Studying abroad is expensive, but students can make it happen without relying on their parents.
There are other ways to pay for studying abroad other than having one’s parents pay for the fees. Former Skyline student, Laurel Lujan, who is currently participating in the Skyline Rennes School of Business program in France, said that there are scholarships, grants and GoFundMe. She also knows students can take out loans, but she thinks that loans should only be taken out for longer study abroad programs.
“At least two semesters, because it’s a long-term commitment where the student needs to have the means to survive on their own while studying,” Lujan said.
Lujan said students who need financial assistance should reach out to people they know, such as professors, faculty, and the study abroad program advisers. She also said that students should not be afraid to ask if they have financial needs.
Director of Special International Programs Zaid Ghori said that Skyline College’s Global Learning Programs and Services sees a lot of students whose parents do not support them financially and are receiving financial aid.
“For those students, we specifically work with them to find outside scholarships that will really benefit them. One example is the Gilman Scholarship program, which provides up to $5,000 for students who have very limited financial means,” Ghori said.
Scholarships are very competitive and hard to get. Diablo Valley student Justin De Costa, who took part in the study abroad program in Italy, and paid for most of his fees himself, said that he worked. He said that students should still apply for scholarships, but also try to work, budget, and save for the program.
Many students that have studied abroad say that going abroad gave them experiences that they would not have gotten in a classroom, and that they learned a lot while going abroad.
“We are so blind to culture sometimes, here in America,” De Costa said. “I feel like when you go abroad, you just experience it. You can watch movies, you can watch television, you can look at it on a screen, but you can never actually go and experience it. You can go to Little Italy in San Francisco, but you can never actually be in Italy.”
Ghori said that when students come back from studying abroad, it helps them realize that there are other perspectives besides their own. He also said that this helps them when they are working with others who have different perspectives and come from different backgrounds.
Hopefully, this will motivate students who feel that they can’t study abroad because their parents are not supporting them to get a job, start saving, apply for scholarships and financial aid, and talk to professors and advisers about their options.