Study abroad provides students with opportunities
Study Abroad offers many summer programs to students so that they can both travel and earn credit hours toward their degrees. Through studying abroad, students can experience life in nations such as England, Cuba, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Peru, Germany, Austria, Belize and Canada.
The duration of the programs usually vary from a couple weeks to a semester, and over that amount of time, students can often earn up to six credit hours.
The university handles accommodations for lodging so that the students’ primary responsibilities are covering the cost of tuition.
Each program has a different tuition cost. Often, students find the costs imposing. However, The University of Southern Mississippi’s Office of Study Abroad offers scholarship opportunities to lighten the financial loads.
One of the largest scholarship opportunities is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. The Gilman scholarship is available to anyone who is eligible for a Pell Grant and offers up to $5,000 as needed.
Even if you are not eligible for the Gilman scholarship, there are dozens more scholarships opportunities available. The Office of Study Abroad has a page dedicated to scholarships on the university’s website.
“I would encourage any students looking into studying abroad to capitalize on the numerous scholarship opportunities offered,” study abroad peer adviser Zachary Ransom said.
In addition to scholarship opportunities, study abroad can also guide students to several student loan opportunities. Ransom used one of these loans to finish covering the cost of the program’s tuition.
Sometimes, students are hesitant to take on a student loan, however, students who have taken that path have sung praises of assistance.
“The decision was made that [using a student loan] would be worth the experience, and in hindsight I was right. I would do it all again if I am given another chance to do so,” Ransom said.
Beyond the financial responsibilities, there are other necessary preparations students should make for studying abroad.
For example, some students have jobs, and taking a couple weeks or a month off from work is not always easy. However, Ransom advises students to plan as far ahead as possible with their employers to make these concerns more manageable.
Students should also keep in mind that communications with home may be limited. There are plenty of options to remedy this, such as international data plans or use of public Wi-Fi, but preparations for communication should be considered.
If students have any questions or need any assistance, coordinators within the Study Abroad office will be more than willing to help.
Amanda Ladner spent last summer in London on the British Studies Program for the Mass Communications and Journalism program.
“The Study Abroad staff went above and beyond to make sure that I was prepared and excited for what would be a fun and transforming month,” Ladner said.
“Rely on your advisers and staff members to help guide you on what and how to pack. Many of them have been on trips to these areas before and will use their experience to guide you,” Ranson said. “Be ready to meet new people and experience new things. While this can be a little anxiety-inducing, it can also be the time of your life.”
The earlier students begin to plan to study abroad, the more assistance they will have available.