As a first generation student, you have the incredible opportunity to be the first in your family to ever study abroad while in college or at all! As the first person in your family to be presented with such a unique experience, you likely have many questions; the Study Abroad Office staff is here to help you get the process started.
Steps to Take
- Ask thoughtful Questions
- Research the Benefits
- Identify Resources Available
- Discuss Your Study Abroad Plans
- What are my reasons for studying abroad? What goals do I have?
- How will my study abroad experience fit into my academic plan (major, minor, elective, or general requirements, etc.)?
- How will I use my study abroad experiences in the future, either personally, academically, professionally, or otherwise?
- How will I explain the process and my interest in studying abroad to family and friends?
- How can I explain to my family and friends that a study abroad experience can contribute to achievement of my academic and career goals?
- How can I let my family and friends know that it is safe to travel abroad?
- How can I stay in touch with my friends and family while abroad?
- What resources are available to me?
- Since no one in my family has ever studied abroad, who can help me check to see that I am on the right track as I plan?
- Is it okay if I schedule an extra appointment with my study abroad advisor if I'm not sure what to do?
- How will I make studying abroad affordable?
- Are there additional funding sources I can look into to help finance study abroad?
ResearchSome of the benefits of study abroad include:
- You can fulfill requirements
- If you plan well in advance, study abroad or away should not delay your graduation. Courses that you take elsewhere can be applied to your major/minor and general education requirements. Auggies will also complete the Augsburg Experience by participating in off-campus study. Furthermore, studying abroad can even HELP with graduating on time as there are plenty of short term programs (spring break, winter break, summer) that count for credit that can help you catch up if you are behind on credits.
- It’s a life-changing experience
- Study Abroad alumni report that their experience was by far the most exciting and rewarding part of their education. You will enrich your learning and develop a new sense of yourself and the place of the US in the world. You will improve your confidence, independence and self-awareness.
- It’s a great investment in your future!
- Off-campus study helps you develop skills and experience that will enhance your resume or graduate school application. Learning and living in another culture in the US or abroad are catalysts for the development of academic, intercultural, and personal leadership skills critical to responsible global citizenship.
- For further reading on the benefits of study abroad, we recommend the article “Study Abroad Benefits” posted by Diversity Abroad.
IdentifyResources for financial assistance
- Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience programs (“Augsburg CGEE” programs) offer a variety of scholarships, for Auggies and students from any institution. In 2017/18 academic year, CGEE awarded over $100,000 in scholarships and discounts to students traveling on our programs. See our scholarships page for a full listing of opportunities available.
- Other scholarships do exist for study abroad! Some of the top national scholarships include the Gilman, Boren, and FEA scholarships. You can read about these scholarships, as well as links to notable scholarship search engines, on our scholarship page.
- Read “7 Best Practices for Travel Scholarship Applications” from goabroad.com for excellent scholarship tips!
- Apart from loans, institutional aid, and scholarships, some students launch crowd-sourced donation pages. “Fund My Travel” is a popular choice, as well as the more widely-known “Go Fund Me”. Many of these platforms will take a percentage of your donations, so be sure to check all of the requirements before launching your page!
- Diversity Abroad’s Diversity and Inclusion Abroad Guide for First Generation students
- GoOverseas.com article, “What's it Like to Study Abroad and Be the First in Your Family to Travel?”. Although not specifically for first generation college students, this article is a summary of interviews of students who were the first to travel in their family.
- Speak with your study abroad adviser about your plans for study abroad and any questions you have.
- If you receive financial aid, contact the Financial Aid Office to learn about how your Augsburg financial aid will apply to study abroad, review costs and budgeting, and discuss any other scholarship opportunities that you might want to pursue. Non-Augsburg students should check with their home institution’s financial aid office to discuss your financial aid availability abroad.
- Ask your study abroad advisor to put you in contact with returnees who can share their experiences abroad with you. Many providers, including Augsburg CGEE programs, will also have alumni ambassadors willing to speak about their experiences on a specific program!
- Reach out to your TRIO advisor, if you have one, for additional resources and support.
- Other offices on-campus have resources and advising for students who are interested in learning more about how to fully utilize their experiences abroad in the future. Augsburg offices include: