North Texas Daily

About 600 students use study abroad programs

About 600 students use study abroad programs

November 19
04:35 2015

Chelsea Watkins | Staff Writer

@chelloo

The university offers more than 800 study abroad programs, but study abroad adviser Courtney Rogers said on average 500 to 600 students take advantage of the programs each year. That is due to a number of things, but Rogers said it’s mostly a matter of students not knowing about the programs.

Along with being able to experience another culture, studying abroad may leverage students in standing out to future employers. According to a study by Erasmus Student Network, students who study abroad are half as likely to face long-term unemployment, and 64 percent of employers consider international experience important for recruitment.

“It’s a fantastic thing to differentiate students on their resumes and their transcripts,” Rogers said. “Such a small percentage of students in the United States study abroad that it really sets them apart and it gives them something interesting and different to talk about.”

Rogers said a former student who studied sustainability in Costa Rica was consistently asked about her experience abroad during interviews, even though she applied for jobs in the public relations field.

While studying abroad adds a unique value to resumes, it also allows students to become immersed in a different culture.

Finance senior Collin Gage spent a semester abroad in France and said the experience allowed him to mature from being on his own in a foreign country.

“I made friends for a lifetime,” Gage said. “I still talk to some of them. I’ve got people I can literally just message and say ‘Hey I’m coming to your country, your city, can I stay with you?’ And they’re like ‘Yeah.’”

The most difficult, nerve-wracking thing Gage said he experienced was having to fend for himself financially. His parents didn’t really have a way to send him money if he needed it, so he lived off of the money he had saved up. He recalls “cutting it close.” However, he doesn’t regret the experience.

Finance senior Gollin Gage studied abroad in Dijon, France in the fall of 2014. He says his experience living on his own in a foreign country allowed him to grow and mature. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

Finance senior Gollin Gage studied abroad in Dijon, France in the fall of 2014. He says his experience living on his own in a foreign country allowed him to grow and mature. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

For anyone wanting to study abroad, Gage recommends budgeting finances, packing more than they think they may need, and going with an open mind.

Study abroad programs are broken down into three types. The most popular type is the faculty-led programs where students go with other UNT students and faculty members. The affiliated programs allow students to study through a third party with students from other college institutions. The exchange program allows a student to swap places with an international student, but that may require knowing the native language.

Deadline for fall and summer programs is March 1. Faculty-led programs deadline is Feb. 1.

“We typically ask students to plan for a year to a semester in advance,” Rogers said. “Now, is that what they do? Not all the time, but that would be a more comfortable timeline for everyone involved.”

Students can fund study abroad trips by getting general loans and grants through FAFSA if the program is approved by the Study Abroad office. There are different stipulations if students are getting funds through Veterans benefits, Hazlewood Act, or other unique programs, Rogers said.

“Having access to things like your students loans, your grants or your FAFSA, if that’s what you use to go to school, and you apply that to study abroad, you’re not going to have that opportunity when you graduate,” Rogers said.

Most programs require that students purchase their own airfare, but Rogers said the Study Abroad office can assist students with navigating websites to find plane tickets. Students can also apply for passports in the Study Abroad office, located in Sage Hall 236.

Rogers recommends students take the time and think about how going abroad may impact them personally and consider how they will handle culture shock or if they may need a counselor or support system.

The Study Abroad office hosts information sessions at 2:30 p.m. every Monday in Sage Hall 237 and Thursday in Business Leadership Building 115.

Featured ImageThe university offers over 800 study abroad programs, but on average, only about 500 to 600 students partake in these programs each year. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer

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