Top 10 Myths About Studying Abroad

Just like with any major decision that you can make, there are probably a lot of opinions or preconceived notions about whether or not going abroad during your academic career is the best choice for you. Here are the common myths and the facts to debunk them, that might help you make the best decision for you. 


 

Myth #1: I can't afford to go abroad - it's too expensive

Reality: PSU offers more than 200 international programs that range in costs. Some programs are very comparable to studying at PSU. Some programs are more expensive and some are less. There are a variety of ways to pay for an international experience, including scholarships, financial aid, and loans. By planning ahead, you can review your financial aid package needs with an advisor, review the scholarship options, as well as save for your time abroad. If budgeting is a concern, the cost of a program can be factored into choosing the right program for you.


Myth #2: My financial aid won't transfer. (See above)

Reality: The programs listed on our site have been approved by PSU, which allows most financial aid to apply to study abroad. There are also a number of scholarships set up specifically for studying abroad.


Myth #3: I can't study or intern abroad if I don't speak a second language 

Reality: While some programs do have a language requirement, many programs are taught exclusively in English. Some of these programs are located in countries where English is an official language (ex: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom) and some are hosted in countries where English is a secondary language (i.e.: Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, and Turkey). 


Myth #4: I can't complete major requirements while abroad.

Reality: Many students are able to earn credit toward their major while studying abroad. Regulations vary by major, and some departments are less flexible in their specific requirements or sequencing but other departments offer some flexibility with their course work. With a large variety of programs, there may be one or several programs that provide courses that fulfill requirements in a specific major or curriculum. If you have questions, please speak with your Academic Advisor in your department and your Education Abroad Advisor. 


Myth #5: If I go abroad, I won't be able to graduate on time.

Reality: Many students study abroad and graduate in four years. Students earn credit toward graduation requirements for most courses taken abroad. By frequently consulting and meeting with academic advisors, students can even study abroad for an entire academic year without affecting their graduation date. In fact, some students study abroad two or three times and still graduate on time. 


Myth #6: It would be better to study abroad after graduation.

Reality: It is difficult to find time after graduation to study or travel in another country. College is a unique time that allows for a summer, term, or year studying abroad. After graduating, most people find that the demands of work, family, and other responsibilities prevent them from spending significant time abroad. Also, because your financial aid transfers, going abroad for academic credit actually makes it more affordable than if you wait! 


Myth #7: It's a mad mad world! It's safer to stay in the U.S.

Reality: Most risks faced by students around the world are similar to those in Portland metro area, which mostly result from living in an urban environment. PSU closely monitors our programs and current worldwide news and events. All programs and cities are thoroughly researched before students are permitted to apply. 


Myth #8: Studying abroad won't help me in my career.

Reality: Employers look to hire well-rounded employees who are able to demonstrate the ability to adapt well to new situations and thrive in multi-cultural environments. Businesses are increasingly growing into international companies and utilizing skills gained from a study abroad experience gives potential employees an edge that others lack. We have often hear from hiring managers, that when all else is equal, they favor students who have studied or interned abroad, over those who have not, as the unique skills and experiences gained abroad are highly valued.


Myth #9: Most PSU students do not study abroad.

Reality: More and more PSU students are studying abroad each year, and we have received a mandate to help more students go abroad as part of PSUs internationalization goals. Most departments are very supportive of studying abroad, and some offer PSU faculty-led programs specific to their academic disciplines. Nationally, the number of U.S. students studying abroad has increased by over 150 percent in the past ten years.


Myth #10: My grades haven't been perfect.  You need a perfect GPA to get accepted.

Reality: Most of the students who meet the minimum qualifications (often a minimum GPA of 2.5) and complete the application process are accepted to study abroad. PSU is looking to increase the number of students studying abroad, and we will work closely with you to find the program that best meets your needs and qualifications.