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Travel the world and graduate on time

| Kallie Friede and Natalie Donovan

Did you know that the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has one of the highest percentages of students who study abroad in the UW System? With impressive educational programs located around the world, it’s easy to see why so many students dream about taking their college education abroad.

At the same time people start thinking about going abroad, so many students look at their degree audits and think that there’s no possible way they could go and still stay on track to graduate on time. With the right planning tools and help, immersing yourself in a different culture doesn’t have to put you behind in your academic career.

One of the reasons why so many students from UW-Eau Claire have the opportunity to study abroad is because our advisers understand how to plan efficiently. Often, advisers help students fulfill their general education classes, specific major credits or elective classes abroad. If a semester still seems too overwhelming for your schedule, don’t forget that our university also offers Winterim and summer study abroad programs and weeklong immersion courses. One of the best parts about these short-term programs is that they will actually help you to graduate faster because you’ll be taking classes when most students are on a break from school.

No matter where you go or how long you go for, all the programs have one thing in common — they cost money. Financial stress is something the typical college student deals with on a day-to-day basis, so how can one plan to spend so much money abroad? It’s overwhelming, but don’t worry; there are many people who want to help you succeed.

First things first: If you receive financial aid at the university, it will be applied toward study abroad as well. We know this is great news, but don’t let it stop you from searching for more aid. When you mention to your adviser that you want to go abroad, share your financial uncertainties. Your adviser will lay out all of the opportunities that are affordable for you and can tell you where to go to look for scholarships or grants for your program.

What if your adviser can’t answer all your questions? Make an appointment at the Center for International Education in Schofield 3. The people who work there have plenty of knowledge on the programs offered and can give you a cost breakdown of all the programs you’re interested in. Along with your adviser and the CIE office, ask your friends who have studied abroad in the past about how they saved money during their experience. Everyone’s journey is different and hearing another person’s ideas will help you brainstorm for your own. Don’t let financial stress or graduation worries scare you away from learning about a different culture. College is the time to immerse yourself in the uncertain, so don’t let it pass you by.