First Generation Students

As a first generation student who makes the decision to study abroad, you are often met with unique opportunities and challenges that your peers might not face. While embarking on your college career, you might just be starting to get a handle on navigating college, being away from family and balancing academics and extracurriculars. Adding to that – an unfamiliar foreign environment while studying abroad can be intimidating and overwhelming. By starting to think about what your current college experience is like, you can better prepare yourself for a successful and rewarding experience abroad once you arrive in your host country.

Before departing, you may want to consider these questions:

  • What type of program best suits my experience and comfort level?
  • What resources will be available to me to help me navigate my abroad experience?
  • What resources are  available on campus that may not be, or may not look the same in my host country?
  • What aspects of college life have I struggled with on the main campus? How will those aspects translate into my abroad experience?

Use these resources to get started:

Diversity Abroad: Resources for first generation students traveling abroad

The First Generation Students Study Abroad Guide: This guide from Go Abroad provides First Generation students with the tools needed to succeed abroad.

First-Generation students at CSB/SJU: First Generation programs and opportunities on campus

Intercultural Leadership, Education and Development Fellowship Program (Intercultural LEAD): Engages and supports historically underrepresented, high-achieving first-generation college students who have demonstrated leadership ability and a commitment to intercultural awareness. Each student in the program receives an annual $10,000 scholarship that goes towards their tuition, but also have the availability to apply for additional funds to help with study abroad, conferences, or any exam costs.

First-Generation Organization: Strives to support and advocate for first-generation CSB/SJU students by providing proactive support, advice, guidance, and resources.

Student Stories:

”Japan is a wonderful country and I can't express how much going there has changed my way of how I now view the world.

– Kou Yang '20

Read more about his experience abroad as a first generation student: Kou's Study Abroad Experience

”I have never tried traveling outside of the US before and wanted to see what was out there for me. I never expected to meet so many new people and make so many new friends while I was in Japan. I was able to make friends with students from Turkey, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Japan, and China.”

– Mai Chee Lee '20

Read more about her experience abroad as a first generation student: Mai Chee's Study Abroad Experience

Recommended Scholarships:

  • Please review the Center for Global Education Financing Study Abroad for a full list of scholarship offerings. 
  • The Fund for Education Abroad awards are intended to support students in high-quality, rigorous education abroad programs. Students applying for semester, summer, or full year programs may apply. Groups typically underrepresented in study abroad, such as minority students, first-generation college students, and STEM majors, are encouraged to apply.
  • The Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador Scholarship offers five $500 scholarships each semester to study abroad students. Economically disadvantaged students, first-generation, students with disabilities, and ethnic and racially diverse students are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • The Diversity Network Summer Scholarship  awards two $1,000 scholarships for summer study offered by a Diversity Abroad partner organization. Applicants must have a minimum 2.75 GPA. Economically disadvantaged students, first-generation, students with disabilities, and ethnic and racially diverse students are strongly encouraged to apply.

To learn more from your peers, we encourage you to reach out to one of our Education Abroad Ambassadors. These students are from a variety of different study abroad programs, and are one of the best resources available as you discover which program is best for you.