Texas Tech University

First Generation Students Abroad

Don't wait until later to study abroad. Study abroad, first and foremost, is an academic experience of a lifetime. Why not begin early in your life rather than wait?

As the first in your family to attend college or university, you may feel you've already taken a big enough step toward success. Additionally, you may think that studying abroad is an unreachable goal. However, first generation college students have a proven track record of forging new paths and are often uniquely positioned to succeed abroad. In fact, about 20% of all TTU students who study abroad are first generation college students - a similiar percentage to the number of first generation college students studying on campus.

Studying abroad can make you more successful both during school and afterward. Studies have suggested that participating in an international learning experience makes you more likely to graduate and do so in four years. Study abroad alumni also report higher starting salaries and greater ease in finding jobs in fields related to their majors following graduation. This increase in employability may be explained by the confidence, cultural awareness, and job skills that students can gain from their study abroad experience.

Hear Jaqueline, a high financial need and first-gen student, speak about her international internship experience:

Things to Consider

Meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss the best time for you to study abroad.

Include your family in the planning process so they understand how study abroad can benefit your goals and interests. Encourage your family to review the Parents, Guardians & Mentors section of the TTU Study Abroad website for more information.

Talk to your TTU Study Abroad Counselor about which program(s) would best meet your needs. 

Learn about your financing options and how to utilize financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

Consider ways to make your international experience even more impactful. Think about incorporating an international internship, research project or service-learning into your international program. These unique opportunities will help you develop important contacts and skills for your future career.

Take ownership of the process! We understand the study abroad planning process will include many steps. Set yourself up for success by planning ahead. Be sure to keep track of application deadlines, funding opportunities, and program requirements.

TTU Campus Resources

How TTU Study Abroad Can Assist

In addition to advising first generation students of their study abroad and funding opportunities, the TTU Study Abroad staff members are committed to do the following:

  • Accompany students to the TTU Passport Office, located across the hall from the TTU Study Abroad Offices.
  • Share resources, materials, and advice about first generation college student experiences abroad such as First Generation Students Traveling Abroad and All Abroad
  • Connect students to stories of other first generation college students who recount their study abroad and international travel experiences, including the I'm First! blog.
  • Speak with students during advising appointments about how they can include family and loved ones in the study abroad planning process by sharing information about the myths and benefits of study abroad.
  • Suggest free financial planning services like TTU's Red to Black Peer Financial Coaching.
  • Assist students in understanding program costs and fees, currency and foreign exchange rates, and cost of living differences between the host country and the U.S.

Speak with a Study Abroad Counselor

Do you or your family have any concerns related to study abroad? Your Study Abroad Counselor can assist with your questions, like:

  • What opportunities and challenges have other first generation students faced as they prepare to travel abroad?
  • Can I be connected with students and alumni with similar identities as me?
  • What on-campus support and resources will I have access to overseas?
  • How will study abroad help me reach my academic, personal and professional goals?
  • Will my TTU financial aid and scholarships count towards my study abroad program?
  • What advice do you have for first generation students who are thinking about study abroad?
  • What impact can going abroad have on my future career path?

Schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad Counselor.

 "Studying abroad was an amazing, unforgettable experience. Being a first generation college student can mean that you sometimes have to work through things on your own, but as a student at Texas Tech, I am very grateful for all the available assistance and support I had to make this dream of studying abroad a reality. I encourage everyone to go outside of their comfort zones and try something new; studying abroad is something I will remember for the rest of my life."

Simon Woldemichael, studied abroad in Hong Kong