By Brandon Whiting
Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Addis Ababa. While all of these cities are continents apart, they all have one thing in common: SUNY New Paltz offers study abroad programs in all of them.
Studying abroad is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience that is often overlooked by students. Many students never take the chance to even consider studying abroad because they have misconceptions about the cost, how credits transfer and if it will affect their graduation date. In reality, almost any student could study abroad if they want to, as long as they know the steps required of them.
Visit the Study Abroad Office
The advisors at the study abroad office will walk you through all the steps required. Both walk-ins and appointments are allowed and the office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office is the blue house located on campus, overlooking South Manheim and wedged between the New Science Building and the Student Union Building parking lot.
Visit the International Programs website and find what program works for you
The International Programs website is located at newpaltz.edu/studyabroad. Click the Programs tab, then click “Search for Programs.” From there, you can search for a program by location. Just type in the city that you are thinking about studying in and it will show you if any programs are available. If there are, you can click on the program and get all the information you need to start planning out your trip, such as the required GPA, language proficiency and even the financial breakdown. To the surprise of many, you will probably find that the cost of a semester abroad is about the equivalent to the cost of a semester here at New Paltz. When you take housing into account, it may even be cheaper to study overseas than it is here. When you are ready, you can also start your application from this page as well.
Talk to your academic advisor
While the advisors at the study abroad office will help guide you through the application process, your academic advisor will be able to give you more personalized advice on what classes to look for and take while abroad. They are also the perfect people to use for the academic reference that you need to complete your study abroad application. You also might need your advisor to waive any language proficiency requirements if you plan on studying in a program that does not have any.
Talk to your parent(s)/guardian(s)
Now that you have the important information, and you have been familiarized with what you need to do for your application process and what studying abroad will cost you, it’s time to get your family on board. By showing that you have done your research, you’re showing your family that you have put some serious thought and careful consideration into studying abroad and this may help to sway them if they are on the fence. You should send your family the financial breakdown and if they are not confident that they can afford to send you abroad, then fret not.
Assess your financial options
According to Samantha Skillman, the Marketing coordinator of the Center for International Program, “if you are currently receiving financial aid in the form of a scholarship, grant or loan from your home campus, you may be able to continue to receive the same financial aid to apply towards the cost of your participation in a New Paltz Study Abroad program.” Aside from financial aid, there are plenty of different scholarships and grants provided by both the school and private or federally funded endowments that look to help students who wish to study abroad. If you are an Educational Opportunity Program (E.O.P) student, then you can get the $25 application fee waived and you may also qualify for the E.O.P travel grant provided by the school, which can cover up to $725 in airfare. If you are not an EOP student, but are eligible for the Pell Grant, then The Gilman Scholarship Program is another popular scholarship to apply for when studying abroad. Just simply writing two short essays (one is 7,000 characters including spaces, the other is 6,000 characters including spaces) you could earn up to $5,000 for studying abroad.
Start your application
The application process for studying abroad may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s really quite simple. To start, just go to your intended program’s page that you accessed earlier when you searched for your program. Go to the bottom of the page, and hit ‘Apply Now.’ From there, you’ll log in to your SUNY New Paltz online account, and you will be shown the 15 steps you need to complete your application. Many of the steps simply require you to read them. The only steps that take real effort on your part is writing your personal statement, filling out and handing in your medical intake form to the Study Abroad Office, paying your application fee, getting your official transcript to the Study Abroad Office and staying on top of your academic reference/advisor to fill out the required questionnaire and waive your language proficiency form, if needed.
After all of these steps are completed, and your application is turned in, you’re well on your way to studying abroad!
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