Students who pursue post-secondary studies later in life may face unique challenges
as study abroad participants. Concerns such as finances, staying on track for graduation,
fulfilling responsibilities at home, dependent support, and developing relationships
in the host country may be more prevalent amongst this student population. Despite
these obstacles, non-traditional students can have a fulfilling study abroad experience that can positively influence their academic
and career development. In fact, adult students can have certain advantages over traditional
students when they study abroad. Nontraditional students have more life experience
and can gain deeper insight into the cultural and politics of the host country. Our
Advisors in the Education Abroad Office at UofSC are happy to talk through concerns
with our students and come up with a study abroad plan that best meets their needs.
Questions to consider with an Advisor/by yourself:
What are some challenges that I have as a non-traditional student at my home university,
and which of these do I think can impact my study abroad experience?
What type of study abroad program is the best fit for me and my situation?
What responsibilities do I have at home that may influence the duration and location
of my study abroad program?
If you have a spouse and/or child: Will my spouse and/or child(ren) go with me abroad?
How will this affect my time abroad and my living arrangements?
How will I manage not being able to work while I am abroad? Will I be able to take
a leave of absence from work to accommodate time abroad?
How do I feel about spending a lot of time with younger students?
What kind of living arrangements would be ideal for me/give me the most independence?
What opportunities are there for me to develop friendships with people my age in my
potential host country?
What skills do I want to gain or improve while I’m abroad? How will studying abroad
enhance my academic, personal, or career goals?
How do people in my host country view adult students?
Tips for having a positive study abroad experience:
Look into short term programs if you cannot afford to spend an extended period of
time away from your family and can’t take too much time off work
Sometimes you might feel that you don’t fit in but remember not to isolate yourself
from the rest of the group. Get to know the others and let them get to know you
Think through the exact obligations you may have that prevent you from studying abroad
and consider how you may still be able to study abroad
Talk with other adult students who have studied abroad
Study Abroad for Adults: A GoAbroad article highlighting the benefits of studying abroad as an adulty and
how to find a program.