Student to Student
Planning for Study Abroad
Because study abroad is one of the most important investments you can make, consider your options. Start with a list of questions (like the ones below) and then discuss them with your study abroad program coordinator.
By Gloria J. Bennett
What do I hope to achieve from studying abroad?
- How will I be able to use what I learn through the study abroad experience?
- Will the experience satisfy more than just my longing for adventure?
- Will I be able to use this experience to further my immediate educational goals?
- Will the experience further my knowledge of the people and their culture?
- Will it help me improve my language skills?
What are my choices for classes? While some programs may be more academically challenging than others, they may look better on your transcript and help you graduate sooner. Make sure your study schedule leaves ample time for getting out and experiencing the people and the culture firsthand.
Will there be opportunities for travel? With some programs, you will arrive at your destination and begin classes immediately. But other programs include extensive travel—or time for travel—as part of the program.
What have others thought about this program? While everyone has different goals and expectations, it is wise to contact students who have participated in the program you are considering. They can tell you what did or didn't work and offer suggestions for things they wish they had done differently.
Will I be staying with a host family or in a dormitory? Staying in a dormitory may offer more privacy and may be more convenient for getting to classes, but living with a host family on a day-to-day basis is one of the best ways to truly get to know the people and culture. Most host families also provide extra services, like meals and laundry, at no extra cost. It's a wonderful opportunity to make friends for life.
What is the total price of the program? While trying to decide which program is most economical, don't simply pick the one with the lowest price. Find out what will be covered by your fees. If tuition and books are not included, this could add several hundred dollars to the advertised price.
What should I take with me? It is important to pack light. Make a list of items that you consider essential. Then mark off the ones that you know you can obtain once you arrive at your destination. By packing light, you will also be able to bring back more souvenirs.