As a college student, you might have seen some information on studying abroad and wondered whether it would be right for you. Maybe you were concerned about the cost, or maybe you just wondered whether it would be a beneficial experience for you. The experience of studying abroad can be intimidating, exhilarating, challenging, and rewarding. Keep reading to find out more about how doing this might be one of the best decisions you make in college, and to learn how to get the most out of it.
How much things cost has always been an issue for most college students, and that is truer now than ever as tuition costs keep rising. However, you might imagine that studying abroad is out of reach financially, and that just isn’t true. It’s important to understand that there are a few different ways of studying abroad. Your school might have a program that involves taking students from your school to a school in a foreign country for a few weeks or months. Your college might have an agreement with one or more universities in which you can pay your tuition and attend their classes. You could also enrol directly.
You can talk to the study abroad coordinator at your college to get a better idea of all your options, but even if someone tells you that something isn’t possible, it’s not a bad idea to keep asking questions to find out if it is. You can take out student loans to pay for your classes in another country just as you can for classes in the U.S. This might also be a good time to apply for a credit card if you don’t have one already. A credit card can be great to use for backup when you’re in another country in case your regular debit card doesn’t work or you run into an emergency. You can review a student guide to help you figure out which one would be best for your situation.
Why do you want to study abroad? If your answer is “I don’t know why, I just do,” that’s fine as well, but you may get more out of the experience and pick a more appropriate location if you dig a little deeper. First, there are people who choose this because they want a career in international business, foreign service, international development, or something similar. However, this might not be the case for you.
You might just want to improve your Spanish or French. Maybe you just want a new experience. Perhaps you want to challenge yourself or learn more about the world. These are all valid reasons to choose a study abroad, but knowing why you’re doing it will help you figure out what exactly you want to do. If you really want to challenge yourself, enrolling in a foreign university for a semester would certainly provide that. Even for an employer unconnected with global matters, a study abroad can be a plus. It shows that you are resilient and adaptable.
It’s important to know how your credits will transfer. If you are going on a program that is sponsored by your school or that has an agreement with your school, it is likely that any classes you take at a university in another country will transfer to your home university. However, there are other situations in which only some or perhaps none of the credits will transfer. This might be the case if you enrol directly. However, sometimes, the experience can make it worthwhile even if the credits do not transfer. What’s important is that you understand how your home college will treat them.
Making the Most of It
For some, this will be the only extended time in another country that they ever experience; for others, this will be the start of a life of travelling and living abroad. Whatever category you are in, and it’s likely at this point that you don’t know for certain, you should make the most of the experience. There are a few ways you can do this. Make an effort to try new things or put yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable. Of course, you should avoid danger, but overcoming discomfort can be powerful. To get the most out of the experience, try to spend as much time as you can around people from your host country. This can be difficult if you’re struggling with culture shock and language, but ultimately, it will ensure the most rewarding experience.