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Taking Loans to Study Abroad

Gert1930Gert1930 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hello! I'm wondering if I should do a second semester abroad on loans and graduate a semester later.

For context, I'm currently an East Asian Studies (Mandarin) major at a liberal arts college who plans on attending grad school for either translation/interpretation, nonproliferation studies, or global affairs (with a focus on East Asia). I'm not sure if I want to attend grad school in East Asia or the US yet (depends on finances since US grad school prices are giving me heart attacks).

I've already managed to score one semester (this spring) in Seoul on scholarships (Gilman and Freeman). However, I'm wondering if it'd be wise to do a second semester there too in the fall?

Pros:
- I can continue to study Korean abroad for a second semester since it's not offered at my home campus. I'm low intermediate rn, so it's not like I suddenly threw in a new language.
- I'd love my time abroad

Cons:
- I'd take out loans. I have enough to pay for half of the cost; the other cost would be through the federal stafford subsidized loan. I'm not looking to take out private loans at all.
- I'd graduate a semester late. This isn't a con to me per se, but it might be a con for employers/grad schools? I'm not sure.

TL;DR: My main concerns are if graduating late looks bad on grad school applications, and if taking out loans pure for study abroad is a bad financial decision. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

Edit: I'm so sorry, I posted this in the wrong forum and I'm not sure how to change it.

Replies to: Taking Loans to Study Abroad

  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 1,495 Senior Member
    Why don't you try to get a job teaching English there after graduation instead?
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 2,868 Senior Member
    Yes. As @roycroftmom says, you can go there after graduation to work. BTW if you're a Mandarin major, why Seoul? It's great to have the exposure to Korea and Korean -- and maybe it was just the opportunity presented itself to you -- but it's a completely different language from Mandarin.

    - PRC has many many many programs for teaching English. You would pick up more Mandarin along the way. Or you can just go to PRC and get a job. That can seem more daunting, though. The English teaching position can lead to other jobs -- use it as a bridge.

    - If you're interested in Asian Languages and want something cool to do after graduating, also consider the JET program in Japan.

    - For grad school in the US -- see if you can find schools that offer the FLAS scholarship. This is provided by the US government to support people such as yourself who have what are considered "unusual" language skills. I think Yale has one or more to offer, I think in their business school or maybe law school too. Columbia I think also has one in their Asian institute. Probably the major universities have FLAS to offer -- check Harvard, Princeton, etc.

    One thing you could also do, beyond translation work, because it's hard to get that to pay well by itself, is to look at other careers related to your fluency not just in a language but in a culture. Having the ability to stand with one foot in different cultures can be extremely lucrative depending on what you combine it with. Corporations and law firms are interested in people with excellent LANGUAGE skills plus this flexibility with culture. No matter your chosen career, the more fluent you are, the more you will be able to do. Spending at least two years in your chosen country after graduating college will help you decide what you want to do and will help you gain fluency in the language and the culture.
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