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Posted by Sarah Roche on October 17, 2011
I have always wanted to go abroad. The farthest outside the US I have been was Toronto, and that was in the seventh grade. Even so, I’ve always had the “writer’s dream” of being a Hemingway-esque ex-pat drinking, smoking and writing in some smoky bar. But then, life got in the way. I had a business to run then debts to pay once the business closed. Now, as I walk through the hallways of the student union or the fine arts building, I am constantly tempted by the summer abroad flyers and tear off postcards requesting more information form this program in Asia or that one in Australia. But still, I hadn’t really considered studying abroad a possibility for me.
But hey, I write a blog for non-traditional students, so I might as well ask, right?
The first thing I did was head to the Career Development Center’s website. I found this Global Competency Quick Guide, which was helpful, but not really what I was looking for. I hunted around for a while and found this page on their site. It’s buried deep, but offers a number of links to internship and study abroad opportunities. Unfortunately, as I was going through, I found that many of these were outside my price range, had an age limit, or both. It was a good start and had some potential, but I needed a bit more.
Then I received an email from the Transfer Student Listserv- which I maintain is the best listserv on campus- about the Critical Language Scholarship. That email originated from the External Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards Office. I sent a quick email to Janice Macdonald, the Director of the office, and set up an appointment to discuss international opportunities that might work for non-trads. I hit the goldmine. Janice is a wealth of information. I let her know that I was aware that I would age out of some programs, but she was amazing about finding scholarships for which I was not only eligible, but would be a great fit. Did you know the Gillman Scholarship allows for study abroad and is great for non-trads? If you are interested in study abroad as a non-trad, get to Janice’s office ASAP, then check out her website- she has a ton of information on there that is very valuable.
I left Janice’s office (located in College in the Woods tucked away in the tutoring center) with applications in hand and excited about potential options.
But then, one of my current professors taught during last year’s London Program through Binghamton University’s English Department. She was telling us all about the program during class one day and I thought, hey, I might as well ask. I checked out the information on the website for the program and didn’t see an age limit on the application, so I sent a quick email over to Kerry Cook, the advisor for the program, asking about an age limit. She let me know that there is no age limit and set me up with an appointment to meet with her. Her office is in the Rockefeller Building across the street from Lecture Hall one. Definitely ask for directions if you aren’t familiar with the building- it is a maze! Anyhow, it is a great program, and even though the ticket price is rather shocking at first, once you actually compare it to what you spend for housing and personal expenses it wasn’t as far off as I expected it to be. I stopped by the financial aid office to find out whether I could swing this program or not, and it seems that they are rather well versed in this. They sent me on my way with a form to fill out and return. I don’t know if I can afford it yet, but the fact that the opportunity is even available is really exciting.
So what about you? Would you consider a study abroad program as a non-trad? Have you heard of any non-trads who have studied abroad? Let me know in the comments below.