Want to Study Abroad? Here are Some Tips
Thinking of studying abroad? These simple tips will help you get the most out of your experience.
Decide on a Program
Generally, U.S. students study abroad in one of two ways: either by studying through an American university with a campus or exchange agreement with an institution in a foreign country. You can also choose to study directly through a host institution in the country of their choice. You can use one of many online resources to find study abroad opportunities.Before you decide which route to take, decide what type of degree you want, and what your future education plans are. If you only have an interest in studying abroad for a semester or two, it’s almost always best to study through an American exchange program. Most top schools (Kings College and Metropolitan University, both in London, are two great examples) offer established exchange programs through U.S. institutions.
Mark Your Calendar
Particularly if you’re applying to a program directly through your host country, it’s important to take careful note of all important dates, as early as possible. For example, in some study programs in London the academic calendar roughly mirrors that in the United States, academic calendars in places like Berlin and Amsterdam can vary widely, and bear little resemblance to what you’re probably used to.
Resist the Urge to Insulate
Let’s face it – Americans and American culture are everywhere. It’s hard to find a corner of the globe where you can’t get a Big Mac. When you’re studying in a new country where you might not be able to read the menu (much less order), the temptation can be strong to opt for familiar options and safe choices. As much as possible, resist the urge. Visit local restaurants, watch local television, and don’t pack too many American “comfort” items like ketchup or Coke.The natural temptation to insulate can extend beyond food and TV, and can affect the relationships you make while you’re away. Study abroad programs are rife with stories of students who have come back from length visits to other countries only having made friends from their original country! Especially if you do your study abroad through an American institution, you will likely be surrounded by other students from your geographical and cultural background – do whatever you can to break the bubble. Particularly if you’re studying in a city like London, where the native language is English, make an effort to engage and interact with locals and native students.
Have you ever participated in a study abroad program? What tips do you have?