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Tiffany Byers

How to prep for a semester abroad

by Tiffany Byers | Sep 14, 2018

Hello friends! In just three short weeks I will be leaving the United States for the first time in my life.

I’m heading to Brussels, Belgium, also referred to as “The Capital of Europe”, as a study abroad student through Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA). Manchester University works with the BCA program and transfers all of your financial aid to them! This is one major benefit to studying abroad as a Manchester student.

The process of going abroad seems very daunting but if you start preparing early it’s not that bad! Here is a list of things to help you get started on your trip around the world.

  1. Talk with Professor Rohrer about going abroad.

    Professor Thelma Rohrer is the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and the Director of Study Abroad and Off-Campus Academic Programs at Manchester! It’s important to talk to her when you are thinking about going abroad and throughout the process.

    I talked with her my first year about my interest in going abroad. She pointed me in the right direction and was always there to answer any questions that I had. 

  2. Carefully plan your class schedule and talk with your professors.

    I changed my major to two that I hadn’t taken any classes in right before the spring of my sophomore year. I knew this decision may have decreased my chances to go abroad, but I’m so happy I didn’t let it stop me all together.

    I talked with both Professor Judd Case and Professor Katy Gray Brown about my options. They’re in charge of the departments I’m a part of and therefore could help me pick out a class that I could take. Your department heads are the ones who are able to decide what they will accept and not accept for classes that you take abroad.

  3. Apply for scholarships!

    In order to go abroad, I knew that I would need scholarships! I had enough money to get to Brussels but I knew I would not have enough to spend while there!

    I suggest applying for the Kauffman award through Manchester and all of the BCA scholarships that you qualify for. Look for these ahead of time and know the due dates. These scholarships paid for my all of my visa fees, my plane ticket and left me with money to spend while I am abroad.

    I also suggesting applying for the Gilman International Scholarship if you receive the Pell Grant! Ask Professor Rohrer about this opportunity if you are interested. She helped look over my application and gave me advice throughout the process.  

  4. Apply for a passport and your country’s visa, etc.

    It is important to see what is required to study in the country you choose. I needed a visa to go to Brussels and started the application process in March 2018. The process is very long and daunting so it’s important to start early in order to make sure that you have everything.

    Also, be sure to keep a copy of all of your materials in order to present to the immigration office when you go to your country!

Obviously, there are multiple things that you need to do before traveling abroad; however, these four steps were the most crucial part of the process! Now that I am done with all of them, I’m making sure that I am all packed up and ready to leave on August 18!


Tiffany Byers '19 is a public relations & peace studies double major. She spends her time on campus working in the Funderburg Library and in the Office of Strategic Communications. Tiffany is studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium during the fall 2018 semester at Vesalius College.