"As a first-generation college student, a semester abroad always seemed like a privileged opportunity that only those with the funds and means can indulge in. However, while being abroad, I realized how life enhancing this experience of working with and learning from people of different cultures truly is, and I am glad I did not let my background hold me back. Thanks to generous alumni donors, Global Initiatives made this life-time experience financially feasible."
"As a first generation engineering student, I was incredibly worried about financing my trip. However, through working with the University of Michigan's IPE and financial aid offices, I was able to gain a lot of financial help with making this trip possible. I am grateful for this as my study abroad experience was incredibly life changing for me because it taught me adaptability and truly allowed to experience different cultures through traveling."
“Studying abroad was unlike anything I've ever experienced. It had its challenges, from passport difficulties to confusion over not speaking the local language to slight homesickness at times, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. As a first generation college student, and the first in my family to travel abroad, it was challenging to set everything up for the trip, especially the passport process. I would not have been able to do it without the help of others!”
"I originally felt quite nervous going abroad that I would be one of the only students in the financial situation that I am in since I went abroad fully on financial aid and did not have my own spending money. However, I found students in similar situations to me and we bonded over our shared experiences and feelings. My experience abroad was unlike anything else, and I felt so blessed to have it."
Use the information on this page to explore the considerations, opportunities, and challenges of traveling abroad as a first-generation college student.
You are encouraged to discuss these topics in-person with an education abroad advisor in your school or college. The First Generation Student Gateway and The Office of Financial Aid can also provide guidance and resources as you prepare for your experience.
Your decision to travel abroad as a first-generation college student may be unfamiliar terrain for you and your family or friends. Remember that there are lots of resources at U-M that can help you plan and execute a safe and successful journey abroad.
U-M offers a variety of international experiences, such as short-term (1-3 week) programs, independent research, internships, fieldwork, semester/summer exchange, and many more that allow you to earn U-M credit, all while staying on track for graduation. Financial Aid and Scholarships are also available to assist you during your time abroad. Meet with the Office of Financial Aid to learn how you can use your financial aid package to cover costs.
Fitting an international experience during your time at U-M really depends on when you’re wanting to go and what you’re wanting to achieve while you’re there. You can participate in programs abroad as early as your first year and with proper guidance from your academic advisor and an education abroad advisor, you can determine which programs can not only satisfy major/minor requirements but also provide the best experience that will be most beneficial to your future goals.