UA Little Rock’s Study Abroad Program Strives to Make Students More Successful

College students are offered several great opportunities through their university, especially in their undergraduate years. One of those is the chance to study abroad.

Since the 1970’s, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has been sending students to study in different countries through the study abroad program.

According to the program’s website, “Studying abroad can be one of the most beneficial experiences for college students.” Students can travel the world, make new friends, and even further their knowledge of a foreign language.

Jacobie Webb, the study abroad offices graduate assistant who studied abroad in Spain in 2013, said she feels every student should try to study abroad. She said the experience helped her decide what subject to pursue for her Master’s degree.

“When I went over there, I was able to tutor people in English which led me on the educational route,” she said.

Webb said the biggest benefit to studying abroad is maturity.

Denzel Jenkins, a senior and Mass Communications major at UA Little Rock who studied abroad in Costa Rica in Fall 2016, had similar sentiments about the benefits of studying abroad.

Emily Cox, UA Little Rock’s study abroad director, said that there are three ways students can study abroad. Students can do the independent program with either an exchange partner or an affiliate partner.

“With our exchange partners, those are sister institutions. Students can pay UALR tuition and then are kind of more independently in charge of setting up housing arrangements, airfare, those types of things,” she said. “An affiliate partner is kind of a middle man that communicates with the international institution that helps them set up the entirety of their experience. It’s meant for a student who wants a little bit more of a structured experience.”

The second option is the faculty-led, short-term program. Cox said this 10 to 14-day option is less expensive than the independent program and very structured. Three faculty-led trips made over spring break took students to China, the Bahamas, and Austria.

Students can also choose to study abroad in the summer through the summer language program. Cox calls this option a mixed experience. Students are abroad for five to six weeks and are accompanied by a faculty member for the first week. For the rest of the experience, the students work independently. This summer, students participating in the summer language program can choose from Granada, Spain or Orleans, France.

Cox said about 60 percent of UA Little Rock students who study abroad choose the faculty-led or summer language programs. “They like the structure; they like the cost. Because of our non-traditional student base here, it’s easier for them to go for a shorter amount of time. They like having the faculty member. They like knowing that somebody’s there to help them troubleshoot.”

Students can use any form of financial aid to pay for their study abroad experiences. “That includes anything that you get from FAFSA, Pell grants, anything you get from ADHE, GO! grants, Arkansas academic challenge, private scholarships, merit scholarships, anything that goes straight towards these experiences,” Cox said.

The study abroad program even offers a small scholarship to students called the Trojan Travel Scholarship, which ranges from $250 to $1000. 

UA Little Rock sends students to every continent but Antarctica and has sister institutions in Spain, France, Austria, and China.

For a full list of study abroad programs, click here.

Madeline McGee from Suni California on Vimeo.

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