International Relations and Global Studies

Study Abroad Student Profiles

IRG majors discuss how to find funding sources for study abroad.

Name: Abigail Haile
Program: Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey (Exchange Program)
Date: Fall 2014
Scholarships: Turkish Coalition of America: Scholarship for American Minority Students

I started looking at study abroad programs in the fall of my sophomore year with the goal of finding a program where I could feel like I was living abroad, rather than just doing a program abroad. I ended up Haile Photochoosing UT’s exchange program with Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.  Even though the cost of the program was manageable, I still needed to come up with additional funding for my semester abroad. I met with my study abroad Program Coordinator who referred me to several study abroad scholarships that I was eligible to apply for.  One was sponsored by the Turkish Coalition of America and was for U.S. minority students interested in studying abroad in Turkey. I applied and was awarded a $2000 scholarship.  I also attended a study abroad financial aid information session where I received tips on how to make study abroad more cost effective. One tip I got was to create a “Go Fund Me” page, which I ended up sending out to my relatives.  In the end I raised much more than I thought I would, so don't underestimate this method! The biggest advice I can give to other students is to start looking early. You don't have to be rich to study abroad and there are so many scholarships and resources out there that can help you. You just need to be willing to do the work. I do not regret anything and all of the time spent applying, getting recommendation letters, and getting my essays edited at the UT Writing Center were all a part of the experience. If you're wondering whether or not you should take the chance and study abroad, stop thinking and just do it! I promise, you will not regret it. In fact, this may be the best decision I have ever made (besides coming to The University of Texas, of course).

Name: U. Daniel Bautista
Program: Chinese University of Hong Kong (Exchange)
Date: Fall 2014
Scholarships: First Abroad Planning Scholarship, Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship 

My process for finding a study abroad program and study abroad funding involved being active and regularly checking the Study Abroad Office’s website for info about upcoming information sessions. I already knew Ibautista photo wanted to study abroad in Asia and with the help of my Program Coordinator in the Study Abroad Office I was able to find a program in Hong Kong that fit my interests and degree requirements. I knew that finding funding would be something of an endeavor but that did not stop me from applying to my exchange program. While meeting with my Program Coordinator she advised me to apply for the First Abroad Study Abroad Scholarship through the UT International Office.  This scholarship was a good fit because I was a first generation college student with less than 60 credit hours.  I applied for it and ended up receiving the scholarship, which greatly helped with my program costs, including airfare, passport, and student visa fees. I also received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship.  This scholarship is offered by the U.S. Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs and is for students with financial need who are planning to study abroad in non-traditional areas of the world. To sum up, my advise to other students would be to have an idea of what areas interests you; visit world.utexas.edu regularly to view available programs, attend info sessions, meet Peer Advisors and Program Coordinators in the UT Study Abroad Office who can guide you through the process (they are all amazing), and attend funding workshops.

Name: Lauren Mills
Program: UT in Paris (Exchange)
Date: Fall 2015
Scholarships: First Abroad Planning Scholarship, UT Semester Plus Scholarship, International Education Fee Scholarship (IEFS), Liberal Arts Council Study Abroad Scholarship, Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship 

I studied abroad Fall 2015 on the UT in Paris program. I applied for a few national scholarships, but most that I received were actually through the Mills photoUT Study Abroad Office and the College of Liberal Arts. I received the First Abroad Scholarship my freshman year and was able to apply that to my study abroad program my junior year.  I also received the UT Semester Plus Scholarship, the International Education Fee Scholarship (IEFS), the Liberal Arts Merit Scholarship, the COLA Liberal Arts Council Study Abroad Scholarship, the COLA Scholarship for Exchange Programs, and the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship offered by the US State Department. I received 8 of the 13 scholarships I applied for so my recommendation is to apply to as many as you can find, even though it may take a lot of effort.  Also, I recommend really focusing in your essays on what you hope to get out of your experience. Do research on your study abroad program and location and try to give concrete examples of how the experience will connect to your future educational and career aspirations. For example, I looked up specific classes I would like to take in Sciences Po catalog and connected how each related to my future career path. Be as specific as possible and try to avoid broad, generic, or cliché statements that fill up space such as "I want to learn about the world from experience, not from a textbook," that study abroad essay readers read 100 times a day. Make sure your aspirations are unique to you! 

Name: Toni Marie Cirlos
Program: Geography, Language and Culture in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Faculty Led)
Date: Summer 2014
Scholarships: COLA: Geography in Buenos Aires Scholarship, Summer Faculty-led Scholarship: International Office, Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship 

When I began looking into study abroad programs, I was overwhelmed by the many program options that UT offered but after talking to my Academic Advisor, Study Abroad Program Coordinator and Study Abroad ToniPeer Advisors, I quickly realized that there were endless resources to help me choose the program that was best for me. I did research into multiple programs by looking into the region, where I would live while I was there, and what classes I would be taking. During the process I’ll admit that I was intimidated by the idea of funding my trip, but with the help of the Study Abroad Office I given access to various financial resources. Although many of the scholarships are very competitive, do not let the threat of the competition deter you from applying. I received scholarships that I had never thought I would, and was honored to be awarded scholarships such as the Gilman. In the end I chose a program in Buenos Aires that fit perfectly with my interests and area of study, and I was l fortunate enough to get almost my entire trip paid for through scholarships and financial aid. The best advice I could give is to apply for every financial opportunity that comes your way. Make sure to utilize all of the great resources offered, including the IRG advisors, the Study Abroad Office, the Undergraduate Writing Center, and the info sessions offered by SAO and the individual scholarships. The study abroad requirement for IRG majors is such an awesome opportunity and results in an experience that you will never forget. It may seem like a great deal of work, but every ounce of it is worth it!