programs – If the cost of a year-long or semester study abroad program is too much, students should consider a more affordable short-term program. Many universities and study abroad providers offer programs of various length, as short as one week or ten days. Due to their shorter length, these programs are typically significantly cheaper and therefore a great option for students who are strapped for funds.
- Financial aid – Have your students check if their current university financial aid can be applied to study abroad in place of home university fees. This can help offset the additional cost of the program fee.
2. “I won’t graduate on time.”
Although, we all never want college to end (seriously, take us back!), an additional semester or year at university is out of the question for many students. A common objection to studying abroad is that students believe they will delay their graduation resulting in missing out on sharing their important day with their friends, as well as the additional cost of another semester of school and related expenses.
Why Studying Abroad Won’t Stop Students From Graduating On Time
- Take classes that fulfill general credits – The best way to keep your students on track while they’re abroad is to have them enroll in courses that will fulfill their general education requirements of their degree. We recommend getting the courses pre-approved before going abroad to ensure a smooth transition back to your home university.
- Choose a J-Term, May term or summer session program – If your students don’t have time to fit a full semester into their current degree track, consider an alternative study abroad option. January term, May term or summer sessions can allow your students to participate on the ideal study abroad for a shorter length of time without interrupting their planned class schedule. There may also be options for short-term programs that can be applied toward their major that we also recommend exploring.
3. “I’ll miss my family and friends.”
While we know that it can be scary and difficult for students to leave their family and friends behind to study abroad, it is well worth the experience and benefits they’ll gain abroad. We know just how to talk to your students about their fears around leaving their loved ones to go abroad.
Why Missing Friends and Family Shouldn’t Stop Students From Studying Abroad
- Study abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity – In case your students have forgotten why they wanted to study abroad in the first place, remind them that it’s because of the amazing and unique experience that they will obtain and to keep this in mind when making their decision.
- They will make friends while abroad – We consistently hear from past study abroad students that the friends they made during their program have remained some of the closest friendships they carry with them for the rest of their lives. Whether they meet new friends through their housing and roommates, or school clubs and extracurricular activities, study abroad brings together students from similar age groups presenting a multitude of opportunities for them to meet new friends.
- Technology makes it easy to connect back home – Thankfully, we live in a world with advanced technology that allows students to contact their friends and family back home with the touch of a button. Through apps like WhatsApp for messaging or social media platforms like Facebook, students are never more than a message away from their loved ones. Skype and FaceTime allow them to call all of their friends and family whenever they’d like (taking the time zone differences into consideration of course).