10 Myths About Study Abroad

Think study abroad is not for you? Think again! Here is the true story behind 10 common study abroad myths.


Studying abroad is too expensive. I can't afford it.

Study abroad can be affordable.

The cost of studying abroad can vary depending on the program, its location and length. For example, studying in Ghana, India or the Czech Republic is less expensive because the cost of living is lower.

In fact, study abroad can cost little more than a semester on campus. Many scholarships are available, especially for non-traditional destinations or first generation and underrepresented students or those with demonstrated financial need. Sweet Briar will work with you to identify a program that fits your goals and interests and find the resources you need to bridge the gap.

I don't speak another language. I can't study abroad.

You can study in an English.

There are lots of English-speaking countries where you can study, including the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand. You might also consider The Netherlands, Sweden or Thailand where programs and universities offer classes taught in English even though the official language of the country is not English. We encourage you to take an introductory course in the local language during your stay!

I can't fit study abroad into my sequence. Studying abroad will delay my graduation.

With careful planning, you can fit study abroad in.

Ask your advisor what courses you can take abroad that will transfer towards your major or minor. For example, if you’re an engineering major, you might study in Spain with USAC or at an ISEP partner university in Australia. Consider studying abroad in your sophomore, junior or senior years or think about a semester, summer or short-term program rather than a full year.

It's just a semester of partying or backpacking trip through Europe. Employers don't value study abroad.

In today’s global marketplace, studying abroad enhance your resume, especially if you do an internship abroad as part of your program. Employers value the skills and competencies gained from a study abroad experience, including intercultural communication, flexibility and adaptability, creativity, problem solving, independence and resilience. Of course, foreign language ability is a plus in just about any job. Employers also value employees who have an understanding of the world and are able to work with diverse groups of people.

It's better if I travel or intern abroad during the summer or work abroad after I graduate.

It can actually be much easier and more affordable to finance an international experience during a semester using your financial aid or scholarships.

I won't know anyone and I'll be alone.

No matter where you study, there will be staff on site who guide and support you. Plus, there will be many opportunities to meet other study abroad or local students, which can help you make new friends from around the world and form life-long friendships. One tip: Choose a USAC specialty program where you’ll be with a smaller group of study abroad students from American colleges.

I play sports so I am unable to study abroad.

You don’t have to give up your sport! You can study abroad during the summer or semester when your team is not in season. You might even be able to find a short-term program that won’t affect your sport. There are even study abroad programs tailored to the needs of student-athletes, including Student Athletes Abroad programs in Costa Rica and New Zealand. In most places you’ll be able to continue training and join local teams.

I have special need or a disability so I can't study abroad.

Whether it is a dietary, physical, mental or a learning challenge, your needs can be addressed with careful planning and disclosure. Many study abroad programs have a choice of living options, including dorms, apartments/flats or living with a host family. We can help you research programs and locations that offer the accessibility you need.

In today's world, studying abroad is too dangerous.

While safety is always a concern, Sweet Briar considers safety in approving where students can study abroad. Students should always think about safety when deciding where to go and programs provide pre-departure and on-site orientations and guidance so you can be safe during your time abroad. When deciding where to study, you should consider your own comfort zone and look into relatively safe locations such as Denmark or New Zealand.

I'll miss out on things that will happen back home while I'm away.

You might be afraid of the things you’ll miss out on while you’re traveling abroad. But remember: There are all kinds of ways to keep touch with home for the short time you’ll be away. And you’ll be gaining memories you’ll have for a lifetime.