Why every ASU student should study abroad

August 5, 2020

Students often cite studying abroad as the highlight of their academic career and a crucial moment in helping them gain a more nuanced view of the world. Study abroad programs provide an opportunity for all students to develop a valuable skill set that can truly enhance a college experience. 

For Sun Devils, the world is rife with opportunities for exploration. man wearing ASU Sun Devils jersey on a mountain with a city in the background ASU student Ryan Jana on his study abroad trip in New Zealand shows his ASU spirit. Photo courtesy of Ryan Jana. Download Full Image

The Study Abroad Office at ASU works hard to ensure any student can take advantage of the opportunity, no matter their course requirements, financial aid status or destination of interest. The office hosts more than 250 programs in over 65 countries, and students can explore program options on all seven continents. Students may study in a wide range of disciplines, from mathematics to fashion to forensic science and beyond. Time restrictions also pose no barrier to the intrepid student, as all can attend programs as short as seven days to as long as an entire academic year.

The personal benefits of study abroad are abundant — students can grow personally, academically and professionally, developing critical skills such as teamwork and problem-solving. They also increase their knowledge of their chosen field of study through the lens of different cultures, traditions and histories. 

Anyone, from a nontraditional student on the West campus to a student athlete housed in the Greek Village, can travel out of their comfort zone to network with students, faculty and community members who have similar interests and goals. Thousands of Sun Devils embark on new journeys across the world each year to accomplish all of this and more. 

Through these dynamic experiences, students also develop their leadership skills and confidence while navigating a brand new city. Planning their route on the London metro, navigating their walk to class in Lima, Peru, or figuring out the bus system in Sydney, Australia, students learn to rely on newfound abilities and trust themselves to flourish in unfamiliar settings.

Academically, studying abroad opens doors to global learning with a new perspective, where every study abroad program is credit-bearing and can count toward graduation requirements. No need to worry about receiving credits for a study abroad program. It’s simple — students can find ASU-equivalent academic credits when they travel on a study abroad program. All credits received will count toward their GPA, and by working with their academic adviser, students could be able to complete much-needed graduation requirements like a core class or an internship. Then with a diploma in hand, the global Sun Devil can easily turn their experience abroad into professional opportunities. 

Nikil Selvam, a computer science and economics major, cited how much students can learn from studying abroad: "You learn from a lot of different people and you learn a lot about the world itself in a way that just being at ASU won't teach you."

Professionally, students open themselves up to a world of opportunities to grow and better position themselves for a head start on their career goals. Many know that study abroad is an experience that can help students master a foreign language — a boon in many of today’s career paths — however, programs also aid in students’ understanding of intercultural dynamics and world issues. This is an invaluable attribute on any student’s resume and the perfect talking point to highlight in interviews. Studying the elements of modern design in Vietnam or the techniques of sustainability in Costa Rica ensure students are well-positioned for an internship or full-time job soon after.

Morgan Wendlandt, a business entrepreneurship major with minors in theater and studio art, talked about how study abroad affected her career path in her blog post "A Change in Perspective May Just Change Your Life." “I realized that I wanted to own my own art-based business as well as live in Ireland. Now I am looking for another internship and making plans to move to Dublin after I graduate,” she wrote.

Overall, study abroad is an opportunity students will treasure for a lifetime.

Money, money, money: How students can fund their study abroad experiences

August 3, 2020

Even though it may sound as if studying abroad has no downsides, many students consider their options and, ultimately, count themselves out of studying abroad for one reason alone: the cost. 

“I mean, I want to travel, but it’s way too pricey for me to even think about doing right now. Maybe someday once I’ve graduated and have a real job …” ASU students on their study abroad to Peru ASU students on their faculty-directed study abroad program to Peru. Photo by Jessica Cassano Download Full Image

Kevin McCawley, a biochemistry and pre-med graduate with a Spanish minor, can still remember repeating this to himself during his first year at Arizona State University. However, after a full (debt-free) semester in Santiago, Chile, he is now a student in medical school and realized his thinking was actually the opposite of reality.

Time and time again, students share their stories of how funding should not be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and that studying abroad is more than worth it in the end. There are plenty of funding options to make a study abroad opportunity a reality.

The ASU Study Abroad Office is committed to helping students find the best opportunities possible for financing their study abroad. With a scholarship search targeted for just study abroad scholarships, a financial aid and program cost sheet for each program and a handbook tailored to helping students navigate their way through funding their study abroad, every student has the chance to find a study abroad program that fits well within their budget. 

The Study Abroad Office even funds its own scholarships for Sun Devils, giving out thousands of dollars in scholarships:

Plus, scholarships received through the Study Abroad Office will combine with the financial aid and scholarships a student is already receiving through ASU if they are traveling during an academic session. Students can always use a cost chart to compare what they would be paying abroad to what they are already paying on campus. (Hint: It’s possible that it could be the same or less!)

In addition, there are an abundance of national scholarships, including the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship for Pell Grant recipients, set in place to send American students exploring borders far beyond their own. 

Of course, the total cost to an experience abroad depends on the program and the spending habits of the student. However, the total cost can be estimated through the program cost sheet found on each program brochure. The program cost sheet breaks down all of the fees charged by the Study Abroad Office as well as nonbillable items like airfare and food. To cut down on costs, students can choose to buy groceries at a local market instead of eating out at pricey restaurants each day. Or they could consider taking public transportation versus paying for taxis. By penny pinching, students might even get to experience more of what life is really like for the locals of the area in which they are staying. 

Only a $50 nonrefundable application fee is required to get started on the opportunity of a lifetime. From the beginning of the application process to the moment they step off the plane back in the U.S., students have the unwavering support of the Study Abroad Office. 

Looking for even more advice on how to afford studying abroad? The Study Abroad Office hosts Financing Your Study Abroad workshops during both the fall and spring semesters to help students navigate the often-confusing world of scholarships, financial aid, crowdfunding and budgeting. Reach out to the Study Abroad Office with any questions.