Contact My SSW Intranet

Main menu

Identities Abroad: First-Generation Students & First-Time Travelers

Identities Abroad: First-Generation Students & First-Time Travelers

Whether you are a first-generation student or a first-time traveler, it is natural to feel nervous or apprehensive about pursuing a global social work experience. From family and work commitments to financial and logistical concerns, first-generation and first-time traveler students face a unique set of challenges when considering traveling abroad. However, with the support of those around you and proper planning, first-generation students and first-time travelers can feel better equipped to take their social work practice abroad. The Office of Global Activities is committed to providing support to first-generation students and first-time travelers to make their social work experience abroad as fulfilling as possible.

  • Who is a first-generation college student? A first-generation college student is often classified as a student whose parents or guardians did not complete a four-year degree. This may include students who have siblings in college and students whose parents completed some college or received an associate's degree.
  • Who is a first-time traveler? A first-time traveler is someone who has never traveled outside of their home region before, whether that be domestically or internationally-or perhaps you have traveled internationally before, but never very far or on your own.

Questions to Consider

  • Do I need to apply for a passport or visa? How do I do so?
  • What type of experience best fits my needs and goals?
  • How will I balance preparations for traveling abroad with other commitments, like family and work?
  • Who can I go to for support while preparing to go abroad?
  • Who can I go to for support while abroad?
  • What is my budget for my time abroad?
  • How can I make my experience more affordable? Can I receive any external funding to support my experience?
  • What funding/income do I rely on at home that I may not have access to abroad?
  • What fixed expenses still need to be paid while I am abroad (e.g., rent/mortgage, insurance, cell phone bill, childcare expenses, student loan payments, etc.)?


  • Do your research. Speak with a staff member in the Office of Global Activities or students with similar identities that have previously traveled abroad.
  • Plan ahead. Create a budget and factor in any fixed expenses that will need to be paid while you are abroad.
  • Apply for additional funding. Look into travel grants and scholarships offered through the OGA, SSW, and U-M. Consider applying for national scholarships, too!
  • Identify your support system. Create a plan for how you will maintain contact with your support system back home (whether that be family, friends, mentors, advisors, professors, or OGA staff). Create a support system in-country, too. Know how to reach these people and where they are located.


Contact Us Press escape to close