Study Abroad 101: Tips for Making a Good Decision
“Study abroad is like spring training for this century. It helps you develop the fundamentals, the teamwork, and the determination to succeed.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Most American students think there is only one place to attend college – the United States. However, many other countries offer educational opportunities and degrees that are appealing to American students. Not only do you get the knowledge gleaned from your coursework, but you also get a broader perspective of the world. It might also give you an edge in the job market, showing you are adaptable. Employers are increasingly looking for people who have international experience and language skills.
Whether you are considering a ‘termed’ study abroad experience or a degree program there are some things you should consider before signing on.
- Begin planning well in advance – 12-18 months.
- Examine your objectives. What is important to you? Language, locale, cultural experiences?
- Research possible countries and courses.
- Check whether the institution and the qualification you’ll get are recognized at home.
- Think about practical issues, such as visas and course entrance requirements (for example, some universities might ask you to take a language test).
- Consider health and safety issues and understand what insurance coverage you will need.
- Determine how you’ll fund your studies. There are scholarships and grants available. Two good places to start are: UNESCO or NAFSA
- Check out: The UNESCO ‘Study Abroad’ guide which includes a database of around 2,900 courses and scholarships available world-wide.
- Check the school’s credentials. Use the enic-naric.net website to check whether a university you’re interested in is recognized in its home country. Be sure to also check that the credential is recognized in your home country too.
- Think about what you will do when you return from abroad.
Other resources to check:
- The Center for Global Education
- Students Abroad (The Center for Global Education)
- Online Cultural Training Resource for Study Abroad