First Gen

Being the first in your family to attend a college or university, you may feel you've already taken a big enough step toward success. Studying abroad does not take away from your ability to succeed in college, but rather it can enhance your studies.  Participating on a study abroad program can lead to greater confidence and assurance among first generation college students while helping you adapt to and succeed in most any situation. Research shows that students who study abroad earn higher GPAs  and have stronger degree completion rates compared to their peers. Study abroad can increase cultural understanding and open-mindedness; it is also a great way to learn another language and gain experience with diverse populations. These opportunities not only produce high-achieving undergraduate students at the University of Miami, but also help first-generation college graduates stand out in today’s competitive job market!

As a first generation college student, you may be the first in your family to pursue a global academic experience, and with such a unique experience, you and your family will likely have many questions. You might be especially concerned about how much it will cost to study abroad. If your family has not traveled much out of the country—let alone studied abroad for an extended period of time—you may not have many people from home who understand why you would want to leave the country, be able to help guide you through this experience, or help you to make it more affordable. Rest assured that your study abroad advisor, faculty, and peers are great resources to help you prepare and navigate the process to study abroad.

Think about:

  • Goals: Define and articulate your reasons and goals for studying abroad. Consider how your program will benefit you academically, professionally, and personally.
  • Expenses: Make sure you know the costs associated with your program. Semester and summer program fees differ significantly in cost, but your aid and scholarships at Miami can be used in their entirety for semester and full year programs.  Summer programs are different in that there is no guarantee you will receive financial aid. However, some scholarships are available to help students offset those costs. Additionally, be sure to understand what upfront costs might exist for the program in which you are interested.
  • Support: Once abroad, it is important to identify one or two individuals who you can share your experience with. The individuals can be on your program or locals that you meet onsite.

Before You Go:

  • Discuss your plans with your family: Study abroad may be a novel idea to your family, so make sure you can articulate the academic, personal, and professional benefits of the experience. Talk to your family early on and let them know that they can speak with a study abroad advisor if they have any questions.

First Gen Resources

  • Diversity Abroad has a diversity and inclusion abroad guide for underrepresented students in study abroad
  • IFSA Unpacked is a collection of students’ study abroad stories and resources for prospective study abroad students
  •'s free eBook provides comprehensive resources for first generation students.  The ebook is not just for finding study abroad programs, but for funding them too!