Hi, I’m Priscilla and my student is starting college at Missouri State. What does it mean to study away? If my student decides to apply for a study away program, is the tuition paid by Missouri State? How does a student apply to study away? Would my student be safe on a study away trip? Where are some places a student can go on a study away trip? Does the student have to go overseas to study away? Are the students chaperoned on these trips? Does the student have to be gone a year to study away? What are the benefits of a study away program?
Hey! My name is Desmond and I am one of the graduate assistants within the Study Away Programs office. I completed three semesters abroad in Mexico and am now in my third year working for Study Away Programs which makes me qualified to talk to you about going abroad! To get the conversation rolling, we’re going to do a bit of role play. I’ll pretend that your child has decided to stop by our office to learn a bit more about how Missouri State Bears can study away. We’ll cover some common questions that both students and parents have about Study Away. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions!
What does it mean to study away?
Study away simply means to pursue academic credit anywhere that is not your host institution (which will hopefully be Missouri State)! Students can opt to pursue credit anywhere domestic or international, but we’ll talk more about that later. Typically, students receive course pre-approval before going abroad so they know the classes they take abroad will count in their degree plan. Study Away or your academic advisor can assist with this.
If a student wants to apply for a study away program, is the tuition paid by Missouri State?
For most of our programs, tuition is not paid for by Missouri State. Students can use any financial aid that is listed on their FAFSA to be used towards their study away program. That money will then be applied to the institution or third-party provider where the student is going, and they will pay nothing to Missouri State except a small administrative fee. Students can use most scholarships when going abroad and we always encourage students to research additional funding sources. Students receiving the Board of Governors (BOG) scholarship, Provost scholarship, or Deans Scholarship will have access to a $1,000 Study Away voucher. Additionally, students meeting scholarship criteria can apply for Study Away College scholarships awarded for each term.
How does a student apply to study away?
We encourage all prospective students to view our Study Away Checklist found on our website to start. Students will meet with either myself or one of our Global Ambassadors, all of whom have studied away for at least 6 weeks. We will then guide the student in picking out a region or country that they want to go to, list out the various program providers that operate in that specific area or country, and then direct the student to our Study Away Programs website to apply. Without going into too much detail, the student will then meet with one of our advisors to answer more in-depth questions about classes and other specifics.
Is studying away safe?
According to the International Institute of Education, over 300,000 US students went abroad last year to further their education. Study Away recognizes the increased awareness of health & safety while students are abroad, and we are committed to maintaining their safety. First and foremost, we don’t send students to level four status countries as designated by the U.S. Department of State. So yes, North Korea is off the table. While students are abroad, we enroll them in Alert Traveler which is a risk management system that allows us to check in with students and automatically sends safety alerts about their surrounding area, wherever they may be. All MSU students going abroad are also enrolled in international health insurance to cover everything from a random trip to a local clinic to emergency evacuations.
Students undertaking a semester or longer program with one of our preferred providers have access to local resources to consult anytime they need support. This can range from learning more about their new city to needing assistance during an emergency. On our short-term programs, MSU students go abroad with one or two MSU professors that have knowledge of the country of choice.
The topic of safety abroad has only been emphasized with the current COVID-19 health crisis. MSU has taken the necessary steps to ensure smooth and informed communication with both students abroad and their parents.
Where are some places a student can go on a study away program?
They can go anywhere that is not at a Department of State warning level four: do not travel status. In 2018, MSU students went to over 45 different countries. Europe is by far the most popular, however Latin America and Asia/Pacific have seen a recent spike in popularity. We encourage students to consider what destination makes the most sense both academically and for their own personal interests. Students are always surprised by the plethora of options they have!
Does the student have to go overseas to study away?
Students do not have to go overseas to study away. Part of the reason why we’re called Study Away and not Study Abroad is because we offer domestic programs alongside our international programs. Professors from a variety of colleges on campus will lead short term faculty directed programs that go over holidays such as winter and spring break. Past destinations have included New York City, Washington D.C. and Yellowstone National Park.
Are the students chaperoned on these programs?
On most of the short-term faculty directed programs, the faculty member will accompany the students on the program and lead them throughout predetermined activities and destinations. However, for our long-term programs. For example, semester and academic year programs, students will not be necessarily chaperoned. There won’t be one person specifically there to watch over them. They will have a dedicated team within their city to help them adjust to the new city and support them with their academics. However, students can still freely travel in their free time and participate in activities outside of their academic program.
Does the student have to be gone a year to study away?
They do not! Our shortest program is a little over four days and is during our fall break. All of our programs are extremely customizable, and students can be gone for as little as a week, like with our short-term faculty directed programs. Or you can be like me and study abroad for three semesters consecutively. It’s all up to the student and what they want to achieve with their study away program.
What are the benefits of a study away program?
The list of benefits of studying away is long and plentiful, but I’ll give you my personal top three.
- You become more marketable once you return and after you graduate. Studying away allows you to set yourself apart from the other students who have the same major as you. Our office offers a workshop upon return called Marketing Your Study Away Experience. This workshop is designed to inform study away alumni how to sell their abroad experience to graduate school and prospective employers. One alumnus, who was a fashion and design major, studied abroad in Milan, Italy and was able to do an internship working on the runway of Milan Fashion Week. This example and countless others are how study away alumni can differentiate themselves in a fierce and competitive job market.
- You can pick up a second language. We all know now that the world is more globalized and more connected than it ever has been in its history. People are packing their bags and moving all over the world and many companies recognize this. They recognize the importance of communication skills, being bilingual, and being able to work with others from other cultures. Now yes, you can learn most of those skills in a classroom here. But being able to put on your resume that you’re bilingual in Spanish because you studied abroad in Argentina for a semester will put you leaps ahead of other candidates. Plus, now you can impress people with your Spanish when ordering at restaurants or maybe even help a family who is touring your hometown by speaking their native language.
- You will grow as a human being. What I mean by this is, you will realize just how actually big the world is. There are so many different cultures to learn and different foods to try. You learn that just because someone does something different, doesn’t mean that it is wrong. You’ll question why you do and think things a certain way. You’ll learn that the world isn’t so scary after all and that the people that you see in your Instagram stories and on YouTube are just everyday normal people going to work and school like you and me. Studying away will put into perspective that it really is the little things that matter in this world.
If you have any more questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me and our staff via firstname.lastname@example.org or giving us a call at 417.836.6368