Study Abroad: How To Get More Information on the Program: It’s not too late to apply

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Those who missed the November deadline for the Study Abroad program in the 2013-2014 academic year still have a chance to apply. Information sessions will be held on Thursday, March 14 at 4:00 p.m., Friday, March 15 at 10:30 a.m. and Monday, March 18 at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. All sessions will be held in Oland Hall room 202.

The final deadline to apply for fall 2013 and winter 2014 is March 25; these information sessions are students’ last chance to sign up for the program. The requirements are simple: you must have at least 30 credit hours to apply and you need to have 60 before you leave. As long as your GPA sits at a two-point-five, you’re good to go!

The application process is simple, but before you begin, you may want to research the university that you’ll be looking to attend. You should make sure that the school you’ve chosen fits your needs; certain areas may be at the top of your list, but applying to an attractive area without the programs you need isn’t a good idea.

After your research is finished, you’re given an information sheet to fill out which you would submit to the Study Abroad Advisor, along with your printed transcript, a resume and a short essay outlining your reasons for wanting to study in another country.

This information is sent to a committee who reviews all study abroad applications. If you fit the criteria listed, chances are you’ll be accepted. The real matter is not whether or not you’ll be able to study abroad, but where you should be studying.

The committee makes sure that students are chosen to go to schools that will benefit their learning the most. That’s why researching your institution of choice is so important; the more you know about how it caters to your academic needs, the more information you can give your Study Abroad Advisor so that they can help get you there.

Your Student Abroad Advisor is the ultimate resource for preparing for the big trip. They put on pre-departure sessions to help you gain confidence in a new environment and offer as many one-on-one sessions as you want to help guide you in the right direction.

According to advisor, Ase Berg, everyone is different. Some make sure they have help planning their trip every step of the way, while others are much more independent; “the bottom line is that everybody is well prepared [when they leave],” Berg says, “That’s why we have students apply almost a year in advance. It’s a lot less stressful.”

The Study Abroad Office does more than just alleviate preparation stress; as most people know, the major factor in any large venture is cost and if the cost is high, many people avoid it, especially if they have jobs to worry about at home. With UNBSJ, students don’t have to worry about having to pay for the program in full.

Though the Office can’t pay for a student’s entire trip, they do offer an award to each person in the program, “we’re usually able to give about $2,000 to each student, of course, places with higher living costs—like Australia—would get a little bit more,” says Berg. Scholarships and student loans also carry over to help, as you’ll still be paying tuition at UNBSJ when you go.

Emma Crowley, who applied for the 2013-2014 program and will be attending Université de Poitiers in France, can’t wait to go, “I know it sounds cliché, but I want to see the world,” she says, “I’m expecting to make connections with people, lasting friendships… It’s like later on in life you still have these friends from another country that you’ve spent such an immense amount of time with in a university setting. I’m really excited.”

Berg outlined a great deal of the opportunities students have had while studying abroad; it’s not all school. Many students have had the chance to travel to other places, “most students, when they come back ask when they can go again,” she laughs.

The Study Abroad program is truly the chance of a lifetime. Anyone who thought they missed the boat in November should take advantage of the information sessions. For more information, email Berg at akberg@unb.ca or drop into the Study Abroad Office at Oland Hall G14.