8 Replies from Mentors
LaNitra BergerSenior Manager of Research and PolicyNAFEOThe most important questions to ask are: How does this experience fit into my academic and career goals? And, what kind of preparation will I need to do to have a successful experience? If you already speak French, for example, it might be easier to consider studying in a French-speaking country. Or, if you know you’re interested in international development, a program in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Africa may help you secure a job in this field after graduation. I studied art history in college, so I decided that Paris would be the best place to study abroad if I wanted to be immersed in the art world. Because I had already studied French in high school and college, Paris was a natural place to improve my language skills as well.
Kenya CaseyStudy Abroad AdvisorEmory UniversitySelect a program based on the location and course offerings. More so now than in the past, students are studying abroad, therefore you want to choose a program that has some added value. For example, ask if internships are available or if there are volunteer opportunities. Sometimes if a student is having a hard time selecting a program I encourage him/her to do a “pros and cons” list of the programs that he/she is interested in. It’s important to consider the following: cost, language requirements, academics, living arrangements, location, travel, sports/extracurricular activities, research and service opportunities.
Tony LaingPh.D. Candidate at Education Policy Studies and AFRO StudiesUniversity of Illinois – Urbana, ChampaignBefore choosing where to study, it’s important to decide between participating on a University sponsored program, third-party provider program or enrolling directly as a visiting student. Most University sponsored programs have a program director to assist exchange/visiting students with registration, transcript requests, and housing options. Third-party provider programs might be a little expensive overall, but will most likely include various in-country excursions, housing accommodations and/or an in-country program director. The third option to consider is direct enrollment, which is recommended only for the most autonomous students. After deciding between all three types of program options, it’s important to then review all costs associated with each. After gathering this information, the ultimate study destination should be one that takes into account the student’s personal interest, review of course offerings, political stability of the host country, and background knowledge of the country’s history, customs and norms.
Anthony YuenOutreach, Communications & MarketingSummer Sessions, Study Abroad & Lifelong LearningWhen deciding where to study abroad, think about how the program and location fits in with your goals. Why do you want to study abroad in that area? To learn a language? Do an internship? Take courses you can't take at your home institution?
Some students are drawn to enriching their personal lives through experiencing cultures abroad. Are you interested in returning to "the homeland" to explore the culture(s) of your heritage(s)? Or do you wish to tread off somewhere new?
Finally, consider the type of study abroad experience you wish to have--do you want to be in close contact with host country students? Or do you prefer living and studying with other Americans? Do you see yourself living abroad for a whole year? Or just for three weeks in the summer?