Right about now is when most programs for study abroad are accepting applications for the following year, and their deadlines are closing in. You may want to rush and apply for a program or two, or three, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Use this as a checklist for finding the best study abroad program for you:
- Pay attention to deadlines – application, financial aid, or otherwise. Anything, no matter how small, is worth the paperwork.
- Research the area and university where you will be studying.
- Double check that the program is accredited by an institution approved by your college – don’t want to show up after a semester of exams and papers to find out it won’t count towards anything.
- Find out what potential classes count for GE’s or major requirements – killing two proverbial birds with the same stone, classes abroad = classes at home.
- Fully understand expected coursework load. Sure, that class may sound exciting, but you don’t want to take all the tough courses in one go, same as back home. Also look into how the course is assessed.
- Look into housing options and what is expected of you – for instance, finding your own place, a homestay, or temporarily living in dorms.
- Figure out how and when to register for classes.
- When scheduling your flights to and from the country, leave a bit of extra time after papers and exams for travel or relaxing. Plenty of people find friends to travel around with after a program ends or need time to relax and enjoy the city before packing up and flying home.
- Make sure your college knows you are temporarily leaving for that time period – and have all mail forwarded to another address.
- Find out if anyone you know of from the same college has participated in the same program to get some insight on the experience.
- 5 Tips for Making Friends Abroad – Study Abroad Tips (thelifebeyondborders.wordpress.com)
- From Study Abroad Alumni: “What I Wish I Knew Before Studying Abroad” (jacquelinehart.wordpress.com)