Tips to encourage your advisees to study abroad

Students having the support of a respected mentor in their field can help encourage hesitant students to consider unique educational opportunities such as student abroad.  Some students do not see study abroad as a viable option for them.  For some first generation college students, students of color or from non-majority backgrounds, students from a high-need background, science students, music students, or student athletes, personal encouragement from faculty to consider studying abroad is influential.  Your encouragement might be the first time a student sees the benefits of study abroad as accessible to them.

  • Introduce the idea of studying abroad early with advisees. 
  • Don’t let students assume it will not be possible for them to study abroad without looking into the possibilities – encourage and assist them in exploring resources and possibilities.
  • Share your own experiences of how studying or researching abroad impacted you personally, as well as your career in the field. 

Simple questions to introduce the idea of studying abroad:

  • “Have you thought about studying abroad?”
  • “Do you know that studying abroad will give you a competitive advantage for your pursuits after Lawrence?”
  • “Let’s look at your schedule to consider when studying abroad might work best for you.”
  • “Are you aware that your financial aid can apply to study abroad and that there are additional scholarship resources for study abroad as well?”
  • “Are you aware of the range of program options available?”

Common student misperceptions about study abroad and how faculty might respond

  • “My academic schedule is too busy.”    Students work with the Off-Campus Programs office and their advisors in the application process to make sure their term/semester/year abroad will suit each student’s academic goals.  Many of our programs can count courses for major/minor requirements and some programs are able to fill Lawrence distribution requirements.  Participating in a semester program allows student to earn more credit than a term on campus.  Students who study abroad are more likely to graduate on time than those who do not.
  • “I’m nervous about being away from campus.”   This experience can tremendously benefit students after their time at Lawrence.  The adjustment skills and flexibility gained from these experiences will continue to help you throughout transitions in your life.  These skills, along with cross-cultural competency, are sought after by employers in our increasingly global workforce.
  • “I don’t speak the language well enough to live in the country.”     Language-specific programs are designed for visiting students who are not native to that language.  You will often take a placement test to be sure you are put in the correct level.  Professors teaching in these programs are accustomed to working with non-native speakers and the classes as designed as such.  We also offer programs taught in English even in some countries where English is not the majority language.   Each program has on-site staff to help students with the cultural transition, as well as language barriers that may arise in academics or daily life abroad. 
  • “It doesn’t seem like study abroad is for me.”    There are different types of study abroad programs depending on your study abroad goals.  There are programs for specific majors, as well as broader programs to fulfill general education requirements.  The Off-Campus Programs Office has inclusion materials and resources for interested students on the website.  Any student, regardless of academic or cultural background, has a place in a study abroad program.

Application process

Encourage students to visit the Off-Campus Programs website to begin looking into programs that fit their academic and personal goals.  Students can meet with the Off-Campus Programs office at times that are most convenient for them by submitting a meeting request form and providing their availability for the coming week.

After students have selected a program of choice, students may log-in to the Lawrence application system via the Off-Campus Programs homepage by clicking the blue log-in box on the right side of the screen.  Students will be asked to select a program and term in order to open the application.

The Lawrence application requires activity from both the student and the advisor: 

  • One requirement will ask students to select their advisor(s) and fill out an Academic Plan (e.g. their intended courses to take abroad).  This will then be sent to the student's advisor(s) via email for approval. 
  • Students will also select on academic reference (e.g. a professor that has had the student in class and can speak to their work ethic). 
  • Students must submit two essays, a "Goals Essay" and an "Academics Essay."  If students have a GPA below the program's GPA requirement, students will be asked to complete a "GPA Essay" to discuss the status of their GPA. 
  • Students will also submit a transcript directly to the Off-Campus Programs Office for review.
  • Students are encouraged to meet with Financial Aid during the application process in order to better understand how financial aid travels with students.