Studying Abroad: Is it Possible?
CU Denver student Citlalli Cumplido poses some questions to consider before pursuing a global educationJan 30, 2023
Considering studying abroad?If so, you may be wondering if it’s really possible. First off, let me just say that, yes, everyone can study abroad. The questions you should ask are, "How much effort am I willing to put in to make it happen?" and "What are my options?" These are just two of the many questions I first asked when deciding to study abroad. The first thing you’ll want to consider before you commit to studying abroad is where you are financially in your life.
How can I afford to go on a study abroad program?There are many options to help you finance your studies abroad and reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. These options include student financial aid loans, grants, and scholarships. If you qualify for financial aid in the US, then there is a good chance that your school also offers aid for study abroad programs. The one scholarship that helped me the most and even paid for my airfare was the Gilman Scholarship. Benjamin A. Gilman International Program is a federally funded scholarship that enables students of limited financial means to study abroad and intern. It allows students to gain proficiency and perspective in diverse languages and cultures, which will help them in their academic and career development. As a recipient of this scholarship, I can tell you how greatly it benefits from receiving this award. Not only does it provide you with the financial need to study abroad, but it also gives you a unique platform to expand your network and some other opportunities once you return from studying abroad. Of course, you must put in the effort to receive this
How much effort am I willing to put in to make it happen?With so much to consider, it’s hard to know where to start and what actions to take. So, the first question I asked myself was, how much time are you willing to spend on this to make it happen? I know many of you may be saying, well, I hate school, but I want to travel and learn about other cultures, so I set out to find a way to make this all work! When I applied for the Gilman Scholarship, I prioritized my time and put all my effort into completing the application. The application involved three essays, one of which needed to be a follow-up
project proposal if you were to receive the award. Seeing all these requirements gave me grave doubts as to whether I would be able to complete this application within the deadline. Hence, I prepared ahead by creating a timeline of all the requirements that needed to be completed and then divided them according to their importance. I made sure to have time to write those essays and meet with the Writing Center to help guide me in my writing process and ensure everything was cohesive and polished. I also met with faculty advisors from the Center of Identity and Inclusion and the Center for Global Education to have them review my application and identify ways to strengthen it while also helping me with my follow-up project proposal.
Now, why am I saying this to you? Well, your scholarship may not be as demanding, but most require an essay or two, so I highly encourage you not to procrastinate or put things off until the last minute because you’ll regret it later when your stress takes over. Also, you’re not alone when it comes to applying for scholarships, so be sure to surround yourself with people who will support you as you move forward. I found my people in the CII office, who helped me prepare for the essay portion of the application and brainstorm ideas for my project proposal—which was a huge help!
What impact will studying abroad have on my graduation date?First and foremost, as a 5th year in college, this was another big question I had. I knew I wanted to go abroad, but if it affected my graduation date any more than it already had, then that would be an issue for me. For the most part, studying abroad shouldn't affect your graduation date at all, depending on your field of study. I suggest meeting with your advisor to see where you stand and what your options may be. One thing to remember is that the earlier you start researching your options, the better off you will be in the long run.
Last Minute Tips?
- Meet with the Global Education Office to learn more study abroad options as well as scholarships
- Go to the study abroad fair, as there may be a program outside the university that can give you a better program for your academic and career goals
- Be sure to conduct your own research; get as much information as possible on programs that can help you achieve your goals
- Lastly, since I'm not a hoarder of information and if you would like to know more information about the Gilman scholarship, including its two deadlines and eligibility, visit their scholarship website