Is Studying Abroad Right for You?
Studying abroad can be an important, life-altering decision, and many factors must be assessed before deciding to study abroad. With planning and preparation, there’s no reason you can’t make studying abroad happen!
Academics While Studying Abroad
A major factor to consider before applying to study abroad is whether you can take time away from your studies at home and still complete your degree requirements on time.
If you choose the right study abroad program you will not need additional time to earn your degree. A safe practice is to factor out any study abroad programs that won’t transfer academic credits toward the completion of your degree.
You will need to make sure that the academic departments at your school will approve the courses you take abroad. In most cases, the academic advisers or Office of International Programs will be able to help you with this.
Social Life While Studying Abroad
Part of the reason for studying abroad is to experience another culture and society. The best way to do this is to have a social life outside of the classroom. You will have to devote a considerable amount of time to your academic studies abroad, but you’ll also want to create free time to enjoy student life abroad.
In many cases, host schools will hold social events for foreign students, allow foreign students to join clubs and other organizations, or provide access to local cultural events. All of these are great ways to jumpstart your social life.
The language you will probably be studying abroad is another tool that will enhance your social life. Even if you’re not fluent, you can practice the language by experiencing everyday life where you are studying abroad. This is an ideal opportunity to increase your knowledge and understanding of the language and culture.
Studying Abroad & Finances
The first thing you’ll want to do is check with your home school about funding your study abroad program. Whether your home school is a private or a state school will be an important factor in determining your costs. In many cases, different policies apply to different programs. Familiarize yourself with your school’s policies at an early stage of the process.
Many state schools operate their own programs at foreign universities. This usually allows students to pay the in-state tuition rate when studying abroad.
If your college doesn’t have an arrangement with a foreign university where you want to study abroad, the college should have a list of subsidized programs and their costs. Keep in mind that tuition will not be the only cost. You’ll also need to factor in transportation, daily living and possibly room and board if it’s not included in the tuition.
Private schools also have affiliate programs at foreign universities. If you attend a private school, find out if your school charges a different amount for studying abroad. The cost could be more or less expensive than your current tuition depending on the program and course of study.
If your school doesn’t have an affiliate program, contact your school’s Office of International Programs for more assistance.
Choosing to study abroad is an important academic decision. Consider your options carefully before you decide that studying abroad is right for you!
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