A Different Kind of Study Abroad

A year ago, I decided I wanted to study abroad, so I started looking in to my options. First of all I felt very overwhelmed. For months I delved through different kinds of programs, varying in length, cost, and location.

study abroad

Jurassic Coast in Devon, England

I only had a few requirements:

  • the class would count for credit
  • a summer program
  • meals included
  • interaction with non-Americans

Everywhere I looked, I felt like I would be compromising on one of the above. Instead of looking at programs through my school, or the big companies that run study abroad, I looked in to “International Summer Schools.” These programs were run by each university individually, and invited students from around the world to participate.

Study Abroad via International Summer Schools

I found the perfect fit at the University of Exeter International Summer School in England. The program was for three weeks in the summer (including a long weekend in London), two day trips, and time to explore in between classes.

I loved that we were able to have transportation provided and also have freedom to explore on our own. I also loved meeting people from all over the world. Every continent except Antarctica was represented. Everyone I met was so friendly and open, which was great since most of us didn’t know anyone going in.

Some people might find it scary to study abroad not knowing anyone, but I loved it. No one from my home school was even going, so I was forced to get outside my comfort zone and get to know people.

My class on international business was made more relevant by the international perspective of my peers. I felt like I had such a worthwhile experience because every aspect of the trip allowed me to learn new things.

[SEE ALSO: Smart College Visit Study Abroad Resource Page]

I believe that studying abroad is one of the best things you can do to enhance your college experience. It can be expensive, but the experience can give you skills and a perspective that does not just come from a classroom. While my experience was different than what a majority of my friends have done, I feel confident in my decision, and urge anyone looking into studying abroad to consider and International Summer School.

Author: Charlotte Tuohy

Charlotte is a Hospitality Tourism Management major in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. As an intern at Smart College Visit, she is gaining real-world experience working with editors, researching topics, creating content and working in teams. Click on her name to read all of her posts. Charlotte also manages SCV's Instagram account @collegevisit.

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