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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Studying abroad is more affordable than you think

Alex McIntyre
From left to right, Olivia Haddad, Sean Horan, and Khas Ochir look out from the edge of Orvieto, Italy on Saturday, May 23, 2015. The had arrived in Orvieto the day prior for the annual Arizona in Italy summer study abroad program through the University of Arizona. (Photograph by Alex McIntyre)

College is one of the rare times in life in which students have the chance to travel internationally while still continuing their education by studying abroad. The difference between going abroad now versus later in life is that in college, most students do not have the responsibility of looking out for anyone but themselves, making international travel much easier than it will likely be in the future.

Students often cite financial reasons for why they wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity, but studying abroad is far more possible than most realize.

One source for study abroad scholarships that can be fairly easy for students to use is Scholarship Universe. Scholarship Universe is a website that lists the applications for UA-supported and non-UA-supported scholarships for just about any topic or department imaginable. According to the website, “Wildcats have brought in over two million dollars each of the last two years from non-UA opportunities alone.”

Students in the Honors College have additional opportunities for study abroad scholarships, as well. Alumni from the Honors College choose to donate enough money every year to help students pay for travel or class costs, especially for students studying abroad over the summer. In fact, when students create a profile for Scholarship Universe and indicate there that they are in the Honors College, those extra opportunities will automatically be shown as additional opportunities to apply for.

For students not in the Honors College, there are still other ways to receive financial aid to study abroad. For one, FAFSA grants and loans can be used for studying abroad. There is also a variety of different scholarships to apply for, according to financial aid information on the UA Study Abroad website. This includes scholarships like the Boren Award, which offers $20,000 for students looking to go abroad to learn a less common language. Finally, students can apply for the UA’s Travel Grant, based either on need or merit. Fall and spring grants are $1,000 and summer awards are $500.

Applying for scholarships to get to a desired destination may seem like an annoying amount of extra work, but the experience students will get from studying abroad is well worth the hassle. Studying abroad is an important venture for students because it opens their minds to new perspectives, lifestyles and cultures they might never see otherwise. While I am proud to be American, and believe we live in the best country in the world, we Americans are undoubtedly sheltered because of the many luxuries and privileges we have here.

Studying abroad opens students’ eyes to how privileged Americans are compared to those around the world who still have yet to gain political or social rights equal to ours. The United States only covers a fraction of this planet’s surface; if students have the opportunity to see what the rest of the world has to offer, they should take it without hesitation.

The availability for Americans — and especially American students — to go to foreign countries is yet another luxury not everyone in this world is given, so we should take advantage of it as much as possible. We can be granted passports for a reason; don’t wait to use them. 

Follow Jessica Suriano on Twitter.

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