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First Generation College Students Abroad


You may be among the first in your family to go to college. That's a huge accomplishment and we in the Office of International and Global Initiatives (IEGI) celebrate you. You may also have multiple underrepresented identities. From the Diversity and Identity page, you can see topic-specific information and links for a variety of identity groups.

Below you will find a collection of resources and advice to help guide you through the process. It is likely that you are accustomed to figuring things out for yourself. Critical thinking, resourcefulness, and adaptability are all helpful skills that will suit you well abroad. While you should research and know the information for yourself, as stated below, you do not have to figure this out all on your own. There are tons of resources, human and otherwise, wanting to help you get abroad. Please use them. If you don't know what they are, no one will be bothered if you ask. We actually would prefer that you do. 

Coming to college was a big step in itself, and the idea of studying abroad on top of that can be overwhelming. We are here to support you before and even after your education abroad. The Office of International Education and Global Initiatives at Binghamton University strives to create a safe and inclusive space for first generation students. Never hesitate to contact an advisor in the office for more information or to share your input or concerns. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at 607-777-2336 or email iegi@binghamton.edu.
 

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General Resources:


The mission of Diversity Abroad is "to create equitable access to the benefits of global education by . . . connecting diverse students to resources and opportunity." The Diversity Abroad website is a launching point for student stories and other resources. 

First Generation Students Traveling Abroad
 

IFSA-Butler's Unpacked features blogs with searchable categories by key word, including "First Generation." One such story is below.

How to Overcome First Generation Hurdles While Studying Abroad, Trenity Norton


Note for reading student experiences such as the ones referenced here - these students studied on non-SUNY provider programs. Providers are like education abroad companies and are typically known by acronyms. Binghamton University partners with providers such as CEA and SIT to offer some of their programs for SUNY credit. Contact IEGI at 607-777-2336 or email iegi@binghamton.edu to learn more.

Other resources that may be helpful for you include these below. 

First-Generation Resources, IES Abroad

Studying Abroad as a First Generation Student, Aileen (SAI student blogger)

Funding Education Abroad:

The IEGI Financial Aid and Scholarships page provides helpful links to relevant Financial Aid web pages and lists and explains three categories of scholarships: Binghamton based (for use on any SUNY program), Department, and National & External (meaning the funding comes from outside of Binghamton University). 

Did you know that the Binghamton University 
Myers Family Scholarship and the national Gilman scholarship for Pell Grant recipients are programs that aim to assist specific student groups including first generation students with funding for education abroad?

As the title suggests, the following is an article including questions to consider as you plan and budget for education abroad:


Students on a Budget AbroadDiversity Abroad
 

Campus Resources:

The Binghamton University Student Support Services (SSS) website provides helpful information about being a first generation student who aspires to study abroad. They also feature the profiles of first generation Binghamton University students who have studied abroad and provide advice for the next students wishing to pursue this experience. 

Preparing for education abroad is a team effort. Here are some offices that can support you along the way: 

Academic Advising 
(CCPA - Regina Alfieri/Human Development - Mary Beth Kendrick, Decker College of Nursing - Jennifer Orton, Harpur Academic AdvisingSOM Academic Advising - Katie Collette, Watson Advising)
1. If you receive NYS aid (TAP, Excelsior, etc.), you must take degree applicable credits even while abroad. You will likely need to talk to your academic advisor about this more than once. 
2. You will generally also need your transcript to verify that you took said classes before your next aid is disbursed. Ask your education abroad program advisor about when transcripts for your program of interest or certain program types are generally disbursed.
3. Helpful concluding questions may include "What else should I be considering?" 

Financial Aid
1. It may be beneficial to speak with Academic Advising (detailed above) prior to meeting with Financial Aid.
2. You will likely be asked for a "Cost Sheet" These are on the program pages for print or screen shot.
3. Financial Aid cannot give you exact figures for the upcoming year (which includes summer programs) until aid is released (generally in March). They should be able to provide an estimate based on your current aid.
4. For similar reasons, for the March 1st scholarship deadline and need based awards, you must have a FAFSA on file for the upcoming year to demonstrate need. Ask how receipt of a scholarship will affect your current aid.

Residential Life (if you live off campus, learn your landlord's policy for month-to-month leases, sublets, etc. These housing forms on the Off Campus College website can help you get started)

Fleishman Center for Career and Professional DevelopmentJessica Lane-Rwabukwisi (page linked here) is the liaison to IEGI
 
Speaking of support, before you get too far along in the process, have a conversation with your parents and/or family.
 

Tips:

  
Perhaps you are worried about talking with your family about education abroad. The idea of you studying in another country might be scary for them or seem unrealistic in their opinion. Our advice? Look thoroughly into the process and any programs of interest. Have a general idea of how education abroad works and what this may mean for your credits, housing, finances, and job prospects. The IEGI FAQs have a lot of this information in one place. Remember, you don't have to figure it out all on your own. IEGI Advisors are excited to speak with you about your interests and to answer your questions to the best of our ability and/or guide you to those with the expertise that you need.

When you talk to your family, share with them:

  1. The campus resources that will support you through the education abroad process (including IEGI, Academic Advising, and SSS or EOP if applicable to you).
     
  2. The specifics of using financial aid and scholarships for education abroad.
     
  3. Why education abroad will be beneficial to you - explain to your loved ones how education abroad has been proven to develop first generation students' skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and enhances maturity and flexibility. No matter what career you are interested in, these are all skills that employers are looking for. Successfully participating in education abroad shows potential employers that you have the ability to adjust to new environments and communicate with diverse groups of people. And when you return from your back from your education abroad experience, staff in the Office of International Education office and the Fleishman Center are happy to help you articulate this experience your resume, and identify how you can highlight the benefits in future job interviews. Not to mention if you are interested in a job that is international or global in nature, studying abroad will be critical for your future success.
 

How do I get more information?

Email IEGI at iegi@binghamton.edu or visit the websites below if applicable.

Student Support Services (SSS) Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

Please note: The content within the resources provided were last reviewed in July 2021 and as such could have changed. Views expressed in links provided or in sub-links within the document do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of International Education and Global Initiatives.