Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Young Traveler

And by young travelers, I don't mean the under 12 year olds who must fly under the supervision of air attendants (though I do appreciate the security that this can bring to parents!)

I'm thinking more of the advantages of studying abroad, and sharing (and learning!) more about how these amazing programs can really build a life of travel. 

I was a freshman at Clemson University...majoring in Spanish language & International trade, and had the good fortune to learn about the numerous programs that were set up through the Clemson Unvieristy Study Abroad office (if your college/university doesn't have one, I bet they have a partnership with another school in your state that does!). 

It was SUCH a great experience - for each summer in college, I went to a different country, took classes, honed my language skills, and had a BLAST!!!

For the summer after my freshman year, I went to Spain;  after my sophomore year, to Uganda, and after the junior year, to Mexico. 

If you're interested in studying abroad soon, it'd be great to plan out how that can happen. 

Here are a few ideas on what made my undergrad adventures really memorable:
  1. Get the classes/credits approved.  Be sure that the classes you take are part of your degree program and approved for transfer to your school.  Since the programs that I was involved with were in partnership with Clemson University and the other schools, this wasn't too hard.  If you're seeking out a program on your own, just have this on your radar.
  2. Figure out how you can pay for it.  I made the mistake of putting my tuition, flight, etc. on credit cards (that I'm still paying off.....just 2 more payments to go, though!!!) Payment for these programs is broken down into several dates, and I'm sure there are lots of options.  Just be sure to factor in these costs!
  3. Look in not-so-obvious places.  For the summer stint in Uganda, I participated in a research fellowship that was sponsored and funded by CUNY (City University of New York).  As it turns out, a professor at Clemson U.  helped to organize the program, and he submitted my application.  He was a professor in engineering (very far away from my language department!), but another professor who knew about my travel addiction put us in touch.....and Voila!
  4. Get Mom and Dad on board.  Literally - the programs that Clemson had set up were quite affordable for guests to attend, also.  For the summer in Spain, my mom came over for 2 weeks and we got to do all the tours together.  It was magnificent! 
  5. Research scholarships.  There is sooooooo much funding available for studying abroad, particularly in concentrations like language and architecture, etc. whose subject matter deals with material that is located in different parts of the world.  Start looking!
Hope to hear your ideas on studing abroad!  Any good tips to share?


  1. Hey there, great post Im an international relations student and... Im going to study abroad Im going to Spain for like 4 months.. School is going to start in like a couple of weeks..I have almost everything is ready for my departure.. Right now Im just looking for a place to stay.. Im very nervous, but I think that this experience is going to be a great one =)

  2. Thanks for the comment! Where will you be studying? 4 months is a nice long time to be there, too! I went for one summer and was based at Ciudad Universitaria in Madrid. It was sooooooooo amazing! Take a look at craigslist.com in the city where you'll be for apartment ads. Good luck!

  3. I could not agree with you more!!! If you have the opportunity to study abroad...DO IT!!! I had the privilege of studying in France for one semester during my undergrad studies... it was, hands down, my most memorable college experience!!! Absolutely amazing... on so many levels!

  4. Hey there... Im going to be going to Sevilla =)