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.
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.” . . . .