Resources Series 8: First Generation Students

5eaymlx4fbbgdpfdhx5pWhen you arrive in college as a first generation student, things can be very overwhelming. Sure you made it in, but now a you face a whole new set of challenges. With all of this to tackle, studying abroad may seem like the furthest thing from your mind.

If you have a dream to study abroad, don’t let the challenges of being first generation hold you back! Where there is a will, there is a way. Regardless of background or situation, everyone deserves to have the same support and the same opportunities to meet their goals.

If you are hesitant about studying abroad, here are some reasons why you should reconsider:

  • Studying abroad is the chance of a lifetime. Many who do not travel around the time they are in college will not take the time to travel in the future. Even if you desire to travel in the future, why delay it?
  • There is nothing like a new environment for gaining perspective. Being abroad will challenge you–in the best way possible–to think beyond yourself and “your world” back at home.
  • International experience is a great resume builder. Employers look for people with cultural competency, and broader perspective.

Let’s look at two of the biggest obstacles for first generation students who are thinking of studying abroad: finances and family.


  • In the majority of cases, any scholarships or financial aid that you receive can be put towards studying abroad.
  • The most cost-effective study abroad option that Towson offers is the TU Exchange, where a student can spend a semester or academic year in a different country while paying the same tuition and fees that s/he would at Towson.
  • Students for whom finance is an issue can also apply for Study Abroad Scholarships and request a Study Abroad Budget.
  • See a previous blog post for more funding tips!


  • Its important to have done thorough research before you approach your family about studying abroad. Your parents or supporters may view study abroad as unrealistic or scary. Some may even think it is just a vacation. In order to convince them otherwise, you must show them that you are serious and that this is a legitimate, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  • Before you speak to your family, be familiar with the application process, the classes you will be taking, the destination and financial options.


Most of all, use your resources! Ask LOTS of questions. We at the Study Abroad Office want to support you in anyway that we can.


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