Disproving Study Abroad Myths
Just like any new experience or opportunity, there are many assumptions and falsehoods created about studying abroad. With accurate facts, students can make educated decisions about studying abroad.
#1: Studying abroad is too expensiveReality: UTSA offers more than 1,000 study abroad programs that range in costs. Some programs are very comparable to studying at UTSA. Some programs are more expensive and some are less. There are a variety of ways to pay for studying abroad, including scholarships, financial aid, and loans. By planning ahead, you can speak to your family about your financial restrictions, as well as save for your time abroad. If budgeting is a concern, the cost of a program can be factored into choosing the right program for you.
#2: Financial aid doesn't transfer to study abroad.Reality: The programs listed on this site have been approved by UTSA, which allows most financial aid to apply to study abroad. There are also a number of scholarships set up specifically for studying abroad.
#3: It is necessary to speak a second language to study abroad.Reality: While some programs do have a language requirement, many programs are taught exclusively in English. Some of these programs are located in countries where English is an official language (Australia, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom) and some are hosted in countries where English is a secondary language (Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Korea, Sweden, Thailand, and Turkey). To find programs taught in a specific language – such as English – specify a “Language of Instruction” when you search for programs.
#4: It is not possible to complete major requirements while abroad.Reality: Many students are able to earn credit toward their major while studying abroad. Regulations vary by major, college, and curriculum. Some UTSA departments are stricter in their specific requirements, but other departments offer some flexibility with their course work. Some UTSA colleges offer faculty-led programs that offer UTSA-credit courses while abroad. In some UTSA faculty-led programs, it is entirely possible to earn an entire semester's credit while studying at a foreign institution. With a large variety of programs, there may be one or several programs that provide courses that fulfill requirements in a specific major or curriculum. If you have questions, please speak with your Academic Advisor in your department and your Education Abroad Advisor.
#5: Studying abroad will delay graduation.Reality: Many students study abroad and graduate in four years. Students earn credit toward graduation requirements for most courses taken abroad. By frequently consulting and meeting with academic advisors, students can even study abroad for an entire academic year without affecting their graduation date. In fact, some students study abroad two or three times and still graduate on time.
#6: It would be better to study abroad after graduation.Reality: It is difficult to find time after graduation to study or travel in another country. College is a unique time that allows for a summer, semester, or year studying abroad. After graduating, most people find that the demands of work, family, and other responsibilities prevent them from spending significant time abroad.
#7: Studying abroad doesn’t help your career.Reality: Employers look to hire well-rounded employees who are able to demonstrate the ability to adapt well to new situations and thrive in multicultural environments. Businesses are increasingly growing into international companies and utilizing skills gained from a study abroad experience gives potential employees an edge that others lack.
#8: Most students do not study abroad.Reality: Nationally, the number of U.S. students studying abroad has increased by more than 150 percent in the past ten years.* You may put yourself at a competitive disadvantage in the post-graduation marketplace by not studying abroad.
*Bhandari R. and Chow, P. (2009). Open Doors 2009: Report on International Education Exchange. New York: Institute of International Education.