With the increased emphasis on globalization in recent years, it makes sense to get an international education. This is probably why the option to study abroad is growing in popularity among college students.
But if you’re a high school student looking towards your future, your choices for getting an international education don’t end there. You can also study abroad for as little as one summer vacation or as long as an entire undergraduate career.
Take a look at all the options you have when it comes to studying in another country during college to determine which one is the best one for you.
Study Abroad for a Semester or Year
It’s common for students to study abroad for one or two semesters of college. A few different factors should come into play before you decide how long you will be overseas at school.
If you’re not a seasoned traveler, you might want to start by going abroad for just a semester. This is long enough for you to experience another culture — and possibly another language — and say you’ve lived outside your country.
At the same time, it’s short enough to help you avoid or at least manage any feelings of homesickness. Plus, if you have limited money and can’t get any financial aid to help your international education as you study abroad, a semester may be right for you.
But if you can afford it, a whole year abroad may be even better. This is especially the case if you want to become fluent in another language or truly immerse yourself in another culture.
Where ever you decide to go to college will undoubtedly offer a few study abroad programs directly through the school itself. However, if you are looking to study abroad in a country that is not offered by your school, you can seek admission to an outside program.
Just make sure you will get credit for the classes you take when you study abroad. Otherwise, you may be behind academically when you get back home. Talk to your school’s study abroad office for help in determining exactly what your options are and what sort of scholarships may be available to you.
Study Abroad During School Breaks
Not every student can afford to study abroad for months at a time. If you’re low on time or money, you might be wondering if you can get an international education at all.
Fortunately, there are summer study abroad programs that might work for you. These usually last anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. Since they take less time, they’re often more affordable. And when you go during summer break, you’re not missing any classes, which is ideal in case your study abroad credits do not transfer or you need very specific courses to complete your major.
If it turns out you have to attend summer school in the US, or maybe you’ll simply be spending the summer working, you can opt for a study abroad experience during winter break instead. These programs usually last a few weeks, which should give you enough time abroad to get a feel for the country you visit.
Graduate from College Abroad
For many students who study abroad, even a year overseas ends up feeling too short, so they return to the same country for the duration of college. Others know even in high school that they want to study in a particular country, so they go to school abroad from freshman to senior year.
There are a few advantages of attending college abroad. One is that it may be less expensive than attending college in the US, depending on the country and college you choose. Some countries, like Germany, have eliminated tuition costs all together, while others offer it at a greatly reduced rate, especially when compared to American colleges and universities.
Be sure to compare the tuition to the amount you’d pay for college in the US to determine if studying abroad offers a financial advantage. And don’t forget to explore scholarship and financial aid options for both schools in the US and abroad.
Another way you could save while earning your degree abroad is through shorter programs. Many universities abroad, such as those in the UK, only last for three years, allowing you to graduate one to two years sooner than you might in the US. This saves you not just time, but also money.
And along the way you might become fluent in a different language, which can bolster your resume and help your job search once you graduate!
If you’re interested in an international education, there are tons of options available to you from summer school and semesters abroad, to earning your entire undergraduate in a foreign country. Consider exactly what is it you want out of your time abroad to decide which option is the right you for you.