Studying abroad is one of the most rewarding experiences a college student can have. It's a chance to immerse yourself in a new culture, learn a new language, and meet people from all over the world. It's also a great way to boost your resume and make yourself more competitive in the job market.
If you're a college student thinking about studying abroad, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you need to decide what you want to get out of your study abroad experience. Do you want to learn a new language? Immerse yourself in a new culture? Gain international work experience? Just leave campus for a change of scenery? Once you know what you want, you can start researching different study abroad programs to find the best fit.
There are many different types of study abroad programs available, so you're sure to find one that's right for you. Some programs are offered through your college/university, while others are offered by independent study abroad providers. Programs can vary in length from a few weeks to a full year, while many are one semester-long.
When choosing a study abroad program, be sure to consider the following factors:
- Cost: Studying abroad can be expensive, so it's important to factor in the cost of tuition, housing, food, and transportation. Does your college have scholarships available for these programs?
- Location: Where do you want to study abroad? Consider the country, culture, and language you're interested in.
- Academic focus: What do you want to study while you're abroad? Some programs focus on language learning, while others focus on specific academic disciplines. Many students will choose to do their general education courses rather than anything more complex so they can focus more on the fun of studying abroad, like traveling!
- Program length: How long do you want to study abroad?
Once you've chosen a study abroad program, it's time to start planning your trip. This includes getting a visa, packing your bags, and arranging for housing and transportation. It's also important to do some research on the culture and customs of the country you'll be visiting. Does your college have an office dedicated to handling the logistics of students studying abroad, or are you on your own with planning?
Here are some tips for making the most of your study abroad experience:
- Be open-minded: One of the best things about studying abroad is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. This means trying new things, meeting new people, and being willing to step outside of your comfort zone.
- Get involved: The best way to experience a new culture is to get involved in the local community. This could mean volunteering, joining a club or sports team, or taking language classes.
- Make friends: Studying abroad gives you the unique opportunity to make new friends from all over the world. Make an effort to meet new people and learn about their cultures!
- Take advantage of your surroundings: Studying abroad is a great opportunity to travel and see the world. Take advantage of your free time to explore your host country and experience all that it has to offer.
Here are some additional tips for finding and applying to study abroad programs:
- Start researching programs early. The most popular programs tend to fill up quickly, so it's important to start planning early.
- Talk to your academic advisor. Your advisor can help you find programs that are a good fit for your academic interests and budget.
- Attend study abroad fairs. Study abroad fairs are a great way to learn about different programs and meet with representatives from study abroad providers.
- Read reviews of study abroad programs. There are many websites and online forums where you can read reviews of study abroad programs from other students. Make sure the programs are legitimate and not scams.
- Apply to multiple programs. It's a good idea to apply to several programs to increase your chances of getting accepted.
Once you've been accepted to a study abroad program, be sure to start preparing for your trip as early as possible. This includes getting a visa and passport, packing your bags, and arranging for housing and transportation. You should also start learning about the culture and customs of the country you'll be visiting. Don’t wait until the last minute to get all of your ducks in a row! Being unprepared might cause you to miss out on a portion of your program or find yourself stranded because your visa and passport didn’t arrive in time.
Have fun! Take in all the program has to offer you – you may never get an opportunity like this ever again, so make the most of it!
Senior Class Grads – Have you studied abroad? How was it? Let us know in the comments!