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By: Richard Menard

It’s your student’s first semester of college, and chances are, you’ve already heard him talk about studying abroad.  You’re probably wondering, “isn’t this a little premature?  He just got to Gonzaga… how about settling in for a year or two before deciding anything about leaving the country?”

If students don’t start planning now to study abroad, they may miss their opportunity.  It’s very important for students to meet with their academic advisor early to discuss their interest in going abroad, and to talk about what is the best timing. Engineering and Pre-Med students only have the opportunity to study abroad during the second semester of their sophomore year. Nursing and Education students also have constraints with timing. Once students determine the best time to go abroad, they can plan strategically about which classes to take at GU, and which classes to reserve for study abroad.  We are in the process of creating “Advising Sheets,” which will be a great tool to use for this planning.

These sheets can help a student figure out not only what classes to reserve, but help them start figuring out where they might want to go. One of the best examples of the advising sheet is the Gonzaga-in-Florence College of Arts and Science Advising Sheet. The classes listed here will help a student know what is offered in Florence and what to reserve academically for when they are ready to apply for this particular program.  All of this helps a student stay on track to graduate on time.  If you’re new to our articles and are wondering why your student should study abroad, I would refer you back to our past articles in the Parent Newsletter.

It’s also not just about planning for the academics, but planning financially how to make study abroad happen. There is this perception that studying abroad is ridiculously expensive.  However, the truth of the matter is that study abroad can be as expensive or as cheap as a student makes it. Some costs to consider: exchange rates, program location, cost of Gonzaga, living like a local, and student discounts. Scholarships are another way to save money.

As you can see, there is a lot of planning necessary to prepare for a study abroad experience; the first semester isn’t too early to begin.  Encourage your student to come visit us early to start the conversation; we’re here to help every step of the way.

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