As a first-generation college student, you may be the first student in your family to have the opportunity to study outside of your home country. It may even be that you or your family think that studying abroad is an unachievable feat. Studying abroad is accessible to students of all backgrounds here at Marymount University. The Center for Global Engagement(CGE) understands that there are unique challenges first-generation students have to take into account to study abroad, especially depending on a student’s financial situation and support systems.
Luckily, you are not alone. The CGE is committed to helping you prepare mentally, academically, and financially for this new opportunity.
When you start thinking about studying abroad, consider these questions:
What is my budget for going abroad?
We offer a variety of programs ranging in prices. Some of our semester programs are comparable to a semester at Marymount depending on location. If you receive financial aid, this aid can be used for study abroad opportunities. We also have a scholarship for students looking at non-traditional locations (Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East). If you feel that is out of your price range, we also offer short-term programs and the Global Classroom series at a lower price.
Setting a budget of how much you pay here at Marymount and how much you are willing to pay for an abroad experience is the first step.
How long do I want to be abroad?
At the CGE, we work to help you feel prepared for study abroad experience, no matter the length. If you would prefer to start with something short, we recommend our Global Classroom Series courses which go abroad for a week or our short-term faculty-led programs. These short-term programs are usually offered in the summer and range from one to three weeks abroad with a class.
Our goal is to help you feel comfortable going to a longer program. Over the summer, you can participate in a summer semester or international internship which lasts between 4-8 weeks. The final option, which gives you the best immersion experience, is going for a full semester abroad either in fall or spring. This option grants you the most immersive experience and allows you to take more classes abroad.
How do I make this affordable?
We recommend starting a budget plan early on to get an idea of how much you will need. Talk to our study abroad advisors and learn about our programs. We offer many programs which cost the same as Marymount and sometimes, may cost even less. After we have chosen a program, you should talk to your Financial Aid advisor to do some cost adjustment. Remember, much of your financial aid can be used abroad as long as the courses you are taking help you towards obtaining your degree.
Many programs and our partners offer scholarships and grants if you start looking early enough. As mentioned before, the CGE also offers a Global Engagement Scholarship for students who choose a non-traditional location (Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East). It is a seperate application that students can apply to which offers one merit-based and one need-based scholarship a semester. You can also start a campaign at Fundmytravel through Marymount to raise money for your study abroad opportunities; it is a website like gofundme but it assures your donors that this money is going towards study abroad through Marymount.
We recommend these tips for students thinking about going abroad:
- Think about your goals for studying abroad
- Plan for expenses (think about food options abroad, transportation, books, etc.)
- Make a list to explain how studying abroad helps you
- Find support in your family, friends, and community
- Do research on your host-country