10 myths about study abroad

Study abroad is an experience like no other! Everyone should take advantage of this life-changing adventure while in college. Even though study abroad is common among students on nearly every campus in the U.S. nowadays, there are still plenty of myths going around. With the help of Director of Experiential Learning and International Education Jenny Weatherford, we debunked some of the most common misconceptions so you’ll feel comfortable planning your own overseas study experience.

Myth: It’s too expensive.
Fact: There is a study abroad program for all budgets.

Study abroad programs vary widely in price. Some are extremely reasonable, and depending on your situation, you may be able to participate for the same money you would pay to attend Lees-McRae, or even less. There are also scholarships that you can apply for!


Myth: If you study abroad, you won’t graduate on time.
Fact: With planning, you will graduate with your class on time.

You can fit study abroad into your undergraduate schedule so that it doesn’t delay your graduation, especially if you plan well in advance. When you work with the Director of Experiential Learning and International Education, you will plan out your study abroad experience so that you know ahead of time how the credits are likely to transfer back to Lees-McRae and fulfill requirements for graduation.


Myth: You have to speak a foreign language.
Fact: You don’t have to know another language to study abroad, but if you already do speak one, study abroad is a great time to improve your skills.  

Knowing a foreign language is not a requirement for many, or even most, study abroad programs. If you do speak a language, though, studying abroad can provide optimal opportunities for developing your skills. Or if you would like to start learning a language, study abroad offers the best chance to do so.


Myth: You have to be a junior.
Fact: Students in all classes can take advantage of study abroad.

In the old days, Junior Year Abroad was the most common way of studying overseas. While that program still exists, most study abroad programs do not have such strict class-standing requirements. Even freshmen can study abroad if they have completed at least one semester on campus.


Myth: Study abroad is only for people with certain majors.
Fact: No matter your major, study abroad can work for you.

There are suitable study abroad programs for all majors. Even if you have a major that locks you into a semester-by-semester schedule, there are still ways to make study abroad happen.


Myth: Study abroad is just about partying.
Fact: Sure, study abroad is fun, but it’s also a full-immersion learning experience.

Study abroad is fun and exciting but also serious business. It allows you to live in and learn from another culture while being fully immersed in it. It requires you to go to class and complete assignments, just as you would at your own campus. Study abroad may be your life’s greatest adventure, but it will also challenge you and require you to draw on and develop all aspects of your personality.


Myth: Future employers will not care whether you studied abroad or not.
Fact: International experience on your resume will help you stand out in job searches.

With ever-increasing globalization, employers are always eager to find applicants with international experience. Job candidates who have studied abroad often enter those jobs with increased independence, flexibility, and resourcefulness.


Myth: Study abroad is only for certain types of students.
Fact: Study abroad is for all students, no matter their background.

All students of whatever background, ethnicity, gender, age, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation can and should participate.


Myth: Independent travel overseas is just as valuable as studying abroad.
Fact: While it’s not a bad idea to explore on your own, you are sure to get a much more in-depth and authentic experience through study abroad.

While traveling independently can be an important part of a study abroad experience, traveling on your own cannot substitute for the study abroad experience itself. Studying abroad allows you immersion in a country and culture in a way that travel alone does not.


Myth: My school has no study abroad programs where I want to go.
Fact: Lees-McRae College offers students opportunities in all corners of the world.

There are study abroad opportunities all over the world, and students at Lees-McRae get individualized advising to help them find the best programs for their majors and interests. We guarantee that we can help you find something that will meet your needs and desires, usually in your destination of choice. Come to a study abroad information session, or meet with the Director of Experiential Learning and International Education, Jenny Weatherford, to begin!


Learn more about study abroad and other off-campus travel opportunities here.

By Nina MastandreaSeptember 20, 2018