How Do I Get Started
How do I get started?
Studying abroad is complicated but doable--and well worth the effort! As you consider the following, please keep in mind program deadlines.
As a means of deciding what program is the best fit for you, you need to consider:
- WHAT: What courses do you want to take overseas that will satisfy your MVCC graduation requirements? Do you want to study in classes in English or in the foreign language that you are studying now? Are you looking for classes or for an internship? What kind of housing are you expecting during the program--dorm, apartment, home stay? How much support will you need in terms of visiting local sights, etc.?
- WHEN: When would you like to leave? Please note: if you start planning in Fall 2012, you may be ready to depart in January 2013 or even later. (Arranging study abroad does not always take this much time, but you should know going into it that it can take this much time.) How does your anticipated departure date fit with your MVCC plan of study, job and family responsibilities, and transfer plans? How does study abroad fit with your career plans?
- HOW: Consider the costs of the program. Costs depend on the location and duration of the specific program. Financial aid may pay for some study abroad. If you are eligible for financial aid, you may be able to use whatever financial aid you receive to cover the costs of an overseas program. In some cases, some students may be able to receive additional financial aid and/or loans for other expenses. You will need to consult the Financial Aid office as you begin to plan. In addition, if you are receiving federal financial aid, check out the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, a competitive program that offers scholarships for students studying in one country for at least a month" www.iie.org/gilman .And if you want to go on a program through CCIS, consider the CCIS scholarship program. For more information about funding and scholarships, visit www.studyabroadfunding.org.
Once you have done a little research, contact the MVCC Director of International Education, Dr. Sandra Engel, in ACC 224 on the Utica campus or through email@example.com to discuss your possibilities and your plans. She will help you apply. Equally importantly, talk to your family and significant others; support for your study abroad is important, too.
If you don't already have a passport, you will need to apply for one. Passport applications can be downloaded at http://travel.state.gov/passport . You will need a valid passport to apply for any visa you need to study overseas. After you complete the passport application, you will need proof of citizenship (birth certificate, a consular record of birth abroad, a previous passport or certificate of citizenship) and proof of identification, such as a driver's license or current student or work ID.) A Social Security card is not considered identification, but you will need that number. You will also need two 2"x2" photos (head shots) taken in the last six months. You will also have to pay the application fee.
Once you get your passport, make a copy that has all your identification on it and keep it in a separate, safe place. If your passport is lost or stolen, it will be easier for you to get a replacement if you have this copy.