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First Generation Students Abroad

You are a trendsetter. Maybe you’re the first in your family to attend college, or maybe you’ll be the first to complete a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Whatever being a First Generation student means to you, studying abroad is possible, and is another way for you to step out and explore your world. 

As with most academic experiences, preparation is key to having a successful studying abroad experience. Make sure you start the process early to give yourself plenty of time to put together a plan that works for your degree and for your financial situation. We suggest starting the process 6-8 months before when you’d like to study abroad.  

Think about your goals with studying abroad. Are you hoping to get some professional or academic experience that aligns with your career goals after college? Or are you simply interested in studying in a particular location? Answer these questions will help guide you through the process. 

Meet with Advisors 

Start the process by meeting with your Academic Advisor to make sure that there is room in your degree plan for you to study abroad and remain on track for graduation. This will help you narrow down the best time to study abroad, as well as the best course options. Then, meet with a Study Abroad Advisor to explore study abroad program options and see what best lines up with your academic availability, as well as what scholarship opportunities there are to help make your program a reality. 

Make a Plan 

Once you’ve found a program, make sure to lay out all the deadlines for program and scholarship applications so that nothing sneaks up on you. Stay on top of it! Begin researching your country to learn as much as you can before you go, as this will help reduce culture shock and increase the likelihood of having a great experience. 

Once you’re in country, try to find people who have similar interests, itineraries, and budget expectations as yourself, so you don’t feel pressured to go beyond your budget. 

Use UTA resources 

The UTA Student Money Management Center is available to help you put together a budget for your study abroad experience, as well as how to navigate student loans, build a personal budget, and other financial matters. 

Take advantage of UTA’s TRIO program if you need academic assistance before, during, or after your study abroad experience. 

Questions to Consider 

Use these questions as you consider studying abroad and reach out to our office if you need help answering any of them. 

  • When can I fit a study abroad experience into my academic schedule? What type of experience might fit best with my goals? 
  • How will I balance being abroad with other opportunities I may have on campus, such as a job, scholarship requirements, and my academic career? 
  • How can I communicate the value of study abroad to my family? 
  • What worries might my family have about my international experience, and what information might help them feel more comfortable? 
  • How will I incorporate my experiences abroad back into my life at UTA upon my return? 
  • What opportunities and challenges have other first-generation students faced as they prepare to travel abroad? 
  • How will study abroad help me reach my academic and professional goals? 


  • IES First Generation info 
  • Diversity Abroad Network– education abroad tips and resources for first-generation students – including articles and a comprehensive guide with country specific information.
  • I’m First!  –  provides blog posts by first generation students about their education abroad experiences
  • GoAbroad Meaningful Travel Tips and Tales provides ebooks that address specific topics: 
    First-Time Study Abroad 

Quotes from Mavericks Who Went Abroad

“Being first generation, I am glad I got to experience a study abroad program. Many American families have legacy students going to family universities or joining sororities. My parents didn't have any experience to offer me advice on "making the most of my college experience." But now, I can encourage my future children to go experience the world and different cultures through a safe, study abroad program.” 

Jascilyn Mozley 
UTA Faculty-Led: MBA Sustainability in Spain and Portugal, 2019 

“Being a first-generation Latina we often feel like the odds are against us, having this amazing opportunity opened my eyes to what I can achieve. These are memories I will never forget and miss all the time.” 

UTA Alumni 
UTA Faculty-Led: Business in Barcelona, Spain, 2017 

“Just apply. I almost missed out on study abroad because I was lazy. My fraternity brother pushed me to apply. One semester later, I’m [on] the other side of the world with great experiences. Just apply, doesn’t hurt to.” 

Kevin Le 
UTA Faculty-Led: Business in Barcelona, Spain, 2018 

“...being a first-generation college student, it made my parents proud to say that I was doing big things and seeing the world by myself because they didn’t have the economic opportunity to do so themselves when they were younger.” 

Jonathan Cook 
Exchange - Norwegian Business School, Summer 2018 

Content developed with assistance from University of Michigan, UNT, Diversity Abroad, MIUSA, and Forum.