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Study Abroad

The Case for Summer Study Abroad

It’s Affordable and Much Better than Nothing

Studying abroad for a year is ideal, but it won’t work for everyone. Growing up, I dreamed of living the glamorous life in Spain. But my fantasy of taking long siestas, eating delicious tapas, and becoming fluent in Spanish seemed to recede once I saw the costs involved with spending a year abroad. It didn’t help to learn that the courses I wanted to take wouldn’t count toward my graduation requirements. That’s when I looked at summer sessions abroad and found they are a great deal in many ways.

  • Because you’re not missing any required courses, summer session classes are perfect for the person on an inflexible academic schedule. You are free to take exciting elective courses you might not otherwise fit into your schedule. I received elective credits in Spanish art and language classes without missing out on my core major classes during the school year.
  • Many summer programs are divided into two 4-week sessions, with one week in between. This free week is a great time to travel. My summer program ended weeks before American classes began, giving me plenty of time to explore before I returned to the States.
  • When it comes to learning a new language, class size matters. Luckily, summer classes usually have fewer students than regular semester courses. Having only three students in my Spanish course meant I had plenty of time for individual instruction.
  • Leaving a loved one is much easier when you know it’s only for a matter of weeks. Shorter sessions are also a good option for returning students who may already have a family and children at home.
  • Summer session courses are cheaper because they are shorter in length, and prices seem even more reasonable when you check out the scholarship and financial aid options available for summer session participants.

Some study abroad advisers told me I’d get more out of my experience if I stayed in Spain for longer than two months. Others said that if cost was the issue I should choose a cheaper country. But in the end everyone agreed that experiencing a new culture for any amount of time was better than not doing it at all. My glamorous life in Spain may have been short lived, but it was great while it lasted.

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