Written for The Argo by Eline Xia
If you are looking to study abroad, Stockton has got you covered! As a Stockton student who is currently studying abroad in Athens, Greece, here are my five easy steps to studying abroad with Stockton University:
Studying abroad is not an academically or financially small feat, so it is best to plan meticulously rather than regret anything after the fact. Plan how studying abroad will fit into your academic journey here in Stockton. How many credits will you need to take abroad? When is the best time to study abroad? What are the funding options to study abroad? Is there anything Stockton can do to help with funding? (The answer is yes!) Think about all these questions and more before putting in the hours and money on applications! I chose to study abroad during my second year when my important major-specific classes were not being offered. While abroad, I am taking general and elective courses at the American College of Greece. These courses will come into Stockton as transfer credits that do not impact my GPA. This allows me to stay on track to graduate while also being able to experience the life of studying abroad in Europe where I can travel around the continent for as little as $50 for a roundtrip flight ticket on the weekends!
- Find a program and apply to SGEO
There are many options to study abroad available to Stockton students—it’s all about which program would be best for you in terms of time length, cost, location, etc. One option to study abroad is through an exchange program, in which you would pay Stockton’s tuition to study at one of its 31 partner universities. This was the route that I took to attend the American College of Greece for the Spring 2023 semester. Another option available to students is the Faculty-led Programs which vary each semester by location, time, and length. This is a great opportunity for those who wish to travel for less than a semester under the guidance of a faculty member. There are also third-party providers such as CIEE and SAS which all vary in program length, and type—some are even for summer internships! Another way to “study abroad” without the abroad part is through the National Student Exchange (NSE) program which includes schools such as California State University, Monterey Bay, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and even schools in Canada like Universite de Montreal. Visit the Stockton University Global Engagement Office at F-028 or visit their website for more information! Once you find a program, the next step is to apply. In my experience, with studying abroad through a partner institution, the application process was extremely easy since I did not have to apply to the school abroad separately. This process looks different for every program, since some schools require a separate application while the faculty-led programs have different requirements and third-party websites may have entirely different systems. This process can take anywhere from three hours to one week, but the Office of Global Engagement is always available to help with questions regarding applications through Stockton.
After you have been accepted into your desired program, the acceptance letter may come anywhere from six to two months before the program start date, which leaves plenty of time to complete all the logistical tasks required to stay abroad for a long period of time. A passport is almost always required for studying abroad, no matter the length of stay. So, ensure that all possible passport issues are resolved at least two months before the leaving date. This can mean renewing or even getting an entirely new passport. If you are going to be abroad for an entire semester or longer, most countries will require a visa. This can apply even if it is a Schengen country or any other of the 143 countries/territories around the world that may not ordinarily require a visa for U.S. passport holders. The visa application process is lengthy and sometimes costly, so it is better to start this process early as well. I recommend using the official government website of the country you plan to visit in order to get accurate visa information, but most schools abroad will have international centers that can also help with the process. Other logistical tasks are payments that can include tuition, housing, plane tickets, buying suitcases, travel soaps, etc.
One of the last steps to studying abroad is to prepare to leave the country. This can mean calling the bank to ensure a credit/debit card can be used internationally or finding a phone plan that allows you to get around while abroad. These tasks may seem tedious, but they will save a lot of stress figuring it all out before leaving the country, rather than after you arrive. Once these are all done, the last step is to pack. One major travel hack is to use suction bags or packing cubes to save room in suitcases. A big tip I was told while packing is to pack basics (capsule wardrobes) and add one or two of your favorite outfits in there; however, you may want to pack lightly because it’s always fun to shop / thrift in your host country! Make sure to weigh and measure the suitcase prior to arriving at the airport to save stress and wasted products.
- You got it!
Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity for students to leave their comfort zone and grow as students as well as young professionals. Stockton University has many opportunities to make studying abroad as easy and affordable as possible, so if you have the chance, study abroad!
To learn more about Stockton’s study abroad program, please visit https://stockton.edu/global-engagement/education-abroad/index.html.
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