Posts Tagged 'Financial Aid'

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.

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Studying Abroad on a Budget: Finding Scholarships

Would you rather learn to Tango with some random guy in your Econ class or some attractive, Argentinean dancer?

Scholarships are Hiding... Like the Tower in Pisa

Scholarships Will Appear... Like the Tower in Pisa

If you chose the former, you need help. If you chose the latter, you’re normal. Where else can you get an authentic experience than in the native country? Granted, a trip to Argentina costs a bit more than a few Tango classes at the Rec Center, but imagine the adventure! What’s stopping you? Ah, right, money. The most common reason students don’t study abroad: Money. The American dream is to travel freely, without limitations. Well, these days money is a big concern. Still, program providers, universities, and private organizations are making an effort to help financially strapped students go abroad. While they might seem unattainable, there are plenty of scholarships available, you just need to do a little research to find them. Here at Gulliver we’ve got everything to help prepare for your big trip. There is no reason you can’t study abroad!

A few tips for finding scholarships or loans:

  • Start at home. Does your school sponsor the study abroad program you hope to attend? Then any financial aid you currently receive will most likely apply to any overseas expedition. Don’t get financial aid? No sweat. See what scholarships your school offers. Talk to your study abroad advisor first chance you get.
  • Contact your local heritage/ethnic organizations. For example, the Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) offers generous scholarships for students of Italian heritage who want to study in Italy.
  • NextStudent is a great resource for scholarships. Search by major, academic year, athletic/artistic skills, or your ethnic background. You’ll learn more about scholarships, private student loans, and federal student loans.

Most study abroad programs cost as much- if not less- than a semester at your home institution. If college is really about growth and experience, then coming up with money to study abroad is the best investment you could make. You will learn more on your international trip than you ever will daydreaming in your classroom. If you need help searching for scholarships for specific countries, check out our Prepare to Go section. If you’re still strapped for cash, then don’t splurge on the Italian leather shoes, drop the gelato, and sign up for one less Tango class.


the blog of www.gullivergo.com

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!