What is study abroad?
When you think of study abroad you may imagine students wandering through a European city, climbing mountains in South America, or eating street food in Asia. But study abroad is really not like taking a vacation. While students are able to engage in tourist activities, these activities represent only a small portion of a student’s experience.
Instead, study abroad is an integrated classroom experience that can include volunteering, internships, and directed travel. Students at Mason have engaged in a variety of activities while studying abroad, such as studying wildlife and conservation efforts in Tanzania, interning with international companies in Berlin or Singapore, and accelerating their language learning through immersion programs in Ecuador or Jordan.
What are the next steps?
Decide which program is right for them. They need to think about goals for studying abroad, languages they wish to speak, or major coursework they need to complete while abroad.
They can meet with a Peer Advisor in the study abroad office: Peer Advisors have studied abroad and can give personal insight into a particular program and their own experience abroad, discuss the overview of the application process, or show your student how to navigate the website.
Your student may need to talk to an academic advisor or financial aid counselor: Your student can make an appointment with their Academic Advisor to find out how a study abroad experience will fit into their class schedule. If they plan on seeking financial aid to help pay for their experience, they should schedule a meeting with their Financial Aid Counselor. Financial aid and scholarships can be applied toward the expense of study abroad, and additional scholarships and travel grants are available.
Your student will need to create a user profile in MasonAbroad – George Mason’s study abroad enrollment system. Once they create a profile and begin their application, additional instructions and required items will be made available to them. To create a profile, visit studyabroad.gmu.edu and click on the golden Login/Register button.
Mason offers semester-long experiences specifically tailored for freshman students. Even first-year students at Mason can attend a specialized transition course in the fall semester before they are headed to many different institutions of higher learning around the globe. There, they spend one semester with local students, studying a tailored curriculum with pre-approved courses.
Where can I find out more information about my student’s study abroad program?
Each program offered has its own brochure page on studyabroad.gmu.edu. The program brochure contains a description of the location and/or university, and information regarding eligibility requirements, cost, accommodations, and more. Parents, guardians and family members can find more information for any program by searching our website.
What financial aid or scholarships are available for my student?
Financial aid (including loans, grants, and scholarships) can be applied to most GEO programs. Students who receive financial aid and are planning to study abroad need to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine their eligibility. GEO administers about a dozen scholarships, like, for instance, the Jacquemin Family Foundation Scholarship, the Global Perspectives Scholarship, or the Diversifying Study Abroad travel grant. More details on each individual scholarship, eligibility and award amounts can be found at masonabroad.gmu.edu. All eligible students are encouraged to apply for these opportunities. The deadlines are typically in late September or early October, then again early to late March. Additional outside scholarships and personal fundraising resources are also available.
Will my student be safe?
If you and your student are worried about safety, we want to assure you that studying abroad is a great way to be independent in the world without being alone. Protocols are in place to vet programs with experts before they go. Your student will be prepared with information on how to stay as safe as possible while abroad. Emergency medical insurance is purchased to cover emergency medical care and evacuation in the case of medical concerns, natural disasters or other crises. Many programs are led by Mason faculty, so a trusted advisor is there to guide them.
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