6 steps to selecting the perfect study abroad program

6 steps to selecting the perfect study abroad program”

by McKenzie Powell via “USA Today”

Selecting a study abroad program can often be difficult and extremely overwhelming.

Depending on your university, you might have a considerable amount of options for professor-led programs. If not, you may have to begin a long journey searching the endless possibilities offered through other providers.

Could Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain. Could this city be the perfect study abroad destination for you?

No matter which route you take, the steps below can help you cut through the clutter and find a program well suited to your interests.

1. “Go out and talk to people,” says Frances Weiner, study abroad advisor and representative for International Education Programs at Ohio University.

Chat with a fellow student who has studied abroad, a professor who has led a  trip or someone at your college’s study abroad office. Chances are, your university will have an on-campus study abroad advisor who can cover the basics , while giving you an overview of programs available at your school.

Talking to different individuals will help you as you begin to narrow down the possibilities for your global experience.

2. Decide how long you would like to study abroad and when. Plenty of semester-long options are available during the fall and spring, while shorter alternatives are frequently offered during summer and winter breaks.

By making this small decision, you can avoid wasting time sifting through countless programs.

3. Begin searching for programs with classes that will meet your degree requirements. You may have a few extra prerequisites that you would like to get out of the way, or perhaps a foreign language requirement. Some programs may even offer courses more specific to your major, like a higher-level geography class or an exclusive course in psychology.

“If it’s not going to count for anything, you’re basically going on glorified travel,” says Ryan Geiger, advisor for International Student and Faculty Services at Ohio University. Geiger, who studied abroad in Italy and Switzerland as a graduate student, cautions, “don’t look at study abroad as just a way to travel, look at it as a way to get an education and expand your views.” . . . .

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“The Study Abroad Scam”

“The Study-Abroad Scam: 

Finding the Right Study Abroad Program”

by Rebecca Schuman via “Slate.com

Too many programs take your money but give you little in return— or enrich your skimming university. Here’s how to choose the right one.

A tourist in Paris.

Finals might be over for the year, but summer is peak study-abroad season, so for many American college students, a new adventure begins: Overstuffed backpacks! Malaria shots! The superpack of Durexes (alas, to remain unused)!
The vast majority of study-abroad programs are eligible for financial aid—but does that make them a bargain? These days, a number of college study-abroad programs are less about cultural enrichment, and more about enriching the for-profit companies that run them—or, ugh, the universities themselves, which often get foreign tuition for a steal, and then pass none of the savings along to students.
The New York state Legislature is concerned about this: Both its chambers have sponsored bills (one by Republican Kenneth LaValle; the other by Democrat Deborah Glick) that would require the state’s universities to disclose the actual costs of their study-abroad programs—including any perquisites (that is, free stuff) offered to university employees in exchange for enrollment. The bill comes, Inside Higher Edreports, as a result of an investigation begun in 2007 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (then attorney general), in which he suspected universities were “being unduly influenced by perks like free or subsidized overseas travel and commissions on student fees.”
As the number of students going abroad has more than tripled in the past two decades, hundreds of unscrupulous ventures have popped up to meet students’demand for the broadening of horizons (and, OK, the lowering of the drinking age). The red flags of a foreign-exchange flimflam artist can be pretty easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for. But many of those warning signs become obscured once a program has been given a university’s official partnership and good name. . . . .

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“Study Abroad May be a Better Choice for Some Students More than Others”

“Study Abroad May be a Better Choice for Some Students More than Others”

by Daily Illini Editorial Board via “The Daily Illini”

“Although the learning and volunteering experiences students have while studying abroad may be unique, the act of studying abroad itself is fairly cliche.  An accurate understanding of studying abroad and its significance is difficult to come by because of the numerous misconceptions that surround it. It’s not uncommon to hear these phrases from students who studied abroad: “Studying abroad will help me get a job,” “studying abroad frequently costs less than a semester at the University,” or “I studied abroad to be well-rounded.” . . . “

 Personally, I learned a lot from traveling abroad. I grew in everything from maturity to confidence to a greater sense of preparedness in selecting my employment area.  

Was/Is it the right fit for you? Is there anything you’d change about your decision to/or not to study abroad–the choices you were looking at, the priorities you set, the things you gave up, etc.?