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Mentor Advice

Question

What should I consider when deciding where to study abroad?

8 Replies from Mentors

  • mentor picture Peter
     
    Peter
    Junior Year Student
    Fairfield University
    I think you should do extensive research and then decide which program seems the most interesting...
    I think you should do extensive research and then decide which program seems the most interesting to you as well as works with your courses.
  • mentor picture Rae Rae
     
    Rae Rae
    Senior Year Student
    Loyola Marymount University
    Honestly, you should look at what the program offers and whether it will be helpful to what you...
    Honestly, you should look at what the program offers and whether it will be helpful to what you want to achieve or not. I don’t think you should go to a program abroad that offers no classes relevant to your major, and you shouldn’t go to a country that you have no interest in. The institution at which you are studying should be of extreme importance as well. In my time abroad in London I went to an American school, which I deeply regret because I wanted to meet British people and learn of their experiences. Although I did make British friends, I had to go out of my way to do so and I know some kids on my program did not interact with many British people at all. Cost should be a factor as well. Due to exchange rates, traveling anywhere in Europe will be much more expensive than going to places in Latin America, or Africa. I don’t think cost should be the determining factor –if you have your heart set on going to Paris you should do so, just take the appropriate steps to ensure that you are well prepared. Whether the program places you in a host family or provides food/housing is also important, and where the schooling and housing facilities are located should matter. Basically you should apply the same principles you used when deciding what college you wanted to go, where you wanted to live or any other important decision. Ask yourself “Is this program beneficial to me, in an environment where I can feel safe, in a good location near activities I enjoy, etc…”
  • mentor picture LaNitra Berger
     
    LaNitra Berger
    Senior Manager of Research and Policy
    NAFEO
    The most important questions to ask are: How does this experience fit into my academic and...
    The 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.
  • mentor picture Kenya Casey
     
    Kenya Casey
    Study Abroad Advisor
    Emory University
    Select a program based on the location and course offerings. More so now than in the past,...
    Select 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.
  • mentor picture Irene
     
    Irene
    Junior Year Film Production Major
    Loyola Marymount University
    This is something that is very important to consider before turning in your application. My advice...
    This is something that is very important to consider before turning in your application. My advice would be to sit down with one of the counselors in the study abroad office and let them offer you advice depending on your major and interests. If there is program that is specifically for students with your major, but it is not a country you are particularly interested in, do more research. You may find that this country has so much more to offer than you thought.
  • mentor picture Tony Laing
     
    Tony Laing
    Ph.D. Candidate at Education Policy Studies and AFRO Studies
    University of Illinois – Urbana, Champaign
    Before choosing where to study, it’s important to decide between participating on a...
    Before 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.
  • mentor picture Priscilla
     
    Priscilla
    Graduate Student
    University of California at Berkeley
    It is most helpful to reflect on your major and which country would be most appropriate based on...
    It is most helpful to reflect on your major and which country would be most appropriate based on that. I was studying German literature and language when I decided to go abroad, so I could have chosen Germany, Austria or Switzerland. I decided to go to Germany, because I was intrigued by the history and the culture of Berlin, its capital city. The most important thing to keep in mind is that while some destinations may be more attractive or popular than others, it is best to contemplate what kind of opportunities are available to you in different countries and how they can help to advance your studies. In the end, no matter where you decide to study abroad, it will definitely be an irreplaceable experience.
  • mentor picture Anthony Yuen
     
    Anthony Yuen
    Outreach, Communications & Marketing
    Summer Sessions, Study Abroad & Lifelong Learning
    When deciding where to study abroad, think about how the program and location fits in with...
    When 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?

 
 
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