Study Abroad Basics
All Donaghey Scholars are required to study abroad and the Donaghey Foundation generously provides $5,500 per student to support this. The goal is to ensure that Scholars have an immersive experience abroad and truly become part of another culture. To this end, programs must last at least 5-6 weeks during the summer, and many Scholars choose to study abroad for a semester or a full academic year. We also want the experience that Scholars have abroad to enhance their education and give them skills that will help them as they pursue their career paths. Therefore, Scholars may choose programs that are related to their major or future profession, or they may study a foreign language. It is important to note that language programs, particularly the ones organized by the UA Little Rock Department of World Languages, tend to be the least expensive options, while major-specific programs tend to require additional funding.
Most Scholars study abroad during the summer after their sophomore or junior year. It is unusual, but not impossible, for a Scholar to go the summer after their first year in the program, but we would need to be convinced that they were personally and academically prepared to get the most out of the experience. We do not allow Scholars to study abroad during their senior year except in the most unusual circumstances, as students should be using this year to complete their final projects and apply for graduate school or jobs.
Many study abroad programs cost more than the $5,500 provided by the Donaghey Foundation and Scholars who wish to participate in these programs should begin working with the Scholars Office and the Office of Study Abroad as early as possible to find additional funding sources. It is important to note that Donaghey Scholars Program tuition scholarships cannot be used at a foreign university, so with the exception of exchange partner universities (see below), you will not receive the tuition scholarship while you are abroad. Keep in mind that you may be able to use your other financial aid to cover study abroad costs.
Summer Programs: For summer programs requiring additional funding, you will need to apply for scholarships or fellowships. You are also eligible for student loans to make up any uncovered costs.
Semester or Year-Long Programs: Provided that you are enrolled in the required number of hours, you will still receive your regular scholarships, such as the Arkansas Academic Challenge, Pell Grants, etc. These funds can be used to cover study abroad costs and any excess balance will be given to you in the form of a refund check.
Partner Programs: One way for Scholars to participate in more expensive semester or year-long programs is to look for a partner program with which UA Little Rock has an exchange agreement. These agreements change and the Study Abroad Director will be able to provide you with a current list. Exchange agreements permit the student to pay tuition costs to their home university instead of their host campus. This means that the Donaghey Scholars Program can pay your tuition as we normally would if you were on campus. This only applies to semester or year-long programs.
Steps to Prepare for Study Abroad
We strongly recommend beginning to think about study abroad in your first year and to seriously start researching programs and talking to the Office of Study Abroad and the Donaghey Scholars Office 9-12 months before you hope to travel. The later you wait, the harder it can be to find a program that meets your needs and the program requirements, and finding additional funding for more expensive programs may not be possible.
When you are ready to begin the process, here are the basic steps you should follow:
- Consider the types of programs and parts of the world you might be interested in. We encourage you to be open-minded and flexible about the latter, as the best program for you might not be in the country you expect.
- Schedule an appointment with the Study Abroad Director to discuss options. She will help you make a list of programs to research and consider more thoroughly. You should discuss these options with your advisor in your major, especially if you will be doing a program in your field of study.
- Once you have narrowed the list down, work with the Study Abroad Director to create a budget spreadsheet for your top choices. This can help you select your preferred program.
- Schedule a meeting with Dr. Scott and come with your budget spreadsheets. She will work with you to make sure the program meets the Donaghey Scholars Program requirements and that you fully understand the financial commitments of your chosen program.
- Once Dr. Scott has approved the program, work with the Study Abroad Director to apply to your program of choice.
- Meet with your department chair or the department chair for the Department of World Languages to approve credit for the courses you will take abroad.
- Work with the Donaghey Scholars Office and the Study Abroad Director to purchase your plane ticket. If you are traveling as part of a UA Little Rock group, Study Abroad will book your plane tickets. If you are participating in an independent program, the Scholars Office will likely book your ticket. If you choose to book on your own, understand that you will not be reimbursed until after you return from study abroad.