Helpful tips on studying abroad

How, where, and when to study


Photo by: Ruslik

Studying in a foreign country is an experience that will change you, no matter what. In addition to the educational value, it’s a way to venture outside of your comfort zone, and embrace your adventurous side. Whether or not you are familiar with the place you intend to study, the experience will be brand-new.

WHERE: Choosing the right country for you: most students choose to study in a country where the people speak a language they are learning in college already. It is well known that the most thorough and efficient way to become fluent in a language is to immerse yourself in a place where everyone around you speaks the language. Try to pick a country rich with heritage — a place where you can absorb all of the customs and traditions of the culture. Do some research about the country before traveling. Learning about the people and how they live will help prepare you for what to expect. It couldn’t hurt to read up about the environment and some of the tourist attractions, either.

Photo by: Rich_Lem

HOW: Understanding your options: there are many different options and programs available at most colleges. One option is to partake in an exchange program during the fall or spring semester. It is also usually possible to choose a shorter program, like a summer study abroad session. Whether you plan to take general education classes or something more specific to your major, the credits will count in the progression of your graduation. In addition, financial aid is usually available. Think of it as a personal journey with extra benefits. Once you’ve decided on the program of your choice, the next step is the application process. Meet with a college advisor to help you get started.

Photo by: ifijay
WHEN: Picking the right time to study: if you’re studying in a colder environment than you’re used to, studying in the spring or summer is an easy solution. The same principle goes for studying in a warmer place than you’re accustomed to (studying in the fall). Packing the appropriate gear is very important. Anticipate any type of weather variation, because the place you’re going to is foreign to you- and pack your clothing accordingly.

THINGS TO REMEMBER: Don’t forget about other potential differences in the country you plan to study in. For example, it’s entirely possible that some of your electronic possessions may not work. Be sure to bring an adapter for your laptop just to be safe. Also, make sure to keep your wits about you when venturing into an unknown area. Always keep your money in a safe and secure place. Wearing a fanny pack isn’t always the smartest idea, because it could be a dead giveaway that you are a tourist and not a local. A small bag that can be tied around your neck and kept relatively out of sight is much safer.

Feel free to post comment about your abroad experience. 



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One Comment

  1. GN Netcom
    August 31, 2011

    So will you come and move everything out of my dorm? Please let me know I am at SSU in Nor Cal.

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