It’s never too early to start thinking about whether or not you want to devote some of your time in college to studying abroad. The Study Abroad experience can be one of the most rewarding things that you will participate in during your time in school. From learning a new culture, getting a new worldview, and even possibly learning a new language, study abroad is often a life altering experience. Before you make a decision about whether you should go abroad and where you want to go, its important to take a few things into consideration as you contemplate.
Money – Studying abroad is not cheap. While in theory basic program fees are often about the same price as a semester at your normal college or university, you will also need to factor in exchange rates, the cost of travelling to your host country, living expenses, and whether you will want to do any leisure travel to neighboring countries to broaden your experience. Thinking ahead about the cost however can be helpful because there are often scholarships and grants that can help cover some of these costs. Do the research and apply early for financial aid and study abroad may not be as unaffordable as you originally thought.
Where to Study – With so many different study abroad programs available to students, it can be difficult to choose a program. But much like choosing a college, you should look to see the reputation of the schools that you’re considering. Do they have the kind of classes that you’re interested in taking? Do you want to visit a country that speaks English or are you interested in being immersed in new language. Are you comfortable in a culture that is very different than yours or should you look at countries that have more Western sensibilities.
How Do You Want To Live? – Another important thing to consider is whether you want to live abroad in a dorm style situation, live like the locals or whether you’d like to live with a family from your host country. Each option has its own unique appeal, but be sure to consider that as you’re looking at programs as well.
Part Of The World – One final thing to consider is the fact that you will likely want to travel to some of the neighboring countries of your host country. What part of the world have you really wanted to explore. Make a list ahead of time so that you can plan to see a good sampling of the globe while you’re abroad.