You’re about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. Studying abroad is a unique experience that you’ll treasure for the rest of your life, but getting there is tough. Have the best time of your life by following this guide.
Research Study Abroad Programs
There are scores of study abroad programs that all offer different experiences and accommodations, but choosing one may be the most difficult part of the process. Why? Each program has a list of different services they offer and various countries they provide for. Even if you plan to study in a popular city like London or Barcelona, there are still dozens of programs to sift through. Your choice greatly depends on your personal needs and desires.
Many universities offer their own programs, others are reserved for the academic elite, some specialize in certain subjects like the arts and others are run by private companies. Find a program that suits your needs and offers you a unique opportunity that you won’t find anywhere else.
Choose a Country
Choosing a country is the easy part. Depending on the type of person you are and what you want to experience you’ll embark on an incredible journey in the country that suits you best. Many students choose a country based on culture, geography, proximity to transportation and safety. If you want to go on a European tour, you should position yourself in the middle of Europe where you can fly everywhere freely or join a program that hops to different countries.
“Studying abroad has been a rite of passage for adventurous university students around the world for many years. While the draw of new experiences and an exciting social life still appeals, the academic, cultural, and career benefits of studying abroad are now more relevant than ever.
Studying abroad isn’t just for undergrads anymore either. In recent years, the number of graduates looking to study advanced degrees overseas, particularly in the United States, has been on the rise. And in today’s globalized economy, it’s clear why business-focused graduates are especially keen to gain international experience through their studies.” – Hult International Business School
Find a program that suits the experience you want to have. Programs might offer mountain biking trips through Bolivia, wine tours in France, or a trek across the Great Wall of China. The program you choose will influence your experience as much as the country you decide to study in.
Choose How to Finance Your Trip
Financing a study abroad trip can be tough. After all, you might have already buried yourself in a mound of debt to get your degree. Fortunately, there are a variety of options available to guarantee your trip. Most programs offer a scholarship position or payment plan. Other programs, like CEA, have opportunities for grants and ticket vouchers. Some countries require you to have a certain amount in your bank account to earn a visa so plan your budget accordingly. If you need extra cash while you’re there, find jobs for people who work remotely online to boost your bank account.
Obtain a Passport/ Visas
Start the passport and visa process early. Speak to a representative at your program to learn how to obtain your documents. Every country has different strict requirements that determine your eligibility, so don’t wait until the last minute and miss your opportunity. Most importantly, make sure you schedule an appointment with your consulate well ahead of time because your nearest location may be hundreds of miles away.
Become a Student of the World
If you plan to study abroad, you might already know where you want to go. Perhaps you dreamed of visiting Paris when you were small or you want to go on an Indiana Jones adventure in Egypt. You don’t need to have one particular reason to visit a country, but you do need the right attitude. Wherever you choose, you need to be open to what you’re about to experience. Whether you’re in Ireland, Cambodia, Bolivia or Ghana, you’re going to embark on a personal journey.
Studying abroad is a deeply personal experience, and each country will bring you something different. The people you’ll meet, the beautiful things you’ll see and the challenges you’ll face will mold you. At the end of your trip, it’s up to you to draw meaning from experience. Should you choose to become a student of the world you’ll gain more compassion, tolerance, open-mindedness and curiosity upon your return.
Most study abroad alumni will tell you they had a rich experience unlike any other. Follow this guide and you too will have a trip you’ll never forget.