Taking time to study abroad would be a dream come true for a lot of students, but for others travelling to a foreign country sounds too expensive, and the distance from familiarity seems too scary.

UTSA’s Education Abroad Services offer many opportunities for students to study abroad, and the last thing they would want holding students back from taking the leap is money or homesickness.

Not many students seem to be taking advantage of these invaluable opportunities.

During the 2013-2014 school year, the most popular trips were to Belize, Italy, Urbino, Spain and Barcelona. Belize, Italy and Spain were summer trips while the Urbino and Barcelona programs involved an entire semester. Each of these programs had fewer than 20 students enrolled. There are around 26,000 students enrolled at this university and fewer than 100 people participated in the top-rated study abroad programs last year.

Different programs are offered for a variety of majors, and it is even possible to earn internship credit through studying abroad. So why aren’t more students eager to travel? If the fear of debt and feeling lost are the most daunting elements about studying abroad, then knowledge about the price tag and duration of these trips should come as a relief.

The cost of studying for a semester in a foreign country can be similar to the fees paid to attend school in San Antonio. Some programs are more costly, but surely there is at least one trip that is appealing and affordable with financial aid. Choosing to be so far from home can definitely seem like a big leap, but the time away can be as little as two weeks.

If being accepted to a certain program seems like a roadblock, all it takes is a minimal 2.5 GPA and sophomore status. It actually seems financially and educationally wise to use the study abroad program as an excuse to travel in college. Getting educated both scholastically and culturally rarely go hand-in-hand, so now is the time to take full advantage of these potentially life-changing opportunities.

Students can take advantage of three study abroad programs. Faculty-led programs are taught by faculty members interested in teaching abroad. They can be scheduled for a few weeks in the summer or last an entire semester. Exchange programs connect with universities from around the world. Students can enroll for a semester or an entire academic year for little to no cost difference. Third-party programs are created by organizations not affiliated with UTSA. They can take place only during the summer, but there are also curricula available for the equivalent of two semesters.

In addition to the flexibility and variety that studying abroad offers, it also looks great on a résumé. Future employers will be interested to hear about travel experiences, and it’s a great topic to discuss during an interview.

Make studying abroad a reality – not just a dream.

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