Studying abroad is one of the most exciting things that you can do as a college student. You experience another culture, learn new things, and get to see sites that you never would have before. I personally studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey and it was one of the best experiences of my life. There are certain things that you need to consider when picking a program though. Here are 5 tips from my personal experience.
- Pick a continent. Decide where you would like to go. It could be anywhere in the world. Did you want to explore Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, Australia or Antarctica? Well you could. There are programs everywhere in the world where learning occurs.
- Let your major guide you. See what kind of programs there are. Many are designed for specific majors, whether that be science, art, history, etc… As many programs as there are is how many programs there are. If you’re looking to study it, more than likely somewhere in the world they’re teaching it.
- Will the credits transfer? Figure out how the coursework is going to transfer, BEFORE YOU GO. That’s important. Many American colleges have affiliations with foreign universities and have participated in exchange programs with them for years. This is the best case scenario because the programs are usually pre-approved and all of your classes with count towards your degree. However, at many universities, if you find your own program, you can submit a petition/application as to why it should transfer. Most of the time, if it seems like a good fit the university will accept.
- Budget. You need to figure out a budget. The cost of attending the school may be the same as tuition, but housing, transportation, food etc… are not covered in the costs. I’ve had friends not account for this and have a lousy time. Try to figure out where your staying (many programs have internal housing, but some do not), and how life will be. When picking a program that has to be factored in. Don’t forget, you’re going to be there for months on end.
- Get personal advice. Ask your friends and people you know. Many college students these days do study abroad programs. The prevalence of it is higher these days then ever before. More often than not, the best, truest accounts of the programs are from people who have actually completed the program. Your friends can relate to you better than simple brochures, so ask around. Most people are more than happy to share their stories and their opinions.