Studying Abroad

Studying Abroad

Studying abroad can seem quite exciting for a young person in an undergraduate university program. They get to travel, leave home and learn the language and culture of a foreign country. There are many different types of study abroad programs that a student can apply to. This article will look at the 4 main models that the study abroad programs are generally based on. It will also look at the cost of studying abroad and the scholarships and grants that are available to students in order to help them out.

Program Models

Studying Abroad1There are 4 basic models when it comes to the structures of studying abroad programs. They are: island, integrated, hybrid and field-based. These 4 models are based on American study abroad programs and may change from country to country.

The island model is centered specifically around US students studying abroad. Either the US university (where the students are from) or a third party have created the curriculum and the students are put to work inside a study center alongside one another. Hence, why it is called, “the island model”. Students have little to no contact with anyone from the foreign country and it as if they were on an island.

The integrated model sees the students integrating with the host country’s students. The US students are placed into classes at the host country’s university alongside the host country’s students. In these situations sponsors may have a role to play in helping sign up the US student for classes and helping tutor them, so that they can learn the language. In the integrated model students learn about the host country’s culture and get a chance to learn the language, unlike the island model kids.

Now, the hybrid model is a mix of the island model and the integrated model. Students have study groups with fellow US students however, they are also enrolled in classes at the host country’s university, studying with the host country’s students. How much time is spent in the study centers with fellow American students and how much time in classes differs from hybrid model to hybrid model.

Finally, there is the field-based model. This is more of a liberal type of model. There is not such a developed curriculum as in the other models so there is a little less of that strict, regimental feel that the other models may have. There is a thematic purpose which the students have to adhere to, but then it is just a matter of doing some field study research and completing an independent study project.

Studying Abroad2Funding

One of the big reasons why a lot of students do not study abroad is the cost. In many cases the host country’s university or the third party will cover much of the cost. However, it can vary from program to program. Some costs include: airfare, visas, places to stay, transportation, and medical insurance. To help cover some of the costs there have been created several grants and scholarships that the student can apply for, just as they would going to university at home.
There are 2 grants that the student abroad can apply for. They are the Federal Supplement Education Opportunities Grant and the Pell Grant. Students who show the greatest financial need are awarded the Federal Supplement Education Opportunities Grant. In order to qualify for this grant the student has to be able to qualify for the Pell Grant. To be considered for this grant, the student must be a full time undergraduate whose Expected Family Contribution falls below whatever limit is set by the US government that year.

There are 2 scholarships offered for students studying abroad. There is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships and the David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Studying Abroad. Students are eligible to receive these scholarships if it is determined that in doing so the student will be aiding in the national security of the United States. These scholarships are given out by the Narional Security Education Program. Students may apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship if they are eligible for the Pell Grant.


Two of the major benefits of studying abroad are getting the chance to experience another culture and to learn it’s language. When learning about another culture students typically end up learning more about their own. Multicultural interactions become easier for students who are studying abroad. This can help US students a lot as they come from a place that generally has the melting pot practice in place. Students have also been shown to benefit in gaining more self confidence and maturing faster.

Key Points

At this point we are going to reiterate some of the key points of the article. Depending on how much the student would like to be submersed in the host country’s culture, there are different types of program models that can tailor to their needs. If they are not that interested in learning a lot about the other culture they can find a program that uses the island model which places them mostly with other American kids. Or, if they’d like a lot of cultural experiences they could try a program with an integrated model where they are enrolled in the host country’s local university and learn side by side with the local kids.
Another key point has to do with cost. This can be one issue that can stop someone from going to study abroad. There are grants and scholarships in place in order to assist any students who would like to study abroad but does not have the funds to do so.

Finally, there are a lot of benefits for those who study abroad (not just learning about the culture and studying the language). It can help to raise their confidence, their maturity and assist in future multicultural interactions.