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First Generation

Group of students standing on top of Mayan ruin in MexicoAs a first-generation college student, you may be in a unique position to succeed abroad given your experience as the first person in your family to attend college. You have already navigated an unfamiliar environment and adapted to many aspects of college life.

First-generation college students can face unique challenges when considering education abroad. Some students do not have the financial means to go abroad.  Others may be concerned about the support systems you will have access to while abroad compared to those you have at MSU. And for many students, this may also be the first time you will travel for an extended period of time in a foreign country.

Choosing an education abroad program can sometimes feel overwhelming.  The Office for Education Abroad is here to help support and guide you through the process to make this experience a reality!

There are many benefits to taking part in international education.

  • You can fulfill academic requirements including integrative studies (ISS, IAH, ISB), courses for your major or minor, or electives.
  • Education abroad experiences are also great for resume building.  You can use the soft skills you learn abroad to discuss with prospective employers for both internships and after graduation.

Remember that other cultures may provide challenges different than your own. Be flexible and open to considering different ways of life.

Discuss your plans early on with your family as well as advisers at the Office for Education Abroad or staff in Student Support Services.


The Office for Education Abroad is proud to offer a new scholarship dedicated to first-generation students who study abroad for a semester or more.  The minimum award amount will be $3,000. For more information visit First-Gen Education Abroad Scholarship