Study abroad opportunities are a special enrichment experience offered by many colleges. Study abroad can take on several forms:
- Taking a course that involves a trip abroad during a semester break
- Spending a semester studying at a college in another country
- Exchanging places with another student from another school
Study abroad can be an amazing experience that gives students an international perspective which can be valuable for almost any future career. Getting ready to study abroad can be intimidating. Most campuses have an international studies office that can help students navigate through the preparation for a study abroad experience. Outlined below are some typical questions students might have about study abroad.
- Question: Do students need to speak the language of the country where they study abroad?
- Answer: Not necessarily. Some international universities have special courses taught in English. But students will need to have enough facility with the language of the country to get along with everyday activities.
- Question: Will the courses students take at the international university transfer to their school?
- Answer: Your student and his/her advisor will need to work this out in advance. But the transferability of courses should not be the main concern. Students should use the study abroad program as a cultural experience. Taking one-two general electives should be enough. They should focus the rest of their courses on the cultural aspects of study abroad (e.g. history, literature, arts of the country)
- Question: What will this cost?
- Answer: Most universities have reciprocal arrangements with international universities where students pay the same tuition as they would pay at their home school. You will have travel costs and living costs.
- Question: Can students get scholarships for study abroad?
- Answer: Yes, there are scholarships. Some universities have their own scholarships. There are also national programs available. Check out studyabroad.com/scholarships.aspx
- Question; How long does the study abroad last?
- Answer: Generally, one semester but students may choose to do this another time.
- Question: What happens to a student’s scholarships?
- Answer: Most scholarships can be deferred or students can use their scholarships for study abroad.
Above are the most common questions students have concerning study abroad. Students will need to check out local arrangements on their campus to make specific plans. In almost all cases, if students have a serious interest in study abroad they can make it happen.
Obviously you’ll want to discuss the financial arrangements with your student. Ask your student to pay for a part of the experience. This will help you determine how serious of an interest he/she has in studying abroad.
Also you’ll want to check out risk factors such as:
- Medical precautions (shots, health insurance coverage)
- Safety precautions (attitudes toward U.S. students)
- National stability (how secure is the political climate)