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If you are still thinking that study abroad is not for you, you probably believe in some of the common myths about study abroad. Get these misunderstandings out of your way, and truly look into Study Abroad Benefits and Steps To Get There

Myth #1: Study abroad is a luxury. I can’t afford it.

Fact: The cost varies depending on the type and location of the program, the length of the stay, and whether the program is administered through a university or an outside organization. Study abroad can be affordable. Many colleges and universities are committed to maintaining cost parity; a semester abroad should cost exactly the same as one on the home campus, at least as far as tuition and board. Some study abroad programs — especially those in developing countries — can actually be less expensive than tuition and fees for the equivalent amount of time on home campus. Moreover, financial aid should be transferable as long as the home college accepts the transferred credits.

Myth #2: There aren’t many scholarships available for studying abroad.

Fact: There are hundreds and hundreds of study abroad scholarships available. TAMU-CC has one Study Abroad Scholarship. In addition, students with a special need or good academic standing can apply for local, regional, national, and international study abroad scholarships. Many private organizations such as the Shawn Carter Foundation, Fulbright Awards, Boren Awards and the Benjamin A. Gilman Award also provide millions of scholarship for study abroad every year. For a comprehensive listing of scholarships and funding, check out our Finance section.

Myth #3: I have to study in an English-speaking country because I don't know any foreign languages.

Fact: It's true that the more language background you have before you leave, the more immersed you can become once you arrive. However, you shouldn't let lack of skills in a language stop you from studying in a particular country. There are many study abroad programs that require no prior foreign language instruction. They are fully taught in English, even though English is not their official language. Other programs may provide you with intensive language classes at the beginning of your stay abroad.

Myth #4: Study abroad is only for language and international relations majors.

Fact: All subjects can be taught through a global lens. Study abroad is for all majors, and students in every field will benefit from a global experience. Historically, most programs embraced the humanities, but today only 11.3 percent of students who study abroad major in the humanities and only an additional 5.6 percent major in languages. More colleges are offering or even requiring international stints for students in social sciences, business, and engineering/math/sciences.

Myth #5: Studying abroad is all about partying and having fun.

Fact: It’s about studying, learning and building valuable skills. Although it should be fun, it’s also a serious undertaking that will challenge students on a personal level and have an impact on their academic career. Studying abroad includes taking classes, preferably taught by local professors on locally-relevant subjects — and in the local language if possible. Students will learn about different education systems and ways of teaching. They will find themselves challenging their own ideas and beliefs once they’ve had a chance to experience an alternate perspective. Students will learn how to appreciate different cultures and solve problems while operating in an environment from what they’re used to.

Myth #6: Study abroad is only for juniors.

Fact: It is for any undergraduate or graduate student at any time. While studying abroad as a junior continues to be the most popular, freshmen, sophomores and seniors are studying abroad anywhere from two weeks to a full academic year. Many college programs offer study abroad opportunities, and increasing numbers of graduate students are spending part of their time abroad. Students should consider the pros and cons of studying abroad at different times and for different lengths of time and choose that which is best.

Myth #7: Studying abroad is only for white students.

Fact: Anyone who wants to study abroad can study abroad. For these students, barriers include fear of racism, worries about delayed graduation, and few role models — either family or faculty — who have traveled abroad. Most administrators agree that increasing racial and ethnic diversity in study abroad will require an effort to persuade students that going abroad is both possible and necessary. If you are a person of color, ethnically diverse, someone with a disability or anyone else who doesn’t fit the “study abroad stereotype” — you can do it. Groups such as Diversity Abroad, MIUSA, and NAFSA Special Interest Group provide support.

Myth #8: Traveling independently offers the same experience.

Fact: Studying abroad includes “studying,” whereas traveling does not. Traveling and tourism are added perks to studying abroad, but they should not overshadow the actual purpose of studying abroad, which is studying and living in another culture. Taking classes with local students, and honing language skills by communicating and interacting with local friends or a host family, will offer much deeper insight into the local culture. Rather than leaving town every weekend, students should explore their host community and spend time getting to know the local neighborhood, not just seeing the big sights. Students will learn more about themselves and others.

Myth #9: Studying abroad will delay graduation.

Fact: If students plan ahead and make sure their credits transfer, there’s no reason graduation will be delayed. In fact, research shows that four-year graduation rates for students who studied abroad are significantly higher than those who stayed at home — 17.8 percent higher. Study abroad students returns with a reinvigorated interest in academic pursuits and a renewed passion for lifelong learning. Some students who study abroad for a year have actually graduated in less than four years because of the accelerated classes they took while abroad.

Myth #10: Potential employers don’t value study abroad.

Fact: Employers increasingly want workers who can work cross-culturally and speak another language. Study abroad is one of the best ways (often the only way) for students to acquire marketable international qualifications, cross-cultural competency, and proficiency in a second language. In addition to valuing the soft skills acquired while spending time abroad, employers want workers who can collaborate with others around the world. But just listing study abroad on a resume or in a cover letter won’t cut it. Students must package their study abroad experience in a way that showcases what they’ve learned. Organizations will want to know what an applicant did and learned while abroad — and how that experience can be brought to bear on the job.

Source: HuffPost