Study Abroad Myths

Myth #1: “I can’t afford to Study Abroad”

Don’t be so quick to assume that – there are plenty of scholarships, budgeting tips and financial aid available to students through UConn.

First off there are 3 different cost structures used by Experiential Global Learning for programs: Tuition Based, Fee Based, and Direct Bill. You can find a description of these structures here: https://egl.uconn.edu/cost-structures/. For more information on whether your financial aid will apply to each cost structure, reference the Costs of Studying Abroad chart provided by the Office of Student Financial Aid Services here: https://financialaid.uconn.edu/edu_abroad/.

If you’re still confused on what cost structure works the best with you, consider how you currently pay for school. UConn has tuition based programs which will allow you to maintain your current tuition rate and most, if not all, of your financial aid and scholarships while abroad. Out of state? Think about participating in direct bill programs which sets its own cost. Some of these are cheaper than out of state tuition!

Next, Experiential Global Learning provides students with many opportunities to apply for Scholarships! For a more detailed description of all scholarships available for students visit: https://egl.uconn.edu/scholarships-overview/. Keep updated on EGL’s socials (@uconn.global) for upcoming scholarships and scholarship highlights! Some scholarships students will need to apply for themselves, however some, like one’s through UConn Global Affairs Foundation Scholarships will have an automatic process where no additional application materials needed from the student after the Experiential Global Learning program application is submitted. There are a ton to consider! So make sure you take the time and take advantage of all these scholarship opportunities that are available.

Here are some scholarship tips that you should look out for when applying

  1. Students should have another set of eyes to look at their application for feedback.
  2. Obtaining a letter of recommendation in advance to be used as needed will also speed up the application process.
  3. If a student has a job at a company or a parent employee at a company, this could also be a great place to research opportunities.

    Here are some budgeting tips for planning your trip abroad!

    1. Compare programs’ durations and locations. Factor in cost of living for the location you wish to study in!
    2. Review our different program types and their cost structures
    3. Compare currency exchange rates
    4. Plan a budget based on your lifestyle, consider what you’ll do in your free time and how you’ll need to budget for any activities you plan to take part in 
    5. Get creative with your approach to budgeting 

    Here are some fundraising ideas! 

    1. 50/50 Raffle: Sell tickets and keep half and draw a winner for the other half!
    2. Teach a master class on a subject you know a lot about.
    3. Host a bake sale, walk dogs, have a yard sale-you can even ask for donations for the yard sale!
    4. Host an online auction, sell crafts or goods on Etsy, advertise services such as babysitting or lawn mowing on sites such as NextDoor.
    5. Collect cans and bottles to recycle.

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    Myth #2: “I am nervous about my health & safety in another country”

    The health and safety of students studying abroad is of utmost importance to Experiential Global Learning.

    EGL has emergency numbers listed, as well as a page in their website dedicated to safety information that also is outlined within every students pre departure orientation that they must complete.

    Experiential Global Learning will not send students to locations that are deemed unsafe.

    EGL follows the travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State. Travel Advisories provide recommendations on whether individuals should reconsider traveling to a certain destination. The U.S. Department of State issues Travel Advisories for all countries in the world, based on a tiered system of safety. Before you travel to a new location, we strongly recommend that you review its Travel Advisory for the latest details and advice.

    EGL advises students to enroll in STEP

    The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

    STEP provides you with important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. It can help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

    CISI Insurance

    All UConn students are automatically covered under UConn’s blanket CISI Insurance Policy, free of charge. A CISI identification card is provided to each participant prior to departure. CISI will send an email that contains your coverage details, insurance card, and a copy of the claim form. Emergency phone numbers are listed on the front of the card. Participants may contact CISI directly for replacement cards and forms.

    It is very important that you contact CISI first for all routine, non-emergency requests for health information, direct billing with physicians and hospitals, and outpatient appointment scheduling. By contacting CISI first, they will be able to start the billing process and you avoid having to pay up front and wait to be reimbursed.

    Travel Medicine Services

    Student Health and Wellness facilitates Travel Medicine Services to deliver personalized recommendations, medications and vaccinations based upon both your destination and your travel itinerary. Pre-travel education and immunization are essential to avoid unnecessary risks from preventable diseases that may be unfamiliar to you. For more information, visit the Travel Medicine Services website at Student Health and Wellness.

    Mental Health

    Although participating in an Experiential Global Learning program is exciting, it can come with great challenges. Adjusting to a new culture, a different academic environment, and a new system of support services can cause some unexpected and overwhelming reactions.

    To best prepare for your program, we recommend that you visit Student Health and Wellness – Mental Health (SHaW Mental Health) if you have any concerns. Please note that, while you are traveling, SHaW Mental Health may not be able to provide as robust of services as it can while you are on campus. Instead, be sure to consider local mental health resources, including those covered by your CISI Insurance policy.

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    Myth #3: “If I study abroad, I won’t graduate on time!”

    With careful planning, you will be able to Study Abroad & fulfill credits to graduate on time!

    When you participate in a credit-bearing program through UConn Experiential Global Learning, you remain registered at UConn and therefore are eligible to receive UConn credit and grades. As early as your first year in college, you may discuss your plans for participating in a program with your academic advisor and how a program may fit well into your overall academic plan.

    Courses Abroad

    All courses taken on an approved Experiential Global Learning program receive UConn course numbers, UConn credits, and UConn grades, which appear on students’ transcripts. Many programs have different grading systems, so grades issued by host universities will be converted to a U.S. grading scale after the program transcript is received by Experiential Global Learning. Credit systems can also vary from country to country, and therefore the number of credits that students take on their program may be different from what they ultimately receive at UConn. For more information on grade conversions visit: https://egl.uconn.edu/credit-grade-conversion/, and for more information on EGL’s pass/fail policies visit: https://egl.uconn.edu/academic-credit-policies/pass-fail/ 

    Course Selection

    Students can take major specific classes, or pursue electives abroad. Some programs will even offers students the opportunity to take classes that aren’t available at UConn in an area of study they might be interested in! For example, UConn doesn’t offer many fashion courses, but students interested in this topic can further explore the fashion industry in EGL’s ISA Paris Programs!

    Receiving UConn Credit for Courses Abroad

    Pre-approved courses are courses that have already been assigned equivalent UConn course numbers and credits. Courses that have not been pre-approved must go through the course alignment process to be assigned equivalent UConn course numbers and credits. This alignment process must be completed by the end of the semester after a student returns from their program, but can be done prior to applying to help students find programs that are most beneficial academically. To learn more about our academic credit policies visit: https://egl.uconn.edu/academic-credit-policies/ 

    Course Alignment

    If you want to seek approval for a course that is not listed in the Course Search, you will need to complete a Course Alignment Form (on egl.uconn.edu). Did you know? Students can also request General Education Course Substitutions abroad. Your school or college will decide if specific courses can be used to fulfill General Education requirements. More details can be found here: https://egl.uconn.edu/course-alignment/ 

    Make an appointment with one of our advisors: egl.uconn.edu

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    Myth #4: “I won’t be able to adapt to a new culture!”

    So you’ve decided to study abroad! Great choice

    It can be exciting and maybe a bit overwhelming. Every program is different, but many exchange programs will have an orientation specifically for exchange students. My program had a week-long orientation even before classes started. Even if your orientation isn’t a week-long, or you don’t have one, here are some tips to make the most of your first week at your new university.

    Be okay with being out of a routine

    The first week of study abroad can be hectic, jam-packed, and likely overwhelming. I was eager to have this week beforehand to acclimate to campus. That being said, accommodating a new country, setting, and routine can take some time and work. For this tip, I recommend understanding that it will take a while before you feel entirely comfortable in this new environment. However, your new university will feel like home just before you know it.

    Say YES!

    Depending on your program, orientation will likely be packed with fun events on campus. Go to these! Sports events, painting and craft making, social sports where you can play with your friends, campus tours, and more! These are a great way to acclimate to campus life and get to know your campus better.

    Meet as many people as you can

    My biggest advice for studying abroad, no matter where you’re going, is to meet as many people as possible. Flatmates, classmates, other exchange students, local students, students in your major, students not in your major: Everyone! Don’t forget to get their contact information as well. Seeing a familiar face on campus is a great feeling and can lead to long-lasting friendships.

    Know when to prioritize yourself

    Studying abroad is a fantastic experience. It can allow you to step out of your comfort zone and test your limits. That being said, know when to prioritize spending time with yourself. Once the first week has passed, take some time to think about how you can integrate a positive routine that prioritizes the things that are essential to you.

    By: Julliana Bravo, Fall 2024 EGL’s Global Curators 

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    Myth #5: “I need to build my resume, I don’t have time to go abroad”

    That’s not true! Many companies, especially global companies value international experiences greatly.

    Companies think it’s an added benefit when an employee has experience communicating and working cross culturally because many of them have international ties with other companies. Especially with technology making it easier for international work, studying abroad will increase your marketability as a candidate to employers.

    Studying abroad develops skills that employers value

    A study done by The Power of International Education, has found that after students studied abroad, majority of students reported growth in: flexibility, curiosity, confidence, and self-awareness. Each being characteristics that are valued within the workplace. Improvement in maturity and intrapersonal skills explains why more than 50% of study abroad alumni say that studying abroad broadened their career goals!

    Integrating Studying Abroad in your Resume

    Including that you’ve spent time abroad on your resume shows employers that you’re independent and are able to work with people with different backgrounds and cultures. Properly listing your experiences studying abroad within your resume could greatly increase your chances in your future. Highlighting your skills, speaking their language, showing that you’re social, and highlighting that you value cultural differences are some ways to integrate this amazing opportunity into your career and resume!

    Want to continue gaining experience abroad for your career?

    Coming home from your first study abroad experience doesn’t have to be the end of your global experiences. You can select another EGL program to go abroad again, you can volunteer abroad or you can pursue post-graduate programs like, Fullbright. You can work abroad, teach abroad, and even do graduate school abroad. The possibilities are truly endless for you!

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    Myth #6: “Study abroad is just like any other vacation abroad”

    You can’t study abroad without the study…

    What we mean by that is while studying abroad comes with plenty of time to have fun, there is an overall educational focus while learning about yourself and the world, that you don’t get with a vacation. Within EGL, we have programs that offer internship experience, excursions, hands on learning, and more that wouldn’t be accessible if you weren’t on that program.

    Building a sense of residency – Global Curator Fall ’24 Finn Jahnke

    A part of studying abroad that’s unique is the sense of residency between living at a certain University, or other housing units. Living there allows students to see beyond the tourist spots and gives them a unique chance to explore the smaller districts that may not be as flashy or ‘pretty’, but are just as beautiful (and where you’ll find the best food)

    You’re able to network with international students and professors – Global Curator Fall ’24 Gina Wright

    Studying abroad also opens up doors for networking with other international and local students you may meet on your program, but also professors and staff. Building a social network not only enhances your overall experience but also provides valuable insights into the city and academic life. Attend university events, join clubs, and engage in as many extracurricular activities that you’re so inclined!

    Internships, hands on experience, field studies, and more!

    Depending on the program, the opportunity for extended education is available. Like a summer internship in London, field studies in South Africa, ethnographic fieldwork in Mauritius, hands-on work with community organizations in Puerto Rico, professional development opportunities in France, and more. EGL offers a wide variety of opportunities that most students wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise!

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    Myth #7: “Studying abroad during the semester is the only way to makeup credits”

    Utilizing Winter, Summer & Spring Break programs is a great way to catch up on credits!

    Winter, Summer, and Spring Break programs offer programs with credits that range from general education requirements to major/minor requirements, and of course electives! This is a great way to catch up on credits while also spending your break in an amazing location abroad!

    Major/Minor Credits

    Some programs offer more specific credit options for specific majors and minors. For example, are you a psych major? With our Summer Psychology in Florence, students have the opportunity to satisfy their PSYC 2101 credit. Or even if you’re just simply interested in that credit, Summer Society and Climate Change in Kenya offers students SOCI 2709WE to those who are majoring/minoring in Agriculture, Humanities, Natural Resources, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

    Content Areas

    UConn students also have the opportunity to earn a content area during a short term program abroad. Programs like Summer Mediterranean Diet and Tuscan Cuisine in Florence (AH 2300 CA4) offer content area courses abroad. Additionally, students have the opportunity to request a content area substitution for courses that are unique on their study abroad programs, but meet the goals of a content area!

    General Education Credits

    Looking for some extra credits to meet the 120 University minimum? Many program locations offer UNIV courses that explore a variety of topics including, racial and social justice matters to path abroad to happiness and success. Utilizing these credits can be a great way to sneak in extra credit not during the semester!

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    Myth #8: “I can’t fit my whole life in a suitcase, what do I pack?”

    Less is more!

    When packing for your program abroad keep the less is more principle in mind. You probably won’t need three pairs of jeans, even for a semester program. You are likely to accumulate additional possessions during your program, and can typically add to your wardrobe while you are there, so pack light! A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to carry all of your luggage around one (city-sized) block comfortably. Test your baggage before you go!

    Check the Weather – From JiaLiAn Stolfi (Fall ‘24 Global Curator)

    Check the weather of where you will be studying abroad as well as where you will be traveling. Pack clothing and essentials for both. For example, Florence has weather similar to CT, so I packed fall and winter clothes. However, I traveled to places such as the Amalfi Coast, the Dolomites, and Switzerland. In the Amalfi Coast, I needed summer clothes and bathing suits as we spent a lot of time at the beach. In the Dolomites, I needed activewear because we went on numerous hikes. In Switzerland, I needed snow pants and boots because we went skiing. By packing clothes that I needed both for day-to-day and my travels, I was able to save a lot of money and time.

    Bring something that reminds you of home – From Alexandra Montano (Fall ‘24 Global Curator)

    This could be a family photo, a stuffed animal, or even decorations that comfort you. There are times when you miss home, especially if you have to miss birthdays, holidays, and special occasions.

    Bring comfortable shoes – From Madeline Kizer (Fall ‘24 Global Curator)

    Make sure you bring comfortable shoes with you so you will be walking 15,000-20,000 steps a day. Don’t bring uncomfortable shoes as you will not wear them since everything is going to be about a 20 minute walk!

    Bring less clothes – From Finn Jahnke (Fall ‘24 Global Curator)

    If your budget affords it, build a whole new wardrobe in your new home, and when you come back you’ll have a new style to show off. And clothes can REALLY quickly fill up that suitcase. Checking out thrift stores can also be a great way to find amazing pieces at crazy prices. It’s also a great way to end up with way too many clothes.

    Thrifting is a fun, budget friendly way to make sure you have the appropriate wardrobe while abroad without breaking the bank!

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    Myth #9: “The application process to study abroad is too complicated?”

    EGL has refined their application to simplify it for students!

    Experiential Global Learning wants to ensure all students are able to easily fill out the application to study abroad! They also provide many resources if you are stuck on how to get started or if you’re still wondering what programs might be right for you. Follow along with this post for the steps recommended to successfully complete your application!

    Step 1: Meet w/ an EGL Advisor

    Schedule an appointment with an EGL Advisor to go over your academic interests, ideal program length, and other factors regarding studying abroad. Advisors are assigned based on majors (don’t know yours? check out the EGL website’s Advising Tab – Make an Appointment). Advisors can share helpful insights regarding program finances, scholarships, and credits abroad! Appointments are available both in person and virtually.

    Step 2: Program Selection

    The next step is determining what programs you’re most interested in! Explore your options on EGL’s program search, or by looking at the major/minor advising pages. Also take into account when you want to study abroad. Make sure the programs’ dates work with your time line, as well as your graduation plans. If you’re unsure, schedule an appointment with an EGL advisor and/or your major advisor to discuss your options.

    Step 3: Starting the Application

    Once you have your program selected, have met with an EGL advisor, and know the time you want to go, you can now start the application. Visit the program of your choice and visit the “Apply” tab. There should be a button to hit that says “Apply Now”. (This option will not be available for programs that are not currently accepting applications). You now have a “Pending” Application!!

    Step 4: Requirements

    On the applicant homepage, you should see a checklist of everything you need to complete, including:

    • Personal Information
    • 2 Short Essays
    • Academic Recommendation(s)
    • Unofficial Transcript
    • Second (and Third) Choice Program

    *Some programs may have additional materials and requirements

    Follow the instructions to make sure each aspect is completed and submitted by the application deadline! See? It’s simple as long as you’re aware of application deadlines and stay on top of application requirements!! Once you have submitted the listed materials, feel free to hit submit & then sit back and relax (well, until decisions are released, then you can get excited!!)