Double-majoring in Public Relations and Instrumental Performance, junior Marrian Zhou knew her creativity had reached a peaking point. She stated, “I needed something fresh, perhaps a distinctive experience to break through that ceiling. I always wanted to visit Europe. I was drawn by the historical and cultural charms.”
How she got there was through the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) at Cal State LA. Previously, she studied in Rome and used AIFS as her exchange program.
Rome, Paris, Greece, and China are only but a few places that AIFS offers to students. They allow students to study for either a quarter or year through the Exchange Program, which allows students from those given countries to come here in return.
To apply, students should make plans one year ahead. You should start in the fall quarter of the year before you planned your trip to make an appointment with a study abroad advisor. After, visit an academic advisor to sign off on course substitutions for your major/minor academic agreement. Lastly, apply for loans, grants, and scholarships to finance your trip.
Students should request references from professors and, of course, apply online. Depending on the desired country, deadlines for CSULA Exchange Program are in typically in March, August, and October. Deadlines for the AIFS Fall 2015 programs are usually in April/May, again depending on the location.
Kelle Fleming who serves as a Study Abroad Peer Counselor says AIFS is like “booking with a travel agent; they do all the work for you. The meal plans, excursions, housing-home stay or dorm are included in your study abroad fees, so there is no hassle searching for living.”
AIFS offers its own scholarships that Cal State L.A. students can receive once they’ve applied and receive automatically. Cal state L.A. has an affiliate grant available, so students automatically get $400 off a semester and $200 off a summer.
If you want to study abroad, it is better to prepare ahead rather than wait! For more information about studying abroad go to www.aifsabroad.com or make an appointment with Jennifer Amaya, Study Abroad Advisor or Kelle Flaming, Study Abroad Peer