Debunking Study Abroad Myths

Living and studying abroad is still a dream for some, but it is quickly becoming more attainable. Recent concerns like the H1N1 Flu (better known as Swine Flu) and the struggling economy have given study abroad efforts a slight setback. Interest in study abroad, however, has never been higher or more enthusiastic. I recently came across an article highlighting some common misconceptions about studying abroad. Here at Gulliver our goal is to help students and travelers go abroad, which is why these myths are worth reiterating… and debunking.

  • Studying abroad is very expensive – We’ve all heard this. Studying abroad can get pricey, but students have several
    There's No Reason to Postpone Paradise

    There's No Reason to Postpone Paradise

    options to get around this. Going abroad often costs the same, or less than a semester at your home institution. If you enroll directly in your host university, you’ll often pay significantly less than if you pay through your home school. Other countries charge little to residents; if you’re looking at Grad school – or even undergrad- overseas, consider becoming a resident to earn even more academic discounts. Finally, check out available scholarships and financial aid. Our recent article on Finding Scholarships can help you in this process… which brings us to the next myth…

  • I can’t use my financial aid to study abroad – Wrong. In almost all cases, your federal aid (FAFSA, Stafford loans, Pell grants, etc.) can be used to study abroad. In some states, you can use your state aid as well.  It is also not uncommon for your federal aid to increase when you study abroad since some of your school scholarships may not transfer. The only time you might have problems with transferring aid is if you’re participating in a short term program (summer, month-long, etc.); in those cases, talk to your study abroad officer. Check out our Prepare to Go section to find available scholarships pertaining to specific countries.
  • Host families are poor and just do it for the money – Universities and program providers put a great deal of effort into choosing the right host families.  The single greatest experience is living with a new family overseas. In some cases, depending on the country in which you choose to study, your new family may not offer the necessities you’re used to- that’s all part of the experience. Host families love international visitors and for most students, time spent with their family is the best part of the trip.
  • I’ll be too busy with schoolwork that I won’t get time to travel – Even if you’re a bookworm you’re going to travel. Most study abroad programs encourage independent travel before, during, and after coursework. Even a day trip offers a new and invigorating experience. Outside travel is almost a requirement in most cases. Good luck with trying not to fill up your passport.
  • I might not graduate on time if I go abroad. – It all depends on your study abroad program. Some are intended for your major.  If you want to take unrelated coursework- consider a shorter term (summer, month-long) instead of a semester program. Today, most schools incorporate study abroad programs into their curriculum.  The majority of students who spend a semester or two overseas still manage to graduate in four years. Plan your courses and schedule wisely and you’ll have plenty of time to explore the world.
  • Most of the world hates Americans, I won’t be safe – Although other countries have shown distaste for the American government, most are quite enthusiastic to meet American travelers. When comparing the violent crime rate in the United States to European, Australian, or Asian countries, the United States is actually far more dangerous. Check out the U.S. Department of State website for travel warnings and any crime statistics on the country you are interested in visiting. You always need to be cautious for pickpockets.  Our Prepare to Go section also provides information on Health and Safety concerns for specific countries.

Studying abroad is an adventure to be had by everyone. If you can manage your time and money, there’s no reason you cannot go abroad.  No excuses. Start your study abroad search here with Gulliver. Let your imagination run wild as you plan your overseas adventure. Once you step off the plane the world will be yours.

0 Responses to “Debunking Study Abroad Myths”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

the blog of

Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

%d bloggers like this: