Studying abroad means traveling to another country to take courses as part of a student’s degree program. Students have the opportunity to live and study in a different country while being fully immersed in local life, Study Abroad director Kelli Anderson said.
UTA offers over 500 study abroad programs in 62 countries for all fields of study, she said.
The university previously suspended study abroad travel because of the pandemic, but with additional requirements to ensure students’ health and safety, UTA approved plans to resume in 2021, Anderson said.
A handful of students have completed or are in the process of approval for studying abroad in the fall, and Anderson is looking forward to more students participating in the future, she said.
Social work alumna Sami Ostendorp studied abroad in Denmark and Sweden during the summer of 2018.
Ostendorp thought it would be too expensive, but she received scholarships that made it possible.
Since students are earning UTA credits, they are able to utilize regular university scholarships and financial aid as well as scholarships specifically for studying abroad. There is at least one study abroad
scholarship every UTA student is eligible to apply for, Anderson said.
Scholarship workshops offered throughout the year can help students put together competitive applications, and some students have been able to fully fund their
program through scholarships and financial aid packages, she said.
Political science alumna Marissa Cripe said she fully funded studying abroad in Havana, Cuba, through scholarships.
She said students should use the resources available to them and should visit the Study Abroad office even if they aren’t sure because the staff there are helpful and encouraging.
Ostendorp recommends that students contact the Study Abroad office as soon as possible to give themselves time to plan and meet scholarship and application deadlines.
“At no point did I feel like I was just getting sent off to a random country to fail,” she said. “I definitely felt like they were really supportive of me leading up to it and the whole time I was there.”
At first she said she was nervous because she didn’t go with anyone from UTA, but it didn’t make a difference since she met so many new people.
Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective, Ostendorp said. She said it’s one thing to learn about it in the classroom, but another to go see it and meet people in real life.
“You grow a lot when you travel, especially traveling independently. As a young person, just the experience of having to figure stuff out on the fly in a foreign country is definitely really helpful, I think, in real-world situations,” she said.
It expands your mind-set beyond academics, and you gain experience and wisdom from meeting people from all over the world, she said.
Students are earning college credits, but it’s not like going to class. When students study abroad, they can experience multiple perspectives alongside learning course content, Cripe said.
She said studying abroad is the perfect opportunity for students to step out of their comfort zones, and it’s a great way to learn about other cultures not just from a textbook, but in real life.