5 things to do before you study abroad, advice from a hobart and william smith colleges study abroad student
To many of my friends at HWS I want to say congrats on getting into your spring '18 study abroad programs! I want to give a special shout out to my friends going to England areas! I am going to Norwich, England next semester, so here we are running the Queen's streets! I don't know about other colleges or universities, but at HWS 60 percent of our students go abroad, so the influx of acceptances is nothing new. However, it's still heartwarming and exciting to see my peers brighten up as they open their acceptance letters and go to social media to share the news.
Last fall, I applied to two programs: Norwich, England and Prague, Czech Republic. I remember stressing over the tedious application that took too much work to complete. Meeting with my advisors was easy because they wanted me to go abroad, and luckily they suggested programs for me. The hardest part, like with most applications, was the writing component. You know I think I should write something about writing application essays or cover letters, what do you think? The process took me about a solid 2 weeks of work.
Anyway, I remember that when the spring applications were due an overflow of messages came in asking me for help on abroad essays. I met with the people I could and sent out my essay as a resource. I mention these interactions because I could see the angst people had in applying. Some of my friends applied to several programs and some ran out of time and only managed to send in one. I remember being at lunch and asking my friend, "Is London bridge falling down?" I was referring to her application to London, England. Spring applications came in really late and I saw her frustration at not having heard back yet.
Yesterday a friend tackled me in Saga saying, "Rome bitches!" I picked her up and gave her the best hug I could. Then all the confirmations poured in and history was made! Now let's get to the heart of this article. You got into abroad, now what?
Pay your dues!
Now that you have been accepted abroad you feel a giant relief lifted from your mind, but this high is only temporary! Now that you are accepted abroad you have to work to keep your status. This means paying your spot, passing your classes, and you cannot end up in probation! So while Thirsty Thursday may seem like a great option this week, remember what you're at risk of losing now.
Meet with your advisor!
You may have already met with your advisor, but you really want to drill it into their heads that they will count your classes abroad. I have a blood oath with both of my advisors that I will complete my major and graduate on time, but not all advisors are as amazing as mine. Talk to your advisor about what kind of classes count for your major, what courses their other students have done, and what they recommend doing in your country!
Start saving up!
It's no secret that there are scholarships for abroad, but your coin purse is sure to be feeling light in the next coming months. The HWS CGE office has a list of scholarships that students can apply for and some scholarships exist for specific sites. For example, Germany has its own scholarship for students. There is also a large scholarship meeting for admitted students the following semester.
You'll have to pay for physicals, postage, fees, and all kinds of things to ensure that your abroad gig is going. Whether that means working more hours, asking daddy for more money, or going full El Chapo, find a way to start scrapping up them pennies henny.
Start saying your goodbyes!
This one may not make sense so I will explain. When you find out that you are going abroad you immediately find peers going with you. You start planning out where you'll visit, you ask former students what they did, and you begin to envision yourself there. This is all great, but you forget that that is the future. You are still in the now. Right now you have your friends, faculty, and family back home. Going abroad is no easy endeavor. It's like that first time you stepped onto the quad to see Coxe looming over you.
Of course it's not that intense, but there's still a lot you have to adjust to and plan for.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.