How to Choose Where to Study Abroad

So you’ve decided to study abroad! An increasing number of college students are studying abroad each year for a variety of different reasons, both personal and professional. With colleges offering many locations to study, and the ability to approve additional locations, choosing where you want to spend a few weeks or a few months can be a difficult decision. As you make the decision as to where you want to go and what program to apply to, consider the following:

Where do you want to go? As you consider where to study abroad, consider where you’re interested in going as opposed to what someone says is the “best” place to go, especially if you’ll be there the whole semester. This might be as simple as going to a country you’ve always wanted to visit, but are afraid you won’t get the chance once you’ve graduated and have a job and family. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

What culture are you interested in? When choosing where you want to study abroad, consider the different cultures in which you’ll be experiencing. What cultures interest you? What cultures would you like to immerse yourself in? Besides having this culture surround you for an extended period of time, you’ll also be learning and writing about this culture for class, so pick one you find intriguing!

What do you want out of this experience? When choosing where you want to study abroad, you may want to consider why you’re studying abroad in the first place. Is this your chance to see the world? Is this the best move for your career? Do you want to become knowledgeable of a particular region? Knowing why you’re interested in studying abroad will help you to determine where.

What language do you want to use?  Do you want to go to a country where most people will understand English, or do you want to have to learn another country’s language? Is studying abroad your chance to become fluent in another language? Consider what language you’re comfortable speaking as well as what countries speak that language, and at what level.

What makes sense for your career? If you’re studying abroad with the hopes of catching an employer’s attention, you may want to pick a place that makes the most sense for your career. If the company you’re dying to work for needs people who know Chinese and does a lot of business with China, going there through a study abroad program may be your smartest move. What study abroad programs would be the most useful and respected in your field?

Where do you want to see how your major is taught? Many students who study abroad feel as if they have a better concept of and a greater knowledge for their field of study having learned it through other countries in addition to the United States. Different nations will view and teach subject matters in ways you haven’t seen before. Where do you want to see your material taught?


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