study abroad pic

Senior Callie Jacobson poses in front of the London Bridge during a study abroad trip in the summer of 2017.

Once her afternoon class ended, she would take a long siesta before exploring Spain, trying new foods and immersing herself in Spanish culture, all while earning UA credit.

Senior Callie Jacobson, who is majoring in psychology, has spent intercessions studying in Spain, New Zealand, Costa Rica, England and Vietnam. After taking so many trips abroad for credit, Jacobson thinks the experience is great, but it can also be very challenging, she said.

Students can choose from approximately 1,700 different UA-operated or external study abroad programs, which are available during intersessions, for a semester or for an academic year, said Katie Sabo, a study abroad advisor.

Sabo thinks students can travel almost anywhere with programs in Europe, South America, Australia, Africa and Asia, she said. Students who study abroad are not limited to taking courses at another school. Studying abroad also includes experiential learning, research or internships in other countries.

Junior Mallory Winburn, who is majoring in marketing, went to Mozambique the summer after her sophomore year for four weeks and would recommend studying abroad to students, she said.

“I have a greater appreciation for everything that we have here, literally everything: food, water, technology,” Winburn said. “I grew a lot, emotionally and mentally.”

Students must have a 2.5 GPA and be in good conduct standing to qualify for studying abroad, Sabo said.

A student who is not on conduct probation or at risk of suspension or expulsion is considered to be in good conduct standing, according to the 2018-19 student handbook.

Once accepted into a study abroad program, students must sign documents, attend pre-departure meetings and provide information about their passport, medical history and emergency contacts, Sabo said. The study abroad office has drop-in, open advising hours from 3-5 p.m. for those who want more help.

Students might also be required to get vaccinations, which they can get at the immunization clinic at the Pat Walker Health Center. Some shots, like the yellow fever vaccine, are not available at the clinic because there is a nationwide shortage, Sabo said.

Students can use existing scholarships or financial aid to help pay for studying abroad. The Office of Study Abroad, the Honors College and all of the UA colleges offer scholarships, Sabo said.

Jacobson applied for scholarships through the Honors College, which required her to write an essay before and after her trip, she said. The first essay she wrote detailed how the trip would benefit her and help her career goals, while the second was a reflection following her trip.

Sabo thinks students should apply for scholarships as soon as possible, she said. Scholarship availability varies depending on when a student travels abroad. Some programs will have application deadlines, so it is important to plan ahead.

Winburn enjoyed her faculty-led trip and suggests that students make contact with faculty members when applying, she said. She thinks some programs are very competitive, so making face-to-face contact can give people an edge.

Jacobson learned that being uncomfortable is a part of studying abroad, she said. Even when she got food poisoning in Vietnam, Jacobson still continued working on her project.

“Our schedule was so tight that it wasn’t like, ‘Oh Callie, sit and sleep.’ It was like, ‘We have to get on a bus,’” Jacobson said. “So bring a lot of medicine with you, because sometimes it’s scary and hard if you’re sick in another country.”

Sabo thinks studying abroad helps students become globally conscious and develop life skills like independence, perseverance and self-sufficiency, she said.

Winburn’s trip abroad taught her to see the world through new perspectives. Stepping out of her comfort zone gave her skills, like problem solving, that boost one’s credentials in job interviews, she said.

“Whenever people see Mozambique on my resume, that’s the first thing they ask me about in interviews,” Winburn said.

 

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