Tips for Study Abroad

Applying to Study Abroad is not as difficiult as it seems. The most challanging part is filling out all the paper work but as long as you stay organized it shouldn't be a problem. If you are thinking of Studying Abroad start planning for it and checking into all the requirements you will need to fulfill at least a semester ahead of time, because deadlines creep up on you fast.

Some big tips:

  • Get to know your course professors. Some study abroad programs require at least 2 recommendations from instructors whose course you have taken to Study Abroad. So even if you are in a big lecture class, or you don't like your professor, or you just don't know what to say, say something because they need to know you well enough to fill out a form about you and send it in.
  • To get you on your way I recommend talking to a Study Abroad adviser at least 6 months in advance. You should have some idea of where you want to go and what you might want to study, but the International Office is filled with people whose jobs are to help you Study Abroad successfully! You should go to them for all your major questions about where you might like to go and whether that would be a good idea for you or not. They are there to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Make sure to ask about financial aid and scholarship/grant oppurtunities.
  • Talk to your academic adviser. Whether you know your major or not could make an big impact on you study abroad goals. Other countries have different school systems then ours and often times you cannot take classes in a foreign country unless that class is for your major. For example, someone going to a school in the UK might not be able to take a business class there if they are not yet part of the Cameron School of Business as a Business Major here.

You will also want to know whether or not studying abroad will put you behind on credits and set back your graduation date.

  • Try to figure out what classes you might want to take abroad even before you're sure you're going. This goes back to another form you need to get filled out; you may need to fill out the Transient Study form with courses that you would like to take abroad and the course equivalents here at UNCW. Then, after you figure out which courses are equal to each other, you must have the form signed by the head of the department of your major. So again, you will need to know who to talk to.
  • There are hundreds of scholarships out there. If you know where you are going and what you want to study go look for scholarships. Almost every program offers its own scholarships. If you can't find any through your program you can also find scholarships offered by UNCW to study abroad. Who wouldn't need the extra cash?
  • Get your passport! This one is fairly obvious.
  • Try talking to people who have gone abroad already. They will have fun stories and useful advice for you and it might seem awkward at first, but you could make a great friend out of it and also get a great idea as to where you want to go and what you want to do while there.
  • Talk to your parents about it!!!! This one seems obvious but it gets over looked. A lot of times students will mention studying abroad to their parents who don't understand that their child is serious. It can be complicated and stressful later if you find out that your parents don't actually want you to go abroad, or don't have the money for it or something like that. So before getting your hopes up and making too many plans, check to make sure you have permission, even though its pretty annoying to think you still need it.