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09 March 2016

Studying Abroad with Selina Baner #HogsAbroad

Selina with Burg Hohenzollern in Hechingen, Germany.
Selina is a Biology major currently finishing her senior year. She did an independant internship at the Dreif├╝rstensteinschule in M├Âssingen (a school for children with multiple disabilities) before studying abroad last spring at Universitaet Regensburg, one of our exchange partner universities. We asked her a few questions about her study abroad and here's what she had to say:

Why did you decide to study abroad?
The biggest motivator for me for why I wanted to study abroad, was to immerse myself in a culture and discover new things about myself.

What did you really learn by going abroad? How was it impacted the rest of your college experience/your personal life/your job search?
Future employers and admissions officers at grad schools will see that I have studied and worked abroad. This shows that I am flexible and am not afraid to put myself out there and try new things. In my personal life, studying abroad has awaken my passion for traveling and learning about different cultures even more.

What was the biggest hurdle in getting abroad and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest hurdles for me was making sure I was covering all of my bases and was filling out all of the paperwork necessary. Starting early and writing down all of the due dates in a calendar, is the only way to keep everything straight. Be organized!

What is one piece of advice would you give to other students thinking about studying abroad?
If you choose to study abroad, I really encourage you to branch out and not hang out with other Americans. There may be other U of A students participating in the same program, or students from other universities in the United States. Your first instinct will be to stick with people from the same country as you, but only by not doing this, can you befriend natives and learn more about the country you are living in. Putting yourself out there is the best way to learn about others and make new friends!

What did you learn about yourself/your culture by going abroad?
While abroad I had to have confidence in myself as I was traveling new cities alone with nothing other than a map and directions. You don’t need to speak the same language in order to communicate with people, hands and feet will get you by. Surprisingly, I also learned a lot about the United States while abroad just because other topics were discussed. It is very important to be educated about world events, as well as those going on in your home country.

Where did you live while abroad?
I was very lucky the first part of my study abroad, because I was able to live with my uncle while completing my internship a KBF. While studying at the University of Regensburg, the Study Abroad Office coordinated with housing to find an apartment for me with other students. I had four roommates. We represented Germany, the United States, Taiwan, and Australia. It was a lot of fun learning about each others' cultures.

Was studying abroad expensive? How did you pay for your experience?

One of the first things that comes to mind when students and parents here the words Study Abroad, is: How can I afford it? For me, studying abroad was actually cheaper than a semester at the University of Arkansas. I receive a handful of scholarships for my studies, but it does not cover the cost of tuition. Since I wanted to see as much as I could while abroad and go on excursions, I applied to multiple study abroad scholarships. I received a few and those were added to the scholarships I was already receiving. Since I participated in the direct exchange program, I was paying for 15hrs of U of A tuition. Receiving those extra scholarships from the Fulbright College and the Honors College, helped me pay for airfare and almost all of my expenses. 
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To find out more about the Exchange program with University of Regensburg, visit http://studyabroad.uark.edu/exchange/regensburg
If you need help getting started with study abroad, take a look at the first steps: http://studyabroad.uark.edu/getting-started/first-steps.php.