"My biggest concern was not fitting in. I am 55 years old and most of the undergraduate population of the University of Michigan is somewhere near their twenties. My choice to study abroad turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It gave me the opportunity to study the fascination that Rome, Italy brings to so many people along with the culture of a world outside of my own."
As you consider and prepare for an international experience, use the following questions as a guide. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list and you may relate to multiple identities. You are encouraged to discuss these topics in-person with an education abroad advisor in your school or college. The Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) can also provide guidance and resources as you prepare for your experience.
Use this page to explore the considerations, opportunities, and challenges of traveling abroad as a nontraditional student.
There are many routes you take with education abroad, and you should speak with an education abroad advisor as well as your academic advisor to determine how education abroad can fit into your personal, academic, and career goals. To ensure adequate time for planning, it is generally recommended that you initiate the conversation one year prior to the experience start date.
Nontraditional students often have different responsibilities, such as those tied to familial, professional, and other obligations at home that do not affect many other students in the same way. Thus it is important to take these factors into consideration when studying abroad. See below for a list of resources for you.
Whether you can bring your family depends on the program type, program location, duration, and itinerary. It is important that you speak with your education abroad advisor to determine the feasibility of bringing family. If you participate in a program that allows you to bring children, you will need to make arrangements for a caregiver to provide care for your child(ren) during class, site visits, excursions, etc. You’ll also want to make sure your family has the appropriate travel documentation, including health insurance, passport, and visa.
Education abroad programs vary across a spectrum and can be as short as one week, one month, or even as long as a semester or a whole year. In addition, there are many ways students can fund their education abroad experience, even with families. These include financial aid, scholarships, and other funding programs. Like many endeavors which require time and resources, careful planning and thorough research are necessary components for a successful experience.