First Generation College Students Abroad
As the first person in your immediate family to go to college, you may feel like studying abroad adds another layer of complexity to your educational experience. We are here to help and offer the questions and resources below as a starting point. As always, your EA advisor is available to assist you with your questions and navigate these resources.
Questions to Ask Yourself and/or Your Study Abroad Advisor
- Why am I pursuing study abroad? What do I hope to accomplish from this experience?
- If no one in my family has ever studied abroad, who can help me answer their questions as I plan my experience?
- If this is my first time abroad, is it important to retain some cultural similarities? Or am I looking for as different an experience as possible?
- How important is it for me to be geographically close to my friends and family while I am abroad? Example: Do I feel more comfortable going somewhere closer to the United States, like Mexico or the Caribbean, or would I consider somewhere very far away like India or Australia?
- How will my study abroad experience fit into my academic plan at UMD (major, minor, elective, or credit, etc.)?
- Am I looking for a program that offers practical experience, like an internship, as part of the program?
- How will I incorporate my experiences abroad back into my life at UMD upon my return from abroad, especially if this is the first time I have been abroad?
- How will I use my study abroad experiences in the future, either personally, academically, professionally, or otherwise?
- How will I explain the process to family and friends?
- How can I explain to my family that a study abroad experience can contribute to the achievement of my academic and career goals?
- How will I involve my family in my decision to study abroad, if at all? Will they be financing any portion of my study abroad experience?
- How will I keep in touch with family and friends while I am abroad?
- What resources are available for my family and friends?
- How do I plan to finance my time abroad?
- Are there any other expenses beyond the cost of the study abroad program that I need to consider (i.e., passport, plane tickets, and meals, etc.)?
- How does the cost of attendance for study abroad compare to my cost of attendance here in College Park? (Tip: Use EA’s cost of attendance comparison worksheet)
- What are any additional funding sources that can help finance study abroad?
I am a first generation student and I wanted to hurry through school as quickly as possible to save money. However, studying abroad taught me that sometimes it is best to take a step back and experience things in life that you never considered.
- Make an appointment with a Global Learning Advisor
- Speak with the Financial Aid Office for questions about how aid applies to study abroad
- Review Diversity Abroad’s guidance for first generation college students who study abroad
- Read about Culture Shock and American Identity Abroad
- Visit the FirstGenTerps website for more campus resources geared towards first generation UMD college students
- Check out the Counseling Center for information on common student concerns