Study Abroad Myths Dispelled! Part II: “I can’t study abroad, I’m a graduating senior!”

Top Articles on Studying Abroad from Students and Experts

story by Trixie Cordova

This summer, Diversity Abroad is writing a series of articles to examine and debunk some of the most popular Study Abroad Myths. In our first article, we addressed the very popular belief that students don’t go abroad because it’s just too expensive! If you haven’t read that yet, go ahead and check that out.

In this week’s article, we are exploring the common myth that graduating seniors can’t go abroad.

If you are a graduating senior, first of all -- congratulations! It’s such an amazing accomplishment that deserves a celebration. All of your hard work has paid off and soon you’ll be a college graduate! That is certainly something to be proud of.

Now, if you’re reading this because you are still interested in going abroad but think you can’t, this article is for you.

First, it’s important to determine where you are in your final year to make sure you receive appropriate and accurate information. Before we provide additional insight to dispel the idea that you can’t study abroad, it IS generally true that if you are about to graduate, studying abroad may not be ideal. This is especially true if you don't need the academic credits to graduate. But, that also depends on when you’re reading this! Read below to see which applies to you and as always, be sure to confirm with your school’s study abroad office about what options are available to you.

Rising Senior or Early Fall Semester

Being a rising senior means that you are in the summer before beginning your senior year of college. If you’re a rising senior, there actually MAY still be time for you to study abroad for academic credits if you need them. Every institution is different, but you do have the option to do a short winter or spring break program. If you’re not too nostalgic about taking your final semester at school, some schools permit you to study abroad in the spring, while others don’t allow you to complete your final semester overseas. Again, check with your school’s study abroad office to see what applies to you. Just be thorough with your research and make sure this is a real possibility for you, since you have to ensure that you’ve completed all the necessary credits to graduate before going abroad.

Spring Semester

If you are in the spring semester of your senior year -- you’re almost done! While that’s something to celebrate, it sadly means that the option to study abroad as an undergrad has likely passed. BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t still go abroad! Here are some alternative ways for you to still gain global experience in your final semester and beyond.

  1. Volunteer Abroad. What’s great about volunteering abroad is that you can do something wonderful for a local community, and you don’t have the added stress or work responsibility associated with a study or internship abroad. There are often volunteer opportunities held during the week of spring break, so check with your school’s study abroad office to see if you can turn your spring break into a global volunteer opportunity. If you want a head start, check out our Volunteer Abroad programs!

  2. Teach Abroad. A great alternative to going abroad as a student, is to consider teaching abroad! Teaching abroad is a great opportunity to go abroad -- and be PAID for it! The majority of teach abroad programs means that you’ll be teaching English to locals. One that Diversity Abroad recommends is the International TEFL Academy. Not only can you be paid to live abroad, you’ll also become a certified TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Instructor. Read more about this and other teaching abroad programs here.

  3. Graduate School Abroad. If you are considering continuing your professional education, earning a graduate degree abroad is another wonderful way to gain international experience. And don’t think that you are limited to studying just internationally focused programs. There are a wide variety of programs that allow you to earn a degree in practically any field, from Art History and Biology, to Engineering and Environmental Science. We have many we list on Diversity here, so definitely explore our site to see if any programs interest you.

We hope that even if you’re about to graduate from college, you understand that your opportunities don’t end there. There are still a lot of different ways to gain international experience beyond the traditional “study abroad” types that you might already know about. Embrace the fact that global learning can be a lifetime commitment, and open your mind to the many ways to go abroad you may have never considered before!

Coming up next, we explore the myth, “I’m an Engineering (STEM) Major, so…”  

Trixie Cordova


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