Monday, June 13, 2016

Overall Study Abroad Process


I am an Accountant major at CUNY Baruch College, NYC. Applying for studying abroad in Korea was easier than I expected, but the process itself was a tedious and lengthy one.

First, I had to visit my home campus' study abroad office (for Baruch students, it is located in the building next to the library on the 8th floor). The hours located on their site are a bit outdated since administration fails to constantly update it. However, once you walk into the office, there is a sign that displays the actual hours (it is open during winter and summer breaks as well). My first meeting went by easier than I expected--it was simply you asking any questions about concerns that you have. At the end, they give you access to the Baruch study abroad portal, and walked me through how to get in and where to fill out the form, find your desired designations, etc.

^what the portal login page looks like (Credits: Baruch Study Abroad Portal)

After getting access, most of the forms were self explanatory. When you first login, you are required to fill out a student profile, consisting of basic demographics (and your passport number), information about your student status (honors, graduating year, etc), your contact information along with 2 other emergency contacts, languages, and travel experience. Do keep in mind that you will be needing a faculty recommendation, so figure out which professor you would like the ask ahead of time. 

Next, is applying for your desired study abroad program through Baruch. This step varies based on the program you are applying for, whether it is a CUNY sponsored program or direct enrollment program. The summer program I applied for was a direct enrollment program, so there was an extended process outside of Baruch. The steps through the Baruch study abroad portal site are the same. Find the program you want to apply for:

^sample of available programs (note the "Type" column all the way on the right)

Then, fill out the program information, select the courses you want to take, and answer questions about the language of the visiting country, 4 objectives/goals of your study abroad experience, how you will use your experience academically and towards your career, describing situations where you experienced ambiguity/independence, and describing a cross-cultural experience you had. For selecting classes, many of the classes for direct enrollment programs are not available on the portal, but that does not mean you are limited to only the pre-approved courses. I, myself, went through the course request process because I couldn't find the specific courses I planned on taking. For course 
approvals, you simply have to go on your study abroad program's site and look for the syllabi for your desired courses, and then upload it to the portal, along with information about the course (course code, title, professor, etc). Also, add more courses than you plan on taking, in case you are unable to get your top 2 choices. Once you are done completing every section, you may submit the form and await a response. For exchange students planning to study abroad at a traditional country (ie. Europe), you can apply for multiple programs if you are worried about not getting into your first choice.

For direct enrollment, complete the same first steps through Baruch study abroad portal. Now this is where it differs. You have to enroll directly to the program yourself. The Baruch portal was for your campus records and for their administrative process.

^Yonsei's site to apply (application window is listed on the program site) (Credits: Yonsei University)

My particular enrollment application only asked for personal info, home institution info, desired courses, options to apply for field trips/scholarships, and a survey. There is a separate application fee that you have to pay the school (Yonsei's application fee was a wire payment of 100,000 Korean won--wiring info was found on their site). I also had to send over an official transcript. (*IMPORTANT TIP: Check with your study abroad advisor about the fees for an official transcript--in my case, I did not have to pay to order a separate transcript because the school would have waived my order. I made the mistake of ordering separately without consulting with them first.)

The next step was scholarships: APPLY TO AS MANY AS YOU CAN!! DO THEM ASAP (I recommend starting as soon as you make the decision to study abroad!) I personally applied for only 2 scholarships, the Gilman Scholarship and the Free-man Asia Scholarship. These scholarships are highly competitive, so it is recommended to complete your application ahead of time and have it reviewed by your study abroad advisors who can give you suggestions for edits. Both of the scholarships I applied for require a follow-on service proposal where you have to come up with a planned project after you return from your study abroad experience. These essays require creativeness, thus you should start planning early. 

^sample of what the Gilman Scholarship site looks like (Credits: Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship)

After you get confirmation of your direct enrollment, you will have to pay for tuition, housing, and also buy insurance. For me, tuition was slightly cheaper because I completed Yonsei's online application by the early bird deadline. This fee was also wired to the university. I had to wait for my study abroad advisor to receive instructions on purchasing health insurance. The housing application was released later on, and it was similar to the enrollment process--first you create an account on the site, and then you apply for the dormitory building and room type that you want (singles/doubles). Once you receive confirmation, you can wire the housing fee. (Note: Yonsei provides 2 distinct virtual bank accounts to wire the fees, one is only for the application and tuition fee and the other is specifically for housing only.)
^sample of Yonsei Housing once you complete the application (Credits: Yonsei University)

Once everything is set, all that's left is the book the flight, possibly look into hotels/airbnb/guesthouses if you wish to stay longer, and start planning out what you want to explore! (Tip: book your flight and fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday when the prices are at the lowest. It is recommended to book your flight 2-3 months in advance.) Also sign up for milage programs with your airline carrier to collect miles for future benefits!

1 comment:

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