Study Abroad for First Generation College Students

Let’s face it, being a first generation college student can be hard. On the one hand, it’s rewarding; you have the opportunity to further yourself and your family through your education. On the other hand, that’s a lot of pressure! You don’t necessarily have anyone to help you with applying for FAFSA, scholarships, internships, or jobs. Having extra responsibilities on your plate doesn’t always make studying abroad one of your first priorities, and understandably so. However, we’re here to tell you that study abroad can definitely be a reality for first generation students! We’ve created a list of tips and scholarships specifically for you, so that tackling another obstacle on top of your already full plate seems that much more possible.

Financing Study Abroad

  • First things first. You CAN use financial aid to study abroad! A lot of students don’t realize that their financial aid can be applied to study abroad. The process is different depending on the term you intend on going abroad, but in most cases you will be able to utilize your aid. All you have to do to get the ball rolling once you pick a program is to request a “Study Abroad Budget” from your study abroad advisor.
  • Crowd-funding techniques have also been proven as effective means of raising the money for study abroad. Sites such as and serve as crowd-funding platforms where you develop your campaign and share it with friends, family, and even strangers! Never underestimate the generosity of your surrounding support system.
  • There are scholarships specifically for underrepresented students who want to study abroad! This includes minorities, veterans, LGBTQIA+, and first generation students. We’ve highlighted a few of them below:

TU Institutional Diversity Study Abroad Scholarship

Fund for Education Abroad

Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship 

Foundation for Global Scholars

Diversity Abroad Scholarships

STA Travel Scholarships

Benefits of Studying Abroad

So aside from being an incredibly fun and rewarding experience, here are some other perks of studying abroad:

  • Studying abroad is a great resume booster! According to a study of 135 Human Resource managers from 75 companies, skills obtained by studying abroad are included among the top 4 most important employee traits.
  • Cross-cultural understanding and experiences help you understand different points of view, making you a more well-rounded member of your community and society at large.
  • Studying abroad can serve as a major self-confidence builder. First generation students already tend to be more independent and self-sufficient than their counterparts, but having this time abroad to really explore and be on your own can create a sense of liberating independence.

 Our Office is Here to Help You

The Study Abroad Office is here to help you with anything you need. Our advisors and peer advisors all have a wide range of study abroad experiences, so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We hope to see you soon!