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Why Study Abroad?

Studying abroad provides many benefits. We've compiled a list of ten reasons you should study abroad:

10. Lots of Options: UWRF has programs as long as a semester and as short as about nine days. There are a range of costs depending on when and where you study. There are scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of the program, and credit bearing programs are financial aid eligible. With planning and your academic advisor's input, you can schedule your study abroad experience right into your UWRF academic plan so it doesn't add time to graduation.

9. Cultivate Your International Contacts: You'll make a connection with the people you study abroad with and the people you meet overseas because you've shared an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience with them. Networking opportunities abound.

8. Become More Confident: It's funny how it happens, but while you're busy experiencing another culture and way of life you'll make many discoveries about yourself. Develop self-awareness, self-sufficiency, and self-confidence while you study abroad.

7. Try New Things: Explore your heritage, visit historic sites, try exotic foods, swim in an ocean on the other side of the'll never forget the amazing experiences you have while abroad.

6. Enhance Your Academic Experience: Studying abroad allows you to make the most of your college education. You can take classes you aren't able to take at UWRF, experience an international internship, or study topics from a different perspective.

5. Cross Cultural Communication: What better way to brush up or perfect your foreign language skills than by immersing yourself in a different culture? Second language skills are a valuable asset both in the real world and in the work place.

4. Experience a Different Culture: Studying abroad expands your worldview through first-hand experience in a culture that's different from your own. You will gain new perspectives.

3. Develop Skills Beyond the Classroom: Leadership. Independence. Time management. Intercultural competence. Empathy. Tolerance for the unknown. Critical thinking. Problem solving. Communication. All of which studying abroad can provide. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to develop these skills to a level far beyond what would be possible in a regular classroom setting.

2. Enhances Employment Opportunities: Studying abroad can give you an edge over the competition. Employers often look for employees who can navigate cross-cultural encounters and who have both technical knowledge and "soft skills" such as critical thinking, problem solving, time management, and communication. Research by The Economist found that "More than twice as many people who were employed within six months of graduation had international experience than those still unemployed."

1. Don't Regret Not Going: Do you have friend of family who, for whatever reason, didn't study abroad while they were in college? Many feel bad about missing the opportunity when they had the chance. Do you really want to find that later in life you regret that you didn't at least check out your options? 

Exploring Your Options

If you're not yet sure where or on what program you would like to study abroad, no worries, we're here to help! Ask yourself the following questions as you explore your options and be sure to visit the Office of International Education for support and guidance along the way.

Take some time to think about what you hope to accomplish during your education abroad experience. Be honest with yourself about your academic preparedness, language skills, financial means, and personal interests. The more your are able to define your goals for the experience, the easier time you will have selecting a program that suits your needs. Remember to stay open to new possibilities as you explore program options.

Let your academic advisor know about your desire to study abroad as soon as possible. Your advisor will be able to help you determine courses that can be taken abroad, when in your academic program to study abroad, and may even be able to steer you in the direciton of programs specific to your major.

Utilize the Office of International Education throughout your education abroad planning. Attend an Education Abroad Fair (held every fall semester) or information session, or set up an advising appointment with one of our peer or professional advisors.

You can find information regarding available programs here. Research your education abroad options carefully. If you are able, contact students who have previously studied abroad with the program and ask them about their experiences. Evaluate programs based on your goals for the experience. When comparing costs, make sure you are also comparing what is included in the cost.

Take a serious look at the financial resources you have available to you for this experience. If you are paying for the experience yourself, how much are you willing to spend? If family is helping, how much are they able to help? If you are relying on financial aid, meet with the Financial Aid office as early in your process as possible to better determine what moneys you have available. Spend some time exploring your options for independent scholarships as well.

One of the most important parts of education abroad is saving up so that you can enjoy the experience to the full extent you desire. You know, better than anyone else, what budget is necessary to achieve your education abroad goals. Remember to look not only at ways you can decrease costs during your experience, but also at what expenses can be cut back on now to save up for your experience.

Education Abroad