University is about new experiences, and studying abroad is certainly one of the best. With so many programs and countries to choose from, finding the right one can be a little intimidating.
Cover the Basics
These factors play critical roles in your experience. They have the most effect on how much you can do, how comfortable you’ll be and how long you’ll be there.
More freedom in your budget means more freedom to go out and afford activities. Plus, you won’t have money stress to bring you down.
For a trip packed with sightseeing and a dash of culture, choose a programme that lasts only a few weeks. For total immersion or proficiency in a foreign language, stay for at least a semester.
Of course, you can still take English courses in a non-English speaking country, but it doesn’t hurt to pick up some phrases while you’re there.
Look for Personal Appeal
These factors are secondary to your decision, but equally important. They’re the things that make you want to hop on a plane right away.
Having a passion for the culture allows you to get the most out of your stay. If possible, choose a country that engages your mind. Would you call that place your academic honeymoon spot? If you answered yes, you’re on the right track.
Discovering an atypical place means exploring corners of the world that few students have, and opening doors to unlikely connections and untold stories.
Think About Potential in the Area
If you’re thinking about future plans in your new home – jobs, a second degree, more traveling – then consider these factors when choosing your location.
Leading education systems are in South Korea and Japan. Singapore, Finland and Sweden are some of the the best places to run a business. Whatever your professional goals, it’s good to know where to pursue them.
Choosing a study-abroad program also means doing lots of research.
Start by attending study-abroad fairs and symposiums. Reach out to past participants, faculty and program representatives. Above all, know exactly what the program entails including cost, credits, requirements, housing and transportation.
It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it to make your travel dreams a reality.
Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer, blogger, and aspiring world traveller. Sarah is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site on which she shares advice for young professionals navigating college and the work world. For more on all things career – with occasional travel musings – follow her @SarahLandrum