Study Abroad Scholarships 101: Everything You Need To Know About Qualifying And Applying

Studying abroad can be an expensive process. Financial aid and grants can help cover the costs of tuition. But even a great financial aid package doesn’t take care of all the hidden costs. With travel, lodging, dining out, and the higher costs of everyday life, it can really add up. That’s where study abroad scholarships come in.

However, experiences like study abroad shouldn’t just be for the privileged. And that’s why there are so many study abroad scholarships.

Here at the WayUp Guide, we’ve compiled an introduction to study abroad scholarships that will help you on the path to securing funding for your foreign adventure.

How To Get Study Abroad Scholarships

Like most things in college, Google search and your academic advisors (or other school officials) are your best bet. There are a ton of scholarships available for study abroad, you just have to be willing to fill out an application.

It can be very useful, though, to be detail-oriented throughout your search process. To make sure you don’t waste any of your own valuable application time, read the requirements for each scholarship thoroughly to confirm you qualify.

The more specific the scholarship is, the fewer qualified applicants it is likely to have. You should consider applying to niche scholarships and writing a thoughtful essay or personal statement. This way, you can increase your chances of actually getting the funding.

Another thing to keep in mind is that grades are often a huge deciding factor. The scholarship committee members will want to know that they’re not just paying for your vacation (even if they are). Try to be as thoughtful and honest as possible in your applications, too. If you had a bad semester grade-wise, then find a way to explain that in your essay.

How To Apply For Study Abroad Scholarships

Most applications involve submitting your academic transcripts, a personal statement or essay, and perhaps even a resume to a committee. The committee (or whoever runs the scholarship) will make a decision based on these credentials.

If the study abroad scholarships you’re applying for are available through your school, then you can often—but not always—apply through your school’s study abroad office. However, many of the best study abroad scholarships are open to the public and accept applications online.

As with all scholarships, though, many of them remain antiquated and accept paper applications. So, be prepared to buy some stamps.

Study Abroad Scholarships For Minorities, Under-Represented Groups, Non-Traditional Destinations, Those With Financial Need, And More

This list is just a tiny fraction of what’s available in terms of study abroad scholarships.

Many of these apply to CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) programs. CIEE is a great resource for those looking to find both programs and funding for study abroad. It’s especially helpful for those with specific academic or work interests.

Pro Tip: Keep Applying, Ask Around, And Don’t Give Up

The rule that goes for all scholarships goes for study abroad scholarships, too: Don’t stop applying. There are so many study abroad scholarships you can apply to. If you’re running out of scholarships to apply for online, then ask your study abroad or academic advisor for more. They will be able to provide you access to scholarships available either online or through the school.

For any other study abroad FAQs, tips, tricks, or more, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide.

Should I Study Abroad? Everything You Need To Know Before Making Your Decision

Study abroad programs are an amazing way to experience a new part of the world. They’re a rare opportunity to go in-depth into a foreign culture. Plus, they’re a launchpad for traveling around a new continent (or the world). But there are also risks—both professional and personal—to this kind of travel. So, if you’re wondering, ‘Should I study abroad?’ then we’ve got some answers for you.

Here at the WayUp Guide, we’ve gathered all your questions and the best answers the experts have to offer. After reading this and a little research, you should be able to make a decision with confidence.

Should I Study Abroad?

The first thing to consider about study abroad is whether or not it genuinely interests you. At many schools, there’s a ton of pressure to study abroad, but it’s not right for everyone. So, the first question you should ask yourself is, ‘Do I really want to study abroad?’ And if the answer isn’t a strong yes, then you shouldn’t feel the need to pursue it.

Once you’ve sorted out whether you’re interested in study abroad, there are two other major factors to consider: graduation and finances.

Study abroad programs are far less flexible than a normal semester when it comes to which classes are offered. And if you don’t plan your classes out ahead of time, it can make graduating in four years (or however long you planned) very difficult.

Even though scholarships and financial aid are available for study abroad, there are a ton of hidden costs to the study abroad experience. Stuff like travel, dining out, and basic living necessities come up a lot, and usually cost more (especially in a tourist hotspot or big city).

Does My School Have A Study Abroad Program?

If your school has an established study abroad program, it can make the process much easier. If they do, then they usually have a streamlined process for making sure you can take the right classes and pay for it with financial aid, scholarships, grants, etc.

So, finding out whether your school has a program should always be your first step. Here’s how.

The easiest way to do it—like so many things now—is to Google it. Just type the name of your school plus “study abroad,” and it should bring you to the landing page for your school’s study abroad program (like this one). From there, the world is your oyster. That page should have all the info you could ever want on study abroad. Plus, it will usually give you contact info for a study abroad counselor or program coordinator. You can ask them all the nitty gritty questions about financial aid, campus culture, and beyond.

If something isn’t immediately showing up, then it gets trickier. Your school might not have a whole department of people working on study abroad, but they still might have a program. In this situation, there should still be something turning up on your online search. But if there isn’t, then you should contact your academic advisor. Advisors are on the front line for study abroad everywhere, because they have to make sure it works with your degree.

Can I Still Study Abroad If My School Doesn’t Have A Program?

The short answer is, yes!

Many universities have programs that are open to applications from different schools. Doing the program through another university will usually allow you to get equal (or higher) quality credits for your classes. Plus, you can meet a whole new set of people.

However, this is something you will have to clear with your academic advisor way ahead of time. Other schools have different methods of awarding credits, so coordination can be tricky. So, be sure to get a head start on meeting with your advisor and applying to programs.

Can I Study Abroad And Still Graduate On Time?

Again, the short answer is, yes. Most people who study abroad are able to successfully graduate on time. It can even be a GPA and resume booster, if you play your cards right.

However, there is also a long answer (a very long answer), too. You must speak to your academic advisor and clear everything you take ahead of time. There’s usually a much more limited selection of classes. So, you have to pick carefully and plan around it.

All in all, it’s doable, but you need to plan ahead.

How Much Does Study Abroad Really Cost?

The cost of a study abroad program is so much more than just the price tag on the actual semester. You have to consider the costs of flights, travel, dining out, furnishing your dorm, and so many other things.

Many people end up spending thousands of dollars in addition to whatever tuition they paid. There are, of course, ways to do travel on a budget. (There are even guides for study abroad on a budget). So, it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Depending on your desired location, especially if it’s a big city or tourist hotspot, the costs will vary. Be sure to research, at least generally, the costs of living ahead of time.

If you’re planning on making money once you arrive, there’s a whole web of legal hurdles you’ll have to jump through. Some countries don’t allow temporary students to work. Others will place exorbitant taxes on the money you do make. All that’s to say, DON’T count on making money once you’re there.

DO plan on working or otherwise saving up money ahead of time. That way you can book travel plans early to save on flights and accommodations. You can also make a budget for yourself to stay on track.

Having enough money beforehand can really improve the experience. So, if you want to travel a lot, go out with friends, and try new foods, make sure you can afford it before you sign up.

If you think you can balance budgeting, taking the right classes, and have a genuine interest in foreign travel, then study abroad might be right for you. For all your study abroad FAQs, tips, tricks, and more, check out the WayUp Guide right now!

Here’s What You Need To Know About Working In Business Technology And IT (Hint: A Tech Degree Isn’t Always Required)

Every successful company specializes in something—but being an expert in one area doesn’t make them an expert in all areas. This is especially true when it comes to technology. Executives across all industries need help deciding which tools work best for their companies, and that’s where business technology and information technology (IT) professionals come in.

What does Business Technology and IT mean?

This industry spans everything from your in-house IT support team to the Chief Information Officer (CIO)—and there’s plenty in between. Network Architects, Systems Engineers, Business Tech Analysts, and Project Managers all play a role in a company’s IT strategy.

Working internally in one of these positions, you’ll be making decisions about what kinds of technology your company purchases, which software packages best suit the needs and values of your firm, and the installation and maintenance of this infrastructure.

One of the reasons this is such an important element of business—aside from the obvious necessity of having at least some technology—is the efficiency that can be achieved by having the right technology. This is huge. Efficiency is time, and time is money. This is why firms often turn to Business Technology and IT Consultants to make sure they get it right.

The Advantages Of Working As A Business Technology IT Consultant

Consultancies with a focus on business technology are becoming increasingly important as technology evolves and grows. That’s why traditional management consultancies like Accenture have formed such tech-dedicated offshoots like Avanade—the leading digital innovator, focused on driving results for their clients through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem.

One of the benefits of working as a consultant in this field is the superior professional challenge, and rich employee experience. Because these consultancies are solely focused on crafting the best business technology solutions, their employees have the opportunity to innovate for a variety of companies across a multitude of industries.

If you’re someone who loves the hustle and bustle of activity, another benefit of being a Business Tech Consultant is the opportunity to travel for work. At a company like Avanade, which works in more than 20 countries around the globe, your services can be called upon nearly anywhere. You’ll fly out to meet the client on-site and start working out of their office while you and your team craft the solution that’s right for their business needs. This can make consulting in this field an excellent choice for recent grads looking to expand their horizons.

How To Start A Career In Business Tech And IT

While it’s obvious how having a degree in computer science or engineering could provide useful knowledge for one of these roles, those aren’t the only ways in. Firms look for any number of qualifications, many of which revolve around business sense, intelligence, and problem-solving ability.

“We’re not focused on the degree. It’s more about the skills and technical mindset,” says Avanade hiring expert and head of North America Campus Recruiting, Lisa Kochert. “It’s about critical thinking and problem-solving.”

So, you might be a physics major, but your exposure to data science and programming in labs could make you a great fit for the role. Or perhaps you’re a political science major who has exposure to statistics and digital problem-solving—there are plenty of tracks that prepare you to perform in a technical role without having a specific IT or computer science degree.

At companies like Avanade, you’ll also receive a ton of training and professional development—more than 80 hours a year. As long you can show that you’re a proactive problem-solver with a passion for technology, you can possibly start a career in the field right out of school (or do an internship while you’re still an undergrad).

If you’ve got the technical mindset and a voracious appetite for creating and delivering solutions, then check out opportunities at Avanade. They’re hiring on WayUp!

How To Answer: Why Do You Want This Job?

One of the most important questions you’ll ever be asked in an interview is, ‘Who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman?’ Just kidding! (The answer is Batman BTW.)

The most important question actually is: Why do you want this job?

Deceptively simple, this question has the potential to make or break your chances of landing your dream job. But don’t fret, because we’re going to walk you through crafting the perfect response. Plus, we’ll go over a few common mistakes that people make, too, just for good measure.

Batman approves.

Answering The Most Important Question

There are two parts to a great answer for “Why do you want this job?”

The first part of your answer should focus on the position you’re applying to. You want to start by describing why you’re interested in that specific job.

Say, for example, you’re in an interview for the position of—oh I don’t know—Keeper of the Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Your answer should therefore highlight your passion for plants and animals. Think about specific things you’ve done that would show this. For instance, maybe you were president of Hufflepuff’s Herbology club or grew up on a Mandrake farm. The key is to take something from your past experiences that shows an interviewer you’ll work hard and care about succeeding if you’re hired.

What most people think after answering that question.

The second part of your answer should focus on why you want to work at THIS company.

The key here is research, research, and more research. You want to find something unique and interesting about the company that shows you didn’t just skim the “About Us” section on its website. Make sure you find something specific and relevant to the position you want. There are plenty of resources where you can easily access this kind of information, like WayUp company profiles, podcasts, company blogs, etc.

Read ALL the articles!

Some Common Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Even if you have the makings of a great answer, there are a couple common mistakes we’ve come across that will drive any interviewer insane.

The first is answering the phone with just a simple, “Hello.” or the painfully casual, “Hey.” This leaves interviewers responsible for following up with something like, “Is this Patrick?” and gives them unnecessary work.

A simple solution is to always answer the phone by saying, “Hello, this is Patrick.” If you’re answering a call for an interview, you want to sound as professional as possible. (Of course, don’t say “Patrick” unless that’s your name.)

The next problem is a bit harder to tackle: filler words. For those unfamiliar with filler words, I present exhibit A:

Don’t think Patrick gets too many second interviews.

We can promise that if you pepper your interview responses with “ummms,” “likes,” and “uhhhs,” then your chances of getting hired plummet. It makes you sound like you didn’t prepare ahead of time and don’t really care about the job.

The best way to avoid filler words is practice. Once you have your perfect response crafted, say it out loud over and over again until you’re reciting it in your sleep.

Do, however, leave some room for improvisation and try to sound natural. Some “likes” and “umms” are inevitable, but don’t make it seem like it’s a habit.

Think Before You Speak

If you’re applying for a job, make sure you know why you want it. Any interviewer worth her salt will want to know, so think about why the position and company are right for you. Answering this well will distinguish you as someone who’s not only qualified for a job but also ready to thrive and succeed in the long-run.

P.S. If you’re interested in seeing these techniques put into practice, check out my other article about how I landed a job by wearing mismatched socks!

Can I Work While Studying Abroad? Everything You Need To Know About Students Working Overseas

Can I Work While Studying Abroad?

Getting a job while you study abroad is sometimes possible. But it depends on a whole mess of legal issues that depend entirely on the country you’re in and the country you came from. Here at the WayUp Guide, we’ve put together the ultimate explainer to make sure that you can navigate the murky waters of getting a job while studying abroad. We’ll answer all your big questions so that you can get the most out of your time as an expat. You’ll have plenty to consider when it comes to deciding whether you want work while studying abroad.

Is it legal to work while studying abroad?

It can be, yes. A few of the biggest hot spots for North Americans studying abroad do actually allow foreign students to work while they’re there. But many of them have restrictions that make it impossible to do so legally—especially if you’re only there for one semester. And nearly all of them limit the hours you can work to 20 (part-time status).

For example, Australia and New Zealand allow you to work 20-hour weeks while you’re on their student visas. (That said, New Zealand has for more conditions for that work, so please check their local laws here before you go.) 

However, countries like Ireland and the United Kingdom—the latter of which, of course, includes Top 5 Study Abroad location London—limit working under student visas to students spending at least one academic year in the country. That means most one-semester-abroad students are out of luck.

Other countries still have more complicated rules. Take China, which technically allows students on visas to work, given that they fill out a mountain of paperwork and get permission from their university. Some countries require you to take a job that’s in your chosen field of study.

As you can probably tell from this brief list, the laws for working abroad are complicated and region-specific. Check out this neat resource from Go Overseas, which features a table with some laws from the most popular regions. As always, though, be sure to check with the embassy’s site for the final word on current regulations and restrictions.

All of this is for legal working. But many do freelance work like teaching English (or another language), translation, or part-time restaurant/bar work under the table (taking money off the books without official permissions or paying taxes). However, working illegally in a foreign country can constitute tax evasion and violation of other laws. That can carry harsh penalties like huge fines, expulsion from your school, and even jail time. (In case it needs to be said: You obviously shouldn’t work illegally.) Which brings us to…

Can I volunteer while I’m studying abroad?

The short and long answer for this one is YES! Because there’s no exchange of paychecks or taxes involved, volunteer work is largely available to folks with student visas. You might have better luck finding certain types of charities and missions in certain countries or regions. But, generally, whatever country you visit will have charitable organizations ready and willing to accept your help.

If you study abroad in places outside of Western Europe—especially in Africa or South America—where international non-government organizations (NGOs) like the Red Cross and OxFam have an active presence, then it’s going to be easier to find volunteer work and to get involved on a larger scale. However, if you’re jetting off to cities like London, Shanghai, or Prague, your options are going to be more closely aligned with things like soup kitchens and shelters, as they would be in most U.S. cities.

Of course, certain rules and regulations apply in some countries, especially in Asia, so be sure to check with the embassy’s site and your school counselor to make sure any and all programs are safe and legal.

Should you work while studying abroad? Here are the pros and cons.

Working while studying abroad can be an excellent way to meet people outside your normal bubble of “foreign student vacation life.” It can also help you immerse yourself—genuinely—in the culture of wherever you’re staying. Plus, foreign travel is rife with unforeseen costs and expensive vacation plans, so who couldn’t use some extra cash? This kind of entrepreneurial spirit is valued by future employers and gives you a type of life experience most people will never have. That, in turn, can shape you as a person.

However, adding another weight to your scales when you’re already trying to balance making new friends, staying in contact with people at home, going to school, and making sure you get everything you can out of the experience can be tough and take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. Who wants to miss out on that awesome weekend trip to Italy, that amazing party in the warehouse club, or that unforgettable museum exhibit because you have deadlines and shifts to pull at work?

Working can be an awesome way to add depth and authenticity to your experience. But truly relying on a part-time job for money while abroad can severely detract from your ability to enjoy your time there. It can also interfere as you try to forge strong connections with your peers. You don’t want to be scrubbing tables while your roommates are making friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Yet that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something interesting or talk to someone you never would have because of a unique work experience, either.

It’s best to plan (and work as much as you can) ahead of time, so that you can have all the money you need BEFORE you arrive. That way, working is just another optional, enriching part of the experience, and not a cruel necessity robbing you of your precious time abroad and stressing you out.

For more study abroad tips, FAQs, and questions, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide!

Can You Teach English Abroad During College? Everything You Need To Know About Teaching English Overseas

Here at the WayUp Guide, we know that going abroad is more than just an extended vacation. It’s an opportunity to truly broaden your horizons and invite new ways of thinking into your life. Connection with other people is a huge part of that process. To teach English abroad is to connect with a group of people trying to do the same thing that you are: Participate in a global society.

We’ve put together this piece to tell you everything you need to know about teaching English abroad.

Is It possible To Teach English While Studying Abroad?

For the most part, having your own classroom while you’re studying abroad in a traditional program is very rare. If you’re already headed to Europe, Asia, or anywhere else on a study abroad program and you’re hoping to teach English while you’re there for a semester, the chances of doing this in an institution are very low. Even if it were more widely available, it would take a huge chunk of your time (given that it would come in addition to classes). The added stress of having a job, classes, and everything else would probably do more harm than good to your experience.

It is, however, very possible to teach English to individuals as a tutor or to work with an organization on a smaller scale. If you’re interested in tutoring foreign students, there are plenty of opportunities to teach English. This is especially true if you’re in a big city with universities. Some people are even unofficially hired to teach English to interested groups at community centers or other organizations. However, accepting a paid position comes with a web of legal entanglements. (You can read more about the dangers of that here.)

Given that getting paid to teach English is usually difficult, you can always tutor/teach on a volunteer basis. This is nice because there’s a much smaller time commitment when it comes to volunteering. Ask your study abroad program director or your study abroad office if such opportunities are available at your site. Students who came before you may have already done similar programs. If not, you can always call around to local universities or schools and ask if they need a volunteer.

Teaching English while you’re studying abroad, on a small scale, is definitely doable.

Teaching English Abroad In A Summer Program

If you’re really interested in the full teaching experience, then you should consider a summer program.

Again, if you’re an undergrad, most of the positions available to you will be on a volunteer basis. However, those programs will often pay for your room and board. You might also receive a small stipend for spending money. The best places to find programs like these are developing countries. Established economies like those in Europe and East Asia will usually have higher educational standards for English teachers.

If you want a paid position, then you should look into to getting a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification to bolster your resume. After that, it should be much easier to find a paid position without having to first pay a private service like Geovisions to scout out a position for you (although that is a fine option).

However, as we’ll talk about in the next section, a certification is not strictly necessary. And there are most certainly options for those looking to teach without them.

Do You Need A Certification To Teach English Abroad?

The short answer is, no. There are many programs that do not require certifications for undergrads looking to teach English in the summer. For the other types of tutoring or small-group teaching positions, those are usually undocumented to begin with and won’t require any certification. However, even programs that do allow undergrads to teach without certification will sometimes say they prefer it and favor students who do have it.

As we mentioned above, having a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification can add a lot to your resume as a potential teacher. However, it is totally possible to teach without a certification. Check out our list of programs below to see which ones do and don’t require certification.

These certifications cost approximately $500 and can usually be completed through an online course.

Longer English Teacher programs for after graduation have different requirements. But you don’t have to worry about going through official government training or getting certifications when you’re an undergrad (usually).

Here Are Some Great Programs And Resources To Check Out.

Find programs and jobs:

  • Dave’s ESL Cafe — Resource for connecting ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers and students from around the world.

  • API Study Abroad — Program that sends people around the world to teach English and volunteer.

  • AIESEC US — Non-profit, student-run group connecting teachers and students in more than 107 countries and territories.

  • Alliance Abroad/AIDE — Career site for teaching English abroad in Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

  • Interexchange — Site connecting students and recent grads with programs to travel abroad, teach English, and volunteer (will help you become TEFL-certified).

  • World Teach — Program connecting students and recent grads with opportunities to teach English abroad during the year, for a semester, or during the summer.

  • International Volunteer HQ — Organization connecting students with volunteer programs, some of which involve teaching English.

There are a ton of other programs and organizations out there! This list is just to get the ball rolling!

Find program reviews/ratings/details:

  • CIEE — Organization that helps you find study abroad/teach abroad programs that are right for you.

  • Go Overseas — Find reviews, compiled ratings, and program details.

  • Study Abroad 101 — Reviews, ratings, and more.

For all your other study abroad, internship, or career questions, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide for more!

Study Abroad 101: Everything You Need To Know

What is study abroad?

Study Abroad or Study Away programs are options provided by universities and colleges to complete a semester, year, or sometimes even more of your degree program on a different campus, usually in a foreign country.

These programs are an excellent opportunity to see a new part of the world, experience a different culture, and TRAVEL. Temporarily relocating to Europe, Asia, or anywhere else means having an excellent opportunity to take advantage of plentiful (and often relatively cheap) travel options. This allows you to maximize your experience and exposure to new places.

How can I sign up?

How do you sign up? Most of the programs are through partnerships your institution has with a program or foreign university. Some schools—like NYU—even have their own global campus locations where they send their students.

However, many schools (even those with programs) allow their students to apply to public or “all inclusive” study abroad programs for students from a variety of institutions. These types of programs are particularly useful for people with a desire to study at a niche location and/or for a specific subject (like going to Pompeii for Archaeology!).

If you type your school’s name and “study abroad,” you will usually be able to find your school’s landing page or study abroad office. From there you’ll be able to sign up for info sessions, schedule an appointment with a study abroad counselor, and—most of the time—apply directly through the site.

Making sure you have the right paperwork for study abroad.

Whether it’s visas, vaccinations, or vacation planning, there’s a ton of documentation that goes along with study abroad.

Living, studying, and (maybe) working in a foreign country adds up to a lot of paperwork. It’s a coordinated effort between two or more governments, universities, parents, doctors, friends, and—most important—you!

Lots of countries require you to have a student visa (although some do not). You can check to see if your desired location does on sites like the State Department’s student visa guide.

You’ll need a visa for not only your desired study location but also any travel/vacation locations. Whether you need an additional visa will depend on the local laws, whether that country has reciprocity with your student visa (some countries in Europe do), and technical details like the duration of your stay.

Beyond visas, you’re going to need an up-to-date passport that won’t expire while you’re abroad. You’ll also want something in addition to your passport (so you don’t have to carry it around all the time). To verify your age at bars, clubs, restaurants, and other places, you should bring your license or government ID card. Places in some countries won’t accept this, so you’ll need a Proof of Age card just in case. (Check your country’s rules on that before you go.)

There are also vaccination and health screening requirements for most countries. That said, you’ll need certified documentation to prove that you’re in the proper shape to live in another place.

Can I work or volunteer while I study abroad?

It all depends on whether your student visa allows you to work or not. Some countries will not allow foreign students to work at all. Others allow foreign students with basic student visas to work. Yet other countries require you to fill out a special application to get permission to work. Be sure to search country- or region-specific working requirements if that’s something you’re interested in.

Even remote work like journalism, video editing, or anything else done entirely digitally requires special permissions to actually get paid while you’re completing the work in another country.

Volunteering while studying abroad is usually a different story, because there’s no salary or paycheck involved. Since there aren’t tax status issues, volunteering is usually available to foreign students. However, some countries do require you to apply to join any organizations. Before you depart, be sure to check your destination’s requirements.

There are also plenty of programs that let you volunteer or work as an English teacher abroad, read more about that here.

However, most students find that between traveling, class, and meeting new people, there isn’t much time for a job—even a part-time one.

For a full guide to study/working abroad, check out this post on the WayUp guide.

Will study abroad credits work with my degree program?

This is why having approval from your university is essential. Make sure your academic advisor is aware of your plans to study abroad as far in advance as possible. That way, you can plan around the limited class options abroad and the standing degree requirements you have to complete before graduation.

Most locations will not have all the classes you need to complete your degree. And some schools won’t accept core requirements done at a non-university program. So you MUST check with your academic advisor. Your school’s study abroad office may be able to help you work with your advisor, fill out forms to become exempt from certain requirements, or clear a certain class abroad with a major or core curriculum requirement.

It’s tricky to plan this far ahead in your academic career. But it’s totally essential if you want to have the best experience and graduate on time.

Study Abroad programs require careful planning, but have a huge payoff.

It’s a big challenge to successfully plan a months-long trip abroad. That’s especially true when you’re going to school, taking trips, and perhaps even working or volunteering. Yet completing something like this will not only enrich your life with a whole host of amazing experiences but also prove that you can handle a major undertaking. Being able to contend with something like this is a significant stepping stone in adult life.

For all your other study abroad questions and more detailed explanations, be sure to check out the WayUp guide for more!

Can I Volunteer While Studying Abroad? Everything You Need To Know About Volunteering Overseas

Is It Possible To Volunteer While Studying Abroad?

Totally, yes. If you can find the right opportunity to volunteer while studying abroad, then you can access a whole world of benefits and new experiences. You’ll get working experience without having to navigate the complex legal jungle of permits, regulations, and foreign tax codes that come along with a paid position. You also get to help and connect with people from circumstances very different than your own. That is a learning experience that has its own immense value.

However, some phony organizations exist that charge foreigners money for empty experiences or lure them into bad situations. That said, knowing what you’re looking for before you arrive is absolutely essential.

To help you get the most out of your study abroad experience, we at the WayUp guide have compiled  everything you need to know about volunteering while studying abroad.

Volunteer Study Abroad Programs Vs. Volunteering While Studying Abroad

Some study abroad programs are designed, from the beginning, to center around a volunteer or humanitarian mission. These programs can be offered by your university and specific school departments or through open organizations like API Study Abroad or International Volunteer HQ.

For programs like these, you’ll usually travel to places with more pressing volunteer needs than large European or Asian metropolises. Some of these programs will offer college credit for the volunteer work in lieu of classes. Others will offer both volunteer work AND classes for credit.

You could be building wells and studying local government policy in rural Indian villages or work on environmental conservation in a village near the Brazilian rain forest. No matter what your major or interest is, there are a ton of opportunities to dive deeper into your academic field and actually affect the lives of others.

These types of programs are designed to make your volunteer effort the centerpiece of your experience. As such, they’re quite different from the latter type of activity: Undertaking a volunteer position or project while you’re on a traditional study abroad program.

This is a more traditional route, similar to getting a part-time job while going to school. You’ll be able to control, for the most part, how much of a time commitment it is. That makes it much more manageable if you have a heavy class load and lots of travel plans. You can usually find these by asking your study abroad campus administration. Luckily, most places will have organizations where they regularly send students, so you’ll know what kind of experience is headed your way.

Volunteering Abroad Safety: Finding A Legitimate, Trusted Program, Organization, Or Project

Unfortunately, there are plenty of for-profit organizations that will do their best to take as much money from you while giving you as little guidance, support, and opportunity as possible. This can be especially dangerous if you’re going to a place with less infrastructure for finding alternate opportunities or connecting with the outside world. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are working with a verified, trusted program that both helps a real cause AND provides you with an enriching experience.

The easiest way to find a trustworthy program is to ask your study abroad office/study abroad counselor if your school has any partnerships with existing programs (This also helps you secure college credit more easily so you can still graduate on time.) Even if they don’t have established partnerships with programs, they might know of other students who have had successful experiences. They might even be able to set you up with someone who could talk to you about the experience.

Going through your school is the best method for safety purposes. It also ensures that you’ll have a point-of-contact at your college to help you if anything goes wrong or the program doesn’t suit you. If your school doesn’t have a study abroad office, your academic advisor or a professor might be able to direct you to an opportunity.

The next best method, if you’re looking for something your school doesn’t necessarily offer, is to use thorough online reviews, forums, and blogs. Sites like Go Overseas or Study Abroad 101 compile trusted reviews and flag recurring issues from participants to help you make your decision. For instance, take this review of API Study Abroad. Things to watch out for are programs that redirect you to local charities without any institutional support and those that lack bureaucracy. Other red flags are exploitative for-profit organizations, programs that don’t give their students/volunteers enough work, programs where there are no other students, and programs that put students in dangerous or unsupervised situations.

It’s not all bad, though. There are thousands of reviews, blogs, and trustworthy sources for finding the right program. You’ll find your fit, just be cautious and thorough!

Benefits Of Volunteering While Studying Abroad

There are so many benefits to getting volunteer experience while you’re abroad. It’ll help your resume, your future job prospects, and your personal development.

Volunteer work is work, and work experience in a foreign country is amazing for your resume. It means you’ve interacted with people from different cultures, possibly have foreign language skills, and possess the entrepreneurial spirit required to seek out work outside the borders of your homeland.

Volunteering while studying abroad shows that you are not someone who is satisfied with being a mere tourist. It will give you a plethora of stories, experiences, and situations you can bring up in future job interviews. Plus, if you ever want to return to your study abroad destination—say London—and work there after graduation, you can say you “have experience working in a British organization.”

Beyond the tangible benefits, volunteer work of any kind, anywhere, exposes you to people outside your normal sphere. This can give you perspective and a sense of purpose that can help define your character for the rest of your life. As the saying goes, to help others is to help yourself.

If you’re interested in learning specifically about teaching English abroad as a volunteer or paid teacher, check out this WayUp Guide post here.

For more study abroad FAQs, tips, and info, check out the WayUp Guide right now!

4 Signs That Show An Employer Is Serious About Its Company Culture

“Company culture” can seem like a pretty intangible thing, especially when you’re thinking about your first job. You might not have the experience to know what actually makes it more than just an HR slogan.

Company culture is made up of the tangible experiences you have working there—and it couldn’t be more important.

Using Dell—an industry leader in company culture—as an example, here are four signs that show a company is serious about its culture.

#1: A Meaningful Work/Life Balance

Maintaining the balance between your work and your personal life is extremely important for your health, job performance, and overall satisfaction. Plenty of companies understand that happy employees are good employees, and few things make people happier than being able to have a rich life in and outside of the office.

But it has to be more than just expressing a commitment.

At Dell, if you work at any of the tech giant’s offices around the world, there are a ton of options with regards to scheduling your work. Some employees work from home for all or part of the week to cut down on commuting and inefficiency. Other employees work the same amount of hours in four days each week (instead of five).

Dell aims to have 50 percent of their workforce on flexible schedules by 2020. That’s the kind of proof you should be looking for when it comes to understanding work/life balance at a company.

#2: Genuine Commitment To Diversity

A company or team without diversity not only deprives you of the personal growth that comes from understanding people unlike yourself, but also makes concretely worse decisions. Companies AND people succeed when there’s diversity—so, yes, it should be an important factor.

It can be hard to tell whether a company employs a diverse group of people, particularly because diversity can mean a lot more than what is visibly apparent. Beyond that, corporate websites and verbal commitments can often oversell certain aspects of the company culture. One way to cut through the noise is by looking at what objective third parties and former employees have said. Check out the company’s diversity and inclusion ratings and see how credible organizations have rated them.

Dell was placed on DiversityInc’s Top 50 and was recognized by The Economist for their excellence in diversity and inclusion. Dell also does more than just hire people—they support them. Whether that means advocacy groups, accommodations for holidays and disabilities, or flexible work hours to fit people’s myriad obligations, the company is constantly thinking about its employees’ happiness.

#3: Openness To Innovation

Most companies rely on innovation to drive their business forward. But some companies truly expect it from every corner of their team. How do you figure out which is which? Here are a couple ways you can find out more about what exactly innovation means at a certain company.

For starters, ask about “intrepreneurship.” How has a select group of major tech players managed to stay at the top of an industry that revolves around advances? Simple: They’ve encouraged all of their employees to use the company as a venue for innovation. (Dell has an annual “Game Changers” competition where employees from around the globe pitch to executives who can opt to fund their ideas.)

If an employer can’t provide you with specifics about new products or businesses started by employees, then that may be a sign that the “culture of innovation” is just a phrase.

#4: Ethics And Impact

It’s important to know what kind of company you work for. Do they take responsibility for their actions? Do they contribute to the communities they’re a part of? Essentially, you need to know whether a prospective company makes the world a better or worse place.

This is where hard facts matter the most. Awards and accolades given from third parties are usually for a reason. So, when Dell has taken home trophies for their efforts to cut down on their carbon footprint or for being the largest global recycler of electronics, you know that it’s because they did and they are.

There are things like community engagement, manufacturing practices, and much, much more that you should look out for. There are many ways to make an impact—positive or negative. Companies who take ethics seriously usually have employees who do, too, and it can be great to be around people who care.

And Beyond…

Little things like dress code, snacks, and social events can make a huge difference in helping you adjust to a new city or new stage of life. So, don’t forget about these aspects of company culture, either.

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Being An ‘Intrapreneur’

When we hear “innovation,” it’s hard not to think about the classic success stories and the images of people tinkering with old-timey motherboards in the pursuit of scientific progress. That’s where so many key tech companies like Dell started, after all. But it’s important to remember that it’s not the only way it happens.

There’s a reason major players in tech can manage to stay in the game for so long: Creative and technical geniuses innovate within the structure of their large corporations. The business world has taken to calling this practice “intrapreneurship,” and it could be the way that you manage to thrive as an innovator.

What is intrapreneurship?

Intrapreneurship—in contrast with entrepreneurship—is the practice of creating, pitching, and getting funding for your own business idea or product while working as an employee within a larger corporate structure.

“It’s a new kind of product or a new kind of business,” says veteran intrapreneur and Dell Product Manager Juan Vega. “It’s about identifying new opportunities and leading from the front.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT DELL AND APPLY FOR OPEN JOBS HERE

In the same way that you would start your business on the outside, you have to build a team, invest your own time, and aggressively seek sponsorship from execs in the right department. “You can’t lead from behind,” Juan stresses. “You have to take a risk and say, ‘I really think it’s worth doing something.’ And then you have to go and create the story and the arguments and the support and everything else you need, just as if you were out solo in the business world.”

How Juan tapped into a multi-billion-dollar business.

Juan knows a thing or two about intrapreneurship. Having spent more than 20 years at Dell, Juan has worked on (and started!) countless new businesses and products for the company.

For example, in 2008 he was running the successful Optiplex team, but he wasn’t feeling inspired by his role. “They figured out the formula and it was on track. It was doing great and winning everything. It wasn’t taking a lot to improve it; it just needed someone to keep it going,” he says.

As an innovator, Juan was ready for his next challenge. “I was bored, basically. I ended up looking at the market and thinking, ‘Where are we underserved?’ I started looking for that opportunity,” he says.

He settled on the small business market. The business packages and hardware were just too expensive at that scale. However, it didn’t have to be this way, and Juan knew that. “We had a ton of pricing conflicts. We had a cost problem that wasn’t being resolved in that space,” he says. “So, I found a backfill and got out of the job I was in, once I had sponsorship to drive this new business space.”

The result? “We built a new desktop and notebook business that was specifically focused on driving down costs and meeting the needs of the small business owner. And that’s a billion-something dollar business today.”

How can you do it? It’s all about the company culture.

An intrapreneurial culture is not the only thing that makes a company successful—there are plenty of established businesses that got to where they are by moving methodically and sticking to their guns. There are also flagging industries in which companies will be much more risk-averse because they just aren’t thriving. And it’s those types of companies—whether they’re cautious or just plain old conservative—that you have to avoid if you’re trying to find a place that will let you innovate.

If you’re someone who likes the idea of contributing to a larger team, having steady pay and benefits, and getting exposure to the workings of a major corporation, but you still want to make something new, then you have to make sure you find a company with a culture of intrapreneurship.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DELL AND APPLY FOR OPEN JOBS HERE

“It’s never about asking permission,” Juan explains. “You get permission along the way. You get investment dollars. You get head count. You get project teams. [At Dell], you get whatever it is you need to create that new business.”

How does this happen at Dell? According to Juan, it’s the people. “It’s because of the kind of people who are happy at Dell. We’re a pretty type A company. It all started with Michael in his dorm room. It’s people who are in a lot of ways self-motivated—entrepreneurial-type people— who just happen to be working in a giant corporation,” he says.

“And when you mix the two together, what you get is people who tend to ask a little more forgiveness than permission, and tend to bring opportunities to light as a part of their normal roles and responsibilities.”