Studying abroad is an experience that everybody should have; however, the financial burden is a hard obstacle to overcome for many. All students should recognize that there are several resources that can help us avoid or alleviate debt and reach our career goals. I have a goal to not be struck down by loans. I absolutely have to accomplish this because I will be attending medical school in the future. I can’t win every scholarship I apply to, so what are the factors I can control? Financial freedom is giving myself a chance to be debt-free and focus on getting a medical degree to become a developmental pediatrician. It means that I am free to make financial decisions without the burden of loans and ruined credit.

During the application process to your favorite study abroad programs, it is severely important to make a financial plan that focuses on how you will be able to pay for the program. First, look into what scholarships your college offers for study abroad trips. For example, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers the Dean’s Promise Scholarship to many students who have decided to participate in a study abroad program within the college. The Office of Global Engagement offers several scholarships as well. Second, don’t forget that Google is a free search engine. Browse for study abroad scholarships that are looking for applicants with specific characteristics. These include diversity/minority, LGBTQ, first-time travelers scholarships and so many more classifications. Finally, do not forget to reach out to family, friends, and businesses in your community to help donate to your study abroad costs.

Last year, I wasn’t able to participate in a CAES study abroad program because I was not able to pay for it. I refused to let the financial obstacle deter me from traveling abroad with UGA again this year. I applied for several scholarships and was awarded two within my college; which led me to pay basically nothing for my trip. Next year, I plan to send in as many applications as I can and win several scholarships to the point that I can study abroad for free.