Studying abroad is an extremely beneficial experience. In today’s globalized world, the ability to effectively communicate with people from different countries and cultures is essential, and is one reason why many employers and graduate schools love to see international exposure on a student’s resumé.
Choosing a study abroad program can seem like a daunting task. After all, you’ll likely be spending a month or even a year in a foreign country, and there are so many choices. It’s important to decide on a great place to study to maximize your experience.
Here are five tips for deciding on a place to spend your year, semester or summer abroad:
Do Your Research
Start by brainstorming the criteria you want for your program. Things like time period, region of the world and study topics are good places to start. From there you can start to eliminate different programs. A helpful website to use is Go Overseas, a self-proclaimed “Yelp and Trip Advisor for study abroad programs.” Once on the website, you can input search criteria that will help narrow down and pinpoint the best programs for you. Plus, they boast reviews from alumni, meaning you can access first-hand information about the experiences of students and use it to make the best decision for you.
Visit Your School’s Study Abroad Office
Most universities have a study abroad office on campus. These often have employees who are passionate and knowledgeable about studying abroad and are willing to help students with the process. They may be able to provide firsthand information about places you are considering or connect you with students who have recently gone on a study abroad program. Plus, they can help you ensure the classes you’re taking will count towards your degree.
If you don’t find a program that meets your academic needs, it might be worth looking into internship opportunities abroad. These are usually offered during the summer and provide invaluable experience for your resumé. If you’re an upperclassman, this can also be a great way to get ready to enter the workforce. For example, Sage Corps is a global entrepreneurship program that sends top college students to intern abroad with startups. Another great option is Absolute Internship, an organization that has connections with more than 600 companies all over the world. As an exclusive partner, NSCS provides scholarship money to members interning through Absolute. To learn more, visit our scholarship page.
With the wealth of study abroad providers and programs available, you can usually find decent program costs all over the world, and there are many companies geared towards providing a low-cost study abroad experience. However, many places are naturally much more expensive than others. Be careful to notice what is included in a program. Many include classes, housing and some sort of meal plan, but some may only cover classes. In addition, be sure to factor in airfare, food and additional travel costs.
Apply For Scholarships
Don’t let the cost of your program intimidate you! There are a wide variety of scholarships available to students who want to go abroad. The Scholarship Portal is a great database that helps you narrow your scholarship search by location, while FastWeb provides a vast directory of scholarships not just for your study abroad travels, but for the rest of your college career. Don’t forget to check out our NSCS scholarship opportunities, particularly for Semester at Sea, a program that gives students a unique view of the world aboard a floating university.
Deciding to study abroad shows a curiosity about the world and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone. Use these five steps to ensure you’re as prepared as possible so that you can experience your program to the fullest.
The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization, boasting 320 plus chapter nationwide, that recognizes high-achieving first-and second-year students. With its three pillars of scholarship, leadership, and service, NSCS is proud to provide career and graduate school connections, leadership and service experiences, practical and skills-based content, access to discounts and savings, and over a million dollars in scholarships, chapter funds and awards annually. To learn more about joining the NSCS honors society, visit us at http://www.nscs.org/join.