Letter to Editor: How to make your study away dream a reality

By on April 8, 2013
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On the many times that I have written to Kaleidoscope encouraging fellow peers to study away, I have forgotten to mention the various ways that will help them achieve their goals. As such, I want to give tips on how to make the dream to study away a reality.

This photo of hand-made coaster was taken at Argentina's San Telmo fair. Qi Li Huang /Contributor

This photo of hand-made coaster was taken at Argentina’s San Telmo fair. Qi Li Huang /Contributor

First, start your planning well in advance. Keep your eyes open to get all the deals and program discounts, etc. Make sure to define your purpose and interests for the destination you are choosing. Look at Study Away Office’s website, search for UAB Study Away or third party program providers. Then, compare the costs, check for grants, check for promotions provided by the third parties. Once you’ve completed all of that, make an appointment with Josh Carter. Talk about courses, confirm course credits and compose a to-do list before departure. 

Be sure to also make an appointment with a financial aid officer. Discuss how to utilize your scholarships, grants, or loans. Also, look into scholarships available on campus and through a third party as well as national scholarships such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and Boren Awards for International Study.

In many ways, I found that budgeting throughout the semester helped me with my expenses while I was in Argentina. The early planning and sign up to my program helped me obtain a $500 gift card and $1500 in scholarship. Through careful research for scholarships, I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of a Study Away Scholarship, Honors Program funded Study Away Scholarship, and also a very unexpected Dean’s Leadership Scholarship. Most importantly, while I was still caught off guard by the amount of expenditure left, I received my final victory: The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

With the aid, I transformed and gained confidence not only since I was finally able to achieve my lifelong dream, but also because my hard work paid off. I’m now a firm believer. If there is a will, there is a way. 

Qili Huang
qlhuang@uab.edu

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