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First Generation Students

If you are a first generation student, there can often be a lot of questions and concerns that arise when considering studying abroad. You may even be the first in your family to live abroad and need additional support in navigating the university and study abroad system. Our staff is more than happy to help walk you through the steps of selecting a study abroad program and discussing the application process, as well as answering any questions you have along the way.

First generations students can face the barrier of trying to explain to family their desire to go abroad, so it is important for you to be prepared and do your research. You want to make sure to consider your goals for going abroad, how your study abroad experience will fit in with your academic and career plan, as well as if your financial aid can be applied and what scholarships are available to you. Make sure that you contact the resources that you have available to you on campus such as your Academic Advisor, the Financial Aid office, and the EOP office if that applies to your situation. We also recommend taking a looks at our Scholarships and Financial Aid page for more information on how to help plan financially for your time abroad.

It is also helpful if you can research the benefits of study abroad that you can share with family or friends who may not fully understand your reasoning for going abroad. NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) provides a list of the number of benefits associated with study abroad. This includes:
  • Enhance Your Global Awareness. You can enhance your awareness of the world around you by studying abroad. To be an educated citizen today requires students to able to see the world through others' eyes and to understand the international dimensions of the problems we confront as a nation skills that are enhanced by an education abroad experience.
  • Enhance Your Academic Learning. You can help enhance your academic learning by studying abroad. A study abroad experience will introduce you to new professors who can expose you to new viewpoints beyond your campus, and a diverse student body that can introduce you to different customs and cultures. A study abroad experience also lets you expand your academic learning outside of the classroom, because you live what you are learning.
  • Develop Your Leadership Skills. You can strengthen your leadership skills by studying abroad. An educational opportunity outside the United States can be among the most valuable tools for preparing a student to participate and lead effectively in an increasingly interconnected international community that demands cross-cultural skills and knowledge.
  • Advance Your Career. You can help advance your career by studying abroad. In today's increasingly global society, obtaining international skills and knowledge can make you more marketable in getting a job and more productive once you're in the job.
  • Experience Personal Growth. You can experience significant personal growth by studying abroad. Students who study abroad discover that in the process of learning about other countries and culture they end up learning more about themselves in ways that simply cannot be replicated in the comforting and familiar confines of an American campus.
  • Learn Another Language. Students can better learn another language by studying abroad. Immersion in another language through study abroad is one of the best ways to gain proficiency in that language.

Other helpful resources include
I'm First! Yes, You Can Study Abroad as a First Generation Student!
Diversity Abroad: First Generation Students