What defines a non-traditional student?
While there is no single characteristic that defines a non-traditional student, the term typically defines students who do not fit the so-called “traditional” mold: 18 to 24 years old, enrolled in a four-year program immediately after high school, living on campus, and supported by their parents.
Non-traditional students may face unique challenges when studying abroad, and we recommend that all non-traditional students reflect on the below:
Points to consider for non-traditional students when studying abroad:
- Time commitments: You might have additional responsibilities such as work and family, so it’s important to consider the time commitment required for studying abroad. Our short-term programs are the perfect middle ground and allow you to experience life abroad in a timeframe that works for your schedule! If you have a job, what are your employer’s expectations while you are abroad? If required, will you be able to respond to email or fulfill other duties while also maintaining course and program requirements? What normal duties and responsibilities do you have during the time you will be traveling, and how will you manage those while you are gone?
- Family considerations: For non-traditional students with a family, it’s important to consider the impact of being away from loved ones and the planning of care for your dependents.
- Adaptability: You may share rooms with people of different ages or people who do not share interests. It is important to remain adaptable and willing to embrace meeting people of different ages and interests. What financial obligations (mobile phone plans, rent, house payment, utilities) can you plan ahead for now? Are there any age restrictions on discounts, tickets, etc., that you should be aware of?
- Support systems: It’s important for non-traditional students to have a strong support system, both at home and abroad, for academic, emotional, and practical support. We recommend reaching out to your phone carriers before the program to ensure you are able to communicate with your family abroad. We also highly recommend downloading WhatsApp for instant messaging while abroad. Think about what steps you can take to connect with other students on the program.
Despite these unique challenges, non-traditional students can still benefit greatly from studying abroad and should not let their responsibilities prevent them from pursuing this opportunity. With careful planning and program consideration, non-traditional students can successfully balance their responsibilities and embrace the many benefits of studying abroad!
For more information on any of these topics feel free to reach out to us via phone (480) 874-0100, on our contact us page, or follow us on Instagram @ibsabroad and send us a direct message! We would be more than happy to chat with you!