Year, Semester or Summer Abroad?
Decide How Long You Should Study Abroad
Want to spend a semester abroad but think that might be too short?
Are you leaning toward a year abroad but think that might be too long?
The length of the program you choose should depend on your study abroad goals, including whether you want to become fluent in a foreign language or simply visit the major tourist destinations.
The most common options:
- Academic Year Abroad
- Semester Abroad
- Summer Abroad
Academic Year Abroad
You will have the best chance of becoming fluent in a foreign language if you spend an academic year abroad. The more time you spend around native speakers, the better your accent and vocabulary will become.
This also will give you time to experience different seasons and holidays in a foreign country. You will be able to immerse yourself in the culture and become a “resident” of your host city.
During an academic year abroad, you also may have time to travel to other cities (or even other countries) during school breaks and weekends.
A semester abroad will give you time to practice a new language and learn more about a different culture. In addition, a semester abroad probably won’t mean delaying your graduation if you plan ahead for your academic studies abroad.
When it’s time to return home, however, you may find that a semester is too short if you are just starting to feel like a member of your host country.
Want to get a taste of a new country without missing major holidays or spending a lot of time away from friends and family?
A summer abroad might be for you.
A summer abroad also may be a good option if you have a large number of requirements for your college major that you can’t complete in another country.
Remember: When you spend a short amount of time in a foreign country, you are more likely to experience it as a tourist instead of a resident. The focus on a summer abroad may be on seeing major attractions rather than practicing your language skills.
The amount of time you spend in another country can affect your graduation date, your foreign language fluency and your finances.
What do you want to accomplish when you study abroad? The answer will help you determine if you should spend an academic year, summer or semester abroad.
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