Rose Malone is a Study Abroad Advisor in the Study Abroad Office at UMBC (newly located in Administration 301!). As an undergraduate student, Rose studied abroad in London, England and Skibbereen, Ireland. She sat down with us to discuss not only the steps involved with studying abroad, but also the impact the experience can have on a student’s life.
Break it down as easy as you can, what are the steps students need to take if they want to study abroad?
Simply put, if students plan to study abroad they should (in the following order):
• Attend a Study Abroad 101 session
• Determine which courses/requirements they still need to fulfill (this can be done through meeting with their academic advisor or a degree audit)
• Pick out 1-5 study abroad programs from our website that offer the coursework they need
• Schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad advisor
• Meet with The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to discuss which scholarships, grants or loans can be applied
What should students consider when trying to select a study abroad program?
Students should consider:
• Coursework needs
• If they want to become more proficient in a language (if so, study abroad where that language is spoken)
• Do they want to live in a rural area, big city, college town, city campus, warm environment, colder environment?
• Which type of housing they want (homestay, residence hall, apartment?)
• What type of credit they can receive (resident or transfer)
• Level of immersion (i.e.- how much separation do you want from your home culture?)
• Internship or service learning, etc.
There are so many things to consider, which can seem daunting but there is something for everyone!
Is there an aspect of the study abroad planning process that many students, in retrospect, wish they had spent more time on/focused on?
This is a great question, but hard to answer across the board. I think one aspect that students should spend more time planning is the alignment of their language requirement and their study abroad experience. The best way to learn a language is through immersion, so if you study Spanish at UMBC because it would be useful in a future job, but study abroad in Germany and take one language course, you're probably not going to be proficient in either language. So if you want to put "proficient in Spanish" on your resume, you should probably study abroad somewhere Spanish-speaking! But students can study abroad anywhere they want!
Apart from some of the more well-known or "cliché" reasons to study abroad, why do you think students should make this part of their college experience?
I am not sure most students realize this but only 1 in 10 students nationally study abroad. This means that by studying abroad, you are setting yourself apart from all other graduates. When you walk into an interview for a job or apply for a graduate program, that study abroad experience is an immediate talking point. There are many examples from study abroad that you could use to "describe a time when you worked on a team" or "had to think on your feet.”
Are there any current UMBC study abroad programs you'd like to make a shameless plug for right now?
Yes! Our faculty-led programs for Summer 2019! They are open to all majors and many fulfill major, minor or GEP requirements! Most have a deadline of 2/15 except for our program in Cuba, which has a deadline of 1/31.
Make the most of your summer and apply today: https://goabroad.umbc.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.FeaturedPrograms
If you yourself could study abroad right now, where would you go and why?
There are so many places I haven't been yet that this is a hard question! I think I would want to go somewhere in Asia! I think one of the most undervalued aspects of study abroad is the structure and support that comes along with it. When you go on a program, you have so much more support than if you were traveling as a tourist. I would love to have program support in Asia, somewhere that I don't speak any of the languages, so that I could feel supported and venture out on my own.
Any good stories from your own study abroad experience?
Too many to include here! I think one of the most rewarding moments of my first study abroad experience in London was when a tourist asked me for directions and I was able to give them. That is when I knew I was a "Londoner!" I didn't need to look up tube stop names or landmarks because I knew them!