THE TOP 10 THINGS STUDENTS & PARENTS NEED
TO KNOW ABOUT STUDYING ABROAD
Choosing the right study abroad program for you is more complex than it might initially appear. There are small programs, large programs, inexpensive programs, expensive programs, programs that only include tuition and housing, programs that are all-inclusive, and the list goes on. You will need to carefully sort through all of the options to decide which program best fits your needs. If you are interested in studying abroad you are clearly looking for an amazing international experience. You want to be sure, however, that the study abroad program you choose will give you the experience you’re wanting.
We’ve been helping students study abroad for 13 years, so we are professionals when it comes to knowing what differentiates a good experience from a great experience. We truly want all of our students to have an amazing experience and that’s why we are giving you all of the tools you need to have an amazing experience.
With that in mind, here are the top 10 things students and parents should know about studying abroad…
#1: CHOOSING THE RIGHT COUNTRY
This is one of your biggest decisions, because there are so many wonderful places to choose from! Remember though that even a great country may not be the right country for you.
For instance, if you want to learn Spanish, you can go to Europe, Central America, or South America. All three areas are very different, so do your research to see which area appeals to you most. Do you want a South American experience or is Europe more your style? These are things are you need to think about.
Also, think about what kind of experience you are looking for. Are you looking for a country that will have all of the comforts of home, or do you really want to get out of your comfort zone?
#2: CHOOSING THE RIGHT CITY.
Ok, so you’ve decided that you want to go to Spain. Do you want a small city with tons of college students like Salamanca or a large city on the beach like Barcelona?
If you hate crowds and taking public transportation, then Salamanca would be a better choice for you. If you love the buzz and non-stop action that a city has to offer, then Barcelona might be a better bet.
Remember that this is your study abroad trip and you need to pick the city that best meets your needs.
#3: DO YOU WANT A CITY WITH A LOT OF AMERICANS OR VERY FEW AMERICANS?
Cities such as London, Paris, and Florence are incredibly popular with American study abroad students. So if want to go to one of those places and are excited about being around other Americans, then you’re all set.
However, if you want a place that won’t have a lot of Americans, you might consider Oxford, Aix-en-Provence, or Siena.
It’s all about making the study abroad trip you want.
#4: WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO ABROAD?
Some students go abroad to become fluent in a second language.
Some students go abroad because they want to live in the country where their grandparents or great grandparents lived.
And some students go abroad simply because they want to experience a new culture.
All of these are valid reasons to study abroad, but think about why you want to go so that you can pick the city and country that’s right for you.
#5: HOW WILL I PAY FOR THE PROGRAM?
First, talk with your parents about your plans and see if they can help you pay for the program.
Second, if you receive any financial aid, speak with your financial aid office to see if you can use any of your aid to study abroad.
In many cases studying abroad is actually less expensive than studying in the U.S., so look at all the numbers before you assume you can’t afford it.
#6: DO YOU WANT A SMALL PROGRAM OR A LARGE PROGRAM?
Some study abroad programs, such as ASA, keep their programs small (usually around 20-25 students), while other programs have 150+ students on their program.
Think about whether you want to be in a large group where there might not be a lot of support or in a small group where you will make a great group of friends and get the attention you deserve from the on-site staff.
Make sure your decision is based on your ideal study abroad trip.
#7: HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO GO ABROAD FOR?
Some students have never been abroad before and are only comfortable going for a one-month summer program.
Other students are eager to see the world and want to do a full academic year.
Think about how long you want to go abroad for and how long your major allows you to be abroad.
#8: WILL YOUR COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY ACCEPT THE CREDITS YOU EARN ABROAD?
In the clear majority of cases the answer is yes, but you have to speak with your study abroad office to see what steps you need to take to get pre-approval for your credits to transfer.
This is absolutely crucial!
#9: DO YOU ONLY WANT TO TAKE CLASSES IN ENGLISH OR ARE YOU COMFORTABLE TAKING THEM IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE?
ASA offers courses in English at every site, but many of our students want courses offered in another language, which is also offered.
Check with your language professor to see if they think you are ready to take classes in another language.
#10: DO YOU NEED TO TAKE CLASSES FOR YOUR MAJOR?
Check with your academic advisor to see whether you can just take electives while you’re abroad or whether you’ll also need to take classes for your major.
If you need classes for your major, that may limit the places where you can study.
The Next Step…
Our experienced staff is always ready to answer any question that you may have, so don’t hesitate to call us toll-free at (888) 845-4272 so we can help you decide if ASA is right for you.
Academic Studies Abroad