- By Emma Gomes, Staff Writer -
More often than not, students are influenced by the common misconception that studying abroad is unobtainable; the time, money, and resources needed to study abroad feel distant to many. In my experience, I thought I would never get the chance to study in another country, but despite my doubts, I gave the application process a shot and kept my optimism low. Over the span of a few months, that hope began to grow as the Office of International Programs guided me through the entire process and eventually handed me my acceptance letter. With guidance, perseverance, and support, the doubts I had once felt disappeared and I got to live out one of my dreams.
The Office of International Programs, located on the first floor of Joyner Hall, is a department dedicated to assisting students who are well on their way to study abroad as well as students who feel that their circumstances may interfere with their chances. Not only is their door open to all students, but they have made it their mission to keep students on track with deadlines regarding the application and tuition process. Finding ways to fund your trip may be frustrating, but the Office of International Programs has organized a Study Abroad Funding Workshop that is intended to help students save money more effectively. These workshops include discussions surrounding loans, fundraising methods, and insight into ways that former students have raised the money they needed to make their trip possible. The director of International Programs, Brooke Shurer, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or Liz Yaros, Associate Director of International Programs, can be reached at email@example.com.
Although the Office of International Programs is committed to supporting students along their study abroad journey, it’s really up to us to take initiative. In the beginning, I was doubtful that this opportunity would come to life, but by working hard and taking advantage of the resources on campus, I was able to visit Belize over the summer of 2017. A major piece of advice I would give is to look into scholarship opportunities. Meredith College gives several study abroad scholarships away each semester as well as in the summer. If it weren’t for the scholarships I received, I would have never gotten to experience the beauty of Central America in the way that I did. Don’t let money be the deciding factor of whether you will get to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Most importantly, be brave enough to step out of the safe bubble you’ve created for yourself — feeling uncomfortable is a necessary and inevitable part of growth. Studying abroad will teach you that.