Study Abroad Myths#1: Studying abroad is too expensive for me.
The reality: The majority of students who study abroad for a semester or year choose the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). Through ISEP, students pay ASC tuition, room and board and continue to receive all of their regular financial aid, just like a semester on campus. If you can afford to study at ASC, you can afford to study abroad for a semester.
There are many scholarships students can apply for: OIE scholarships, awards through certain ASC departments, scholarships from the various study abroad programs, and for federal Pell grant recipients, the national Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship. There may be other scholarship opportunities for certain countries. Your study abroad adviser will help you determine which scholarships you can apply for. Study Abroad Scholarships is a good place to start.
Also, if you received the Agnes Advantage award upon your admission to Agnes Scott, you may use those funds toward study abroad after completing two full years at ASC.
#2: Studying abroad will cause me to graduate late.
The reality: Whether you study abroad for a summer, semester or year, you will earn credit for every course you take abroad. All students who plan to study abroad are required to seek pre-approval from the appropriate ASC department chair to receive credit for courses abroad. The deadline for submitting the Application for Study Abroad Approval is March 1 each year preceding the intended term abroad. For example, the March 1, 2012 deadline is for students who plan to study abroad in summer 2012, fall 2012 and spring 2013.
#3: I have to be fluent in a foreign language to study abroad.
The reality: ISEP has programs in more than 40 countries, which offer courses in English even if the official language of the country is not English. To really immerse yourself in your destination country, however, it is good practice to learn as much of the official language as possible.
#4: Studying abroad is not safe.
The reality: There will be a director and/or staff on site at all times to assist you with any issues that may arise. It’s worth keeping in mind that crime rates in many countries are much lower than they are in the United States. For extra precaution, we recommend that anyone traveling or studying abroad register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you should an emergency arise.
#5: I will be alone if I participate in a non-faculty-led program.
The reality: At all study abroad sites, there will be a director and/or staff who coordinate the program and are in charge of providing an orientation and who can assist you with all kinds of issues. Although you may be the only student from ASC on a given program, you will be joined by other students who are participating in the program and learning their way around, just like you.
#6: I will need to find my own housing while studying abroad.
The reality: Whether students live on or off campus while studying abroad through an ASC-approved program, they do not need to find their own housing. The program is responsible for coordinating accommodation. Depending on the programs offerings and your personal preferences, you may live in a dorm or an apartment or with a host family.