Debunking excuses not to study abroad: it’s easier than you think

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Shania Meier, business economics major, poses in front of the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) in Berlin, Germany. Meier went abroad in Berlin in the 2016 Spring semester.  

Many students think studying abroad is too expensive or that they have to be fluent in a foreign language to go, according to study abroad staff at South Dakota State. However, those who have studied abroad at SDSU say these factors shouldn’t stop anyone from studying abroad.

Ask the 413 SDSU students who studied abroad in the last academic year.

Adviser for study abroad Briana Litz and director Sally Gillman said they do everything they can to guide students in the study abroad process. 

Litz and Gillman are the only two staff in the study abroad office, but they also have a team of global ambassadors. This is a group of students who have studied abroad and are available to answer any questions students may have about studying abroad.

“For students, I think it’s easier to actually talk to another student and see what we have to say,” said global ambassador Christian Custer, a senior operations management major. Custer studied abroad in Seville, Spain.

Custer said the question he is asked most frequently is how much it costs to study abroad. According to Litz, there are ongoing opportunities for students to receive thousands of dollars in scholarships if they apply.

Litz also said financial aid and university scholarships are transferable to the cost of studying abroad.

According to Custer, his experience abroad was “worth every single penny.”

Other reasons students don’t want to study abroad are safety and the fear of missing out on events at home, Gillman said.

“I think it’s sort of the barrier that students throw up of why they just couldn’t go, and then those that do (study abroad) realize that their sister’s 10th birthday party wasn’t something that should’ve held them back,” Gillman said.

Litz also said students worry about not having time in their class schedule to miss a semester. However, students can study abroad in the summer, and the credits taken abroad can transfer back to SDSU and can go toward major requirements.

Litz said studying abroad teaches students independence and creates a global network of friends and businesspeople.

“Most students come back and think, ‘I’ve done this thing, now I can do anything,’” Gillman said.

 

Click here to read student profiles on their study abroad experience.