As travel restrictions continue to be lifted in countries around the world, opportunities to spend an academic year or semester abroad are growing.
With student interest in studying overseas growing, Texas Tech Study Abroad provides eligible Tech students with over 300 programs in 50 different countries, according to the Study Abroad website, as well as two international campuses in Sevilla, Spain and Costa Rica.
Lanna Sheldon, coordinator of the Tech center in Sevilla and senior study abroad counselor, said eligibility is not an issue for most students interested in studying abroad.
“The fundamentals of the application process are identical throughout each program,” Sheldon said. “It is very within reach for students to complete the academic requirements in time to go.”
Requirements and Costs
While an individual program has its own specific criteria, general requirements for students to apply for any study abroad program are that they are a sophomore by year, maintain a 2.0 GPA and are in “good disciplinary standing,” according to the Study Abroad website.
Students must also apply for a passport, according to the website, if they do not possess an active one. This can be accomplished at any passport office, including Tech’s on-campus office.
Sheldon said the cost of studying abroad is hard to pinpoint, due to flight costs fluctuating and additional purchases some students may need.
“We have scholarships for study abroad students, as well as some that are purely for the Seville center,” Sheldon said. “Our goal is to have programs at the civil center as close to the cost of attendance as a typical semester would be here in Lubbock.”
Life in Sevilla
Many students choose to spend their semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain because of the center located in the city and the plethora of excursions they can participate in. Sheldon said Tech currently has 64 students committed to traveling to Seville in the spring 2022 semester, where they will stay live with a host family.
“The host family is one of the most enriching parts of the entire program,” Sheldon, who traveled abroad twice as a student, said. “So many things are taken care of for you as far as daily necessities and you have someone there to bridge some of the culture gap.”
While that culture gap may take time to adjust to, students are welcomed by a team of advisors, coordinators and directors who are there to help them get acclimated to life in Sevilla.
Many of these staff members live in Sevilla for the entirety of the semester or longer, such as Sara Pink, resident director of the center in Sevilla.
Pink, who lives in Sevilla year-round, said she understands that certain aspects of Sevilla will be completely new. Pink said dinner, prepared by the student's host family, usually takes place around 9:30 p.m.
“It is certainly different from Lubbock in the sense that our students fall into the local rhythm,” Pink said.
Why Study Abroad?
Beyond the classes and excursions, many students find studying abroad a very eye-opening experience, with many wanting to return for another semester.
Natalee Gomez, a fourth-year journalism student from Austin, said she is one of 64 students committed to going to Sevilla in the spring 2022 semester. She said she views this as an opportunity to gain a new perspective on a lifelong dream.
“One of the things that I really do at one point in my life, probably after graduation, is teach English abroad,” Gomez said. “I wanted to go out and experience what it would be like to live over there before I actually decided that that's something I want to do.”
Gomez said it is beneficial for Tech students to travel abroad and widen their view of the world they live in.
“By getting experience going abroad and being socially aware of different cultures, you’re really setting yourself up to further your knowledge and understanding of human life,” she said.