How to Cut the Cost of Studying Abroad

Cammi Roberts, Contributing Writer

Study abroad programs are often advertised as transformative life experiences that yield many long term benefits.

While research and anecdotal evidence supports the idea that a semester abroad helps to shape students into more independent and open-minded global citizens, many students struggle to go abroad.

As you encounter and overcome challenges that you would never face in your home country, you develop confidence interacting with and exploring a new region and its culture.

Although the source of these obstacles stem from many different situations, including major, financial status or other personal situations, St. John’s and other institutions are working to bridge this gap.

St. John’s takes action by offering a wide variety of programs, from those that are tailored to specific majors to programs that run off-season (in the winter or summer) to accommodate those who cannot commit to a semester abroad.

The University works to cut down the cost of the international experience, offering scholarship and grant opportunities and highlighting external opportunities.

I am a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship, a grant program operated through the U.S. Department of State to help diversify the population of students able to go abroad.

This scholarship gave me the opportunity to focus on my experience abroad, to reflect on my growth while abroad and gave me a variety of new experiences that would not have been possible without it.

Applicants of the Gilman Scholarship must be eligible for the Pell Grant and complete the application process, which includes two essays.

Applicants may receive up to $5,000 — with an average of around $4,000 awarded to students. Gilman students complete a follow-up project while abroad or afterwards to share their experience and encourage greater participation in study abroad programs and the Gilman Scholarship.

Another available scholarship is offered by Tortuga, a travel equipment company. Students must submit an essay and if granted, may be eligible to win a $1,000 scholarship and an Outbreaker backpack.

The Italian Cultural Center offers a scholarship to St. John’s students who are studying abroad in Rome. Students are to receive up to $2,500 and must submit a letter of recommendation from a faculty member as well as 250 word essay.

An alternative method to help fund the study abroad experience is to work for the school while abroad. Positions are available as a Social Media Ambassador through the Global Studies department or working with Academic-Service Learning (ASL) staff to coordinate and facilitate ASL experiences in the community.

Study abroad is an investment, but there are resources available to help. The St. John’s Global Studies Department has a variety of sources available for further research.