Study abroad scholarships cut students' financial burden
February 01, 2010

Studying abroad gives students an increased understanding of the world and its cultures, but some students feel they cannot afford it.

In a time when finances are tight, finding money for the programs can be a concern and a set back for students.

However, UNT offers numerous scholarships to help students who do not have the money.


"In the past years we have accepted enrollment of 32 students so that the students can get a better experience of studying abroad," Merchandising Study Abroad director Dee Knight. "I do hope for an increase in the future."

Knight said she noticed a difference during May 2009 when she and 22 students traveled to Hong Kong.

The study abroad global learning center offers students multiple destination options from Italy to London. The trips range from informative three-week trips to a full year of studying in a foreign country.

"We offer different travels for three different categories: faculty lead programs, exchange programs, and semester/yearly programs," said Mary Beth Butler, the former director of the global learning center .

Butler agreed that the economy gave some relative insight into the reason why fewer students studied abroad.



"This is really the time to take the advantage of studying abroad," she said. "Some students have come to me and said their parents lost their jobs, and the epidemic of swine flu has caused a drastic decline in our Mexico study abroad program. I think it’s a mixture of the both."

Knight said not having the money isn't the only reason a student may not be able to study abroad.

"Some students have work and family responsibilities that are an obligation," she said. "There are also tuition scholarships that help pay for studying abroad as well."

In May 2009, all 22 China-Hong Kong study abroad students received a tuition scholarship toward their study abroad trip.

There are a generous amount of scholarships available to help ease the financial woes.

"We offer a lot of scholarships through our program, which includes coverage for programs that last three weeks to a full year," Butler said. "This ranges from $300 to $1,200 per student, based on how long one is abroad."

Recently, the FAFSA organization offered the Senator Paul Simon Scholarship, one of many study abroad scholarships. The scholarship was recently passed by Congress to encourage foreign relations of studying.

"I have always wanted to study abroad and experience traveling outside of the U.S," said Jeanine Bowens, a fashion merchandising senior.

She also said that she might be able to act on her wish now that she knows about the availability of scholarships.

With scholarships within reach, there seems to be a fight that can be won against the economy crisis of money.

"One of the comments that was most insightful to me was one student that decided to study abroad because her friends were going," Knight said. "In the end she said to me, 'At first I couldn't imagine myself going that far away. Now I couldn't imagine my life without that experience.'"

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