Education Abroad 101 helps students plan study abroad programs

(Photo courtesy of Rachel Sarnie)

UConn’s Education Abroad Office held an “Education Abroad 101” event on Tuesday, designed to inform students about the different study abroad programs the university offers.

Laura Hills, an advisor at the Education Abroad Office, stressed the importance of planning. While many students shy away from studying abroad because they don’t think they’ll be able to graduate on time, Hills said if students plan early, it’s very likely the Education Abroad Office can help them find a program that works for them.

Hills encouraged students to take the opportunity to study abroad while they are in college.

“Unfortunately, life changes once you graduate and have a full-time job,” Hills said.

Hills said students who are unsure of where to start planning should visit the Education Abroad Office, located in Rowe 117 and meet with an advisor.

Hills also debunked a lot of misconceptions people have about study abroad programs.

Many UConn study abroad programs are taught in English, even in non-English speaking countries, so students are able to travel to countries without speaking their native languages. Another misconception many students have about studying abroad is they will have to go for a full semester. UConn offers many different lengths of programs, including over the summer and winter breaks.

Hills also said students with disabilities shouldn’t be deterred, because the Education Abroad Office works with UConn’s Center for Students with Disabilities in order to provide accommodations.

Financially, studying abroad can be confusing, too. Hills said federal aid can be applied to some programs. There is also a section to apply for a Global Citizenship scholarship included on the study abroad application.

Hills also said the location the student chooses to go to can influence how much money they spend, because exchange rates for the U.S. dollar vary from country to country.

“There are certain parts of the world that are cheaper to live in than [others],” Hills said.

The Education Abroad Office also provides budget sheets for every study abroad program they offer, breaking down the expected costs of a student’s study abroad program.

Second-semester psychology major Clare Collins attended “Education Abroad 101” and said her siblings influenced her decision to want to study abroad.

“My siblings went [to UConn] and they didn’t get a chance to study abroad,” Collins said. “They’re in the ‘real world’ now so they’re like, ‘Take this opportunity.’”

Rachel Sarnie is a sixth-semester digital media and design major at UConn currently abroad in London. She said a big reason she went to London was because she has an opportunity to study at the University of the Arts London, which is home to one of the best design schools in the world. However, she also went for the experience itself.

“I felt like I needed the push to get out of my comfort zone,” Sarnie said.

Emily McAndrew is also a UConn student currently studying in London. McAndrew decided to study abroad for similar reasons.

“I felt like I was trapped in the Connecticut bubble and was eager to get out and travel,” McAndrew said.

Seventh-semester human development and family studies major Clare Liu, also abroad in London, echoed McAndrew and Sarnie’s thoughts.

“It’s an amazing way to see the world and expand your horizons,” Liu said.

Sarnie said she was surprised how well she has adapted to London, despite only being there for two weeks so far.

“I expected to take a while to adjust being so far from home, but the city feels so much like Boston or New York that it’s been a pretty seamless transition,” Sarnie said.


Schae Beaudoin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.