Traveling is an incredible way to expand your scope of thinking. As students, isn’t that our main goal? Sure, we are in class to learn how to do this or that. But we’re at school in general to learn critical thinking and to grow into the responsibilities of the world.
Vacations are a fun way to experience something different, but the expense hardly seems worth it on a college budget. Studying abroad can also be very expensive. However the benefits of studying and living abroad are hard to ignore. It’s an integrative experience that combines conventional studying with infinite hands-on learning possibilities.
It all sounds very glamorous and exotic. When you hear friends telling stories of their foreign exploits, it’s hard to not want to share in the adventure. But studying abroad with purpose takes careful research and planning. It should not be taken lightly. Your school will likely have a variety of programs available. The study abroad office (or whatever resource center your campus has) is a great place to start skimming through brochures and pamphlets.
There are different types of study abroad programs. Some schools have opportunities to take classes abroad with professors from your university back home. These programs will generally cut out a lot of the paperwork because the credits from those classes will easier transfer and translate to requirements in your major. Most programs, however, use third-party schools or organizations. That means your classes abroad will have to be equitable with classes your university offers in order to transfer and fulfill graduation requirements. Meeting with advisors frequently while planning your adventure will help ensure that the class credits will transfer.
Summer programs are a shorter and usually cheaper option. Summer is also a convenient time to travel because you don’t have other classes you should be taking. Research into what classes are offered abroad and talks with advisors help with smooth planning.
It takes some work to find the program that best fits, but studying abroad is an incredible experience. Efforts are awarded generously.