Part of my college search was looking for a school with a great Study Abroad program. If you're interested in world travel, studying abroad for a semester or more can be a great way to explore new places, as well as get to know a local culture.
I studied abroad in Granada, Spain through Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. To tell you the truth, I chose Spain because it was the most affordable option and I had friends who had done the program and recommended it. I studied abroad through International Studies Abroad. Depending on your college, there may be a variety of programs available. For a bit over a semester, I was able to live abroad in southern Spain.
What to look for in a study abroad program
How long is the course?
My course was a semester, plus an additional few weeks of language prep in the summer. Think of your goals. Do you want to learn the native language? Study for a year if possible. This will help you master the language. Will it be difficult to transfer the credits back to your college? Ask students in your area of study what programs they did. I studied Spanish so all my credits transferred beautifully, but this may be more difficult for someone studying medicine, for example.
Where is it located?
Again, what are your goals? Do you want to see as many countries as possible? Choose somewhere in Europe where cheap flights mean weekend getaways to other countries. Do you want to experience breathtaking nature? Choose somewhere near national parks. Do you want to experience local culture? Choose a smaller city or town and live with a host family. Are you interested in history? Choose a historically rich place like Rome, Cairo or London.
What trips are included?
Part of my program included trips around Andalucía and Madrid. Additionally, our supervisors organized and led a trip to Morocco, for a separate price. If you are doing a science based program in Costa Rica, for example, there will be a lot of field research trips built in. If you are doing a history focused program in Italy, expect to visit sites like Pompeii as part of your semester abroad.
How much does it cost?
Of course the actual price of the course is a huge factor. Some programs will transfer your financial aid, while others will not. However, don't forget to calculate other expenses such as airfare, homestay costs or housing, cell phone plans, weekend trips and nights out. While the price for a program in South America may be more expensive than one in Europe, the cost of living in much less so it may end up being about the same or cheaper.
What i gained from Studying abroad
* Earned credits towards my degree
* Increased my Spanish abilities
* Traveled around Spain
* Traveled to Morocco, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Austria
* Made friends from many different countries
* Took flamenco lessons
* Met friends from other US universities
* Gained confidence and independence
* Navigated countries where I didn't speak the language
* Caught the travel bug
If you have any questions about studying abroad, please leave a comment down below. If you are still in college, the best way to get a taste of living abroad is studying abroad!
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