Earlier this semester, I was awarded the CIS LEAF Leadership scholarship of $2000 to go abroad and intern anywhere.
(!!!!) big S/O to you Jaci Gandenberger!
Huge deal. I had no idea what I would do this summer because I didn’t apply for the State Department internships or for any energy company internships. Wasn’t that prepared tbh. BUT you can actually avoid not being prepared by networking during the fall–yes networking sucks– and just talking to people about what you want to do and how you have no idea how to do it actually really helps. Surprisingly, so many people are willing to help you and are willing to go certain lengths to get you in contact with the people you need to know. So networking is a big plus, and for anybody at OU, I highly recommend going to the Women’s Business Conference in the fall. I used to be a business major back in the day, aka last semester, but you don’t need to be a business major to get in or for this conference to be helpful. You don’t even need to be a woman I don’t think. So get on out there and m i n g l e ! It’ll be worth it.
Very aware of how annoying that mingle sentence was. Will try not to do that again.
Anyways so I knew very early on that this summer I would “have” to go to Colombia (ISS degree requirements as I mentioned in an earlier post), but I had no idea how I was going to fund said trip when I have to pay for rent, utilities, and food here in Oklahoma. Even with the 2K from the fellowship and the 1.5 K from another fellowship, I still have to cover my plane ticket, my rent here in OK, my travel/food costs whilst in Colombia, and I still need to buy a LOT of presents for the fam both here and there. Not to mention all the coffee I’m going to have to bring back for friends and professors. In this post I really want to just go over a few things for us broke IAS/ISS kweenz out there who need to leave the U.S. and who want to broaden our educational horizons/waistlines with international experiences (aka eating aka inhaling empanadas):
BROKE KWEEN TIP #1: Apply for all the grants. Just apply. OU wants you to leave the nest. Boren wants you to go on that trip, so just apply and you will most definitely get some type of funding. Try and apply through OU’S CASH scholarship site before February 1st but the IAS college has their own scholarships that are due in early to late December. Definitely apply for the LEAF Leadership fellowship because not only can you get two whole thousand dollars but you will also meet some amazing people. Hop on dat!
BROKE KWEEN TIP #2: Make a spreadsheet. Or a spreadshit as my mother likes to say (Colombian accent, wouldn’t really get it til you heard it). Put all of any possible costs on that spreadshit. Make it pretty with colours and summations. You’ll need this later.
BROKE KWEEN TIP #3: If you get a grant or fellowship, apply on the OU Education Abroad for study abroad approval. I didn’t think this was a thing, especially for an internship not through the university. Apparently it is. Get that thing signed and turned in ASAP because it needs to be approved and you don’t want to be waiting 20 days before your trip to Colombia and be told that you have to do that to get your funds. Because that kind of situation is v nerve-wracking and v scary. Listen to Tia Jules. Apply before April.
BROKE KWEEN TIP #4: You’ll need to save some of your own money for this trip. Don’t spend all your extra cash leftover from a low water bill on booze or 3 am Fuzzy’s tacos. Have other people do it for you duh!!! Just kidding but really, don’t spend all your “fun” funds on things that will probably be much cheaper whenever you go abroad or that you can’t get for cheaper elsewhere. For example: pregame the bars with friends or buy 6 lbs. of straight up chicken from Walmart, cut it, freeze it and then make chicken random days of the weekend with some Lawry’s and Ms. Dash and have That as your midnight/5 am snack. There are ways to cut corners but they kind of suck, so know that before you get yourself into this. Set aside a certain amount of money that you make a week and put it in an envelope or transfer it to a separate account. Start saving 6 months before your trip, or earlier if you can. And don’t dip into your savings. Even when you’re on your period and need $6 gelato ice cream and $90 Steve Madden shoes from Amazon. Don’t Do It Mami.
BROKE KWEEN TIP #5: STAY AWAY FROM AMAZON.COM DURING YOUR SAVING SEMESTER. IT’S A DARK ABYSS OF ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES AND CHEAP TECH STUFF & CHEAPER BRALETTES THAT YOU DON’T NEED BUT WANT.
Being real though, you can actually get a lot of cheap stuff for your trip online BUT go in with a set idea of what you want and don’t drink any wine before. You will have $100 less to spend on your trip and have a box with an American Apparel bodysuit and complimenting 2-inch neon orange converse platforms at your door three days later.
BROKE KWEEN TIP #6: Wherever you go, try and find a friend of a friend or family or family of a friend to stay with. This might be very obvious but for longer trips, not as many people think of this as an option. You can not have to pay for rent just because you’re foreign! Now obviously it depends where you’re going but in Latin America, you can stay at peoples’ houses for free or for a very small cost and they will feed you because you’re a friend of the family or a friend of a family friend (you don’t need to be best friends for them to treat you like family). For my ladies out there, this may be a possible security issue, so definitely get to know whomever you stay with before you go. That might be a bit hard but just try your best to get as much info on the person/location and make sure to relay that information to your family back home. My fellow internship buddy Carey is as gringo as they get and he is going to Colombia with v little knowledge of Spanish. Carey is also on a budget. He reached out to his Colombian friend and me, and now gets to stay 4 months in Bogota for very very little (I think around $100) because he is staying with family friends of ours. Ergo there are ways to go abroad and not have to spend that much on housing, but be careful and be sure to bring gifts for those who host you!
BROKE KWEEN TIP #7: Figure out how much you’re going to need to spend on vaccinations. I apparently have to spend 200 freaking DOLLARZ on a Yellow Fever vaccination.
OK I spread as much knowledge as I can rn. This was basically an international event because I spent so much time (6 months) figuring this out.