Studying abroad may turn out to be one of the most enriching and fulfilling experience of your life. If you’ve already made that decision, you know you have a lot of preparation to do. The key is to give yourself plenty of time to find the right program and get ready for your move.
Between programs offered through your school, other colleges, and private organizations, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. To get started, consider these questions:
1. When Do You Want to Go?
If you are a freshman or sophomore, then start planning to study abroad now so you don’t have to rush your decisions. First, decide when is the best time for you to participate, as each academic year has pros and cons.
Many students choose to study abroad during their junior year. By then, you’re well on your way to fulfilling your degree requirements and still have your senior year to fill in any gaps.
Senior year is great for those who only have electives left, but plan carefully so everything is in place for graduation. Discuss your options with your academic adviser to make sure you’ve considered all the factors.
2. What Is Your Goal?
Think about why you want study abroad. Some things to consider:
- What opportunities are you most excited about?
- Is your primary goal to immerse yourself into another culture and expand your horizons?
- Do you need to take courses to stay on track academically?
- Are you looking to improve your job prospects after graduation?
Knowing your goals will help you filter through the various choices. Take time to reflect on this. For example, even if a program is below budget or has the best housing arrangement, it’s also got to fulfill your main goal for going in the first place
3. Where Do You Want to Go?
Europe is by far the most popular destination for U.S. students, but don’t choose based on popularity. Ask yourself:
- Do you want to learn or perfect a foreign language, or do you need an English-speaking area?
- Do you prefer an urban and centrally located setting, or do you like a suburban or rural environment?
- Do you prefer to live in student housing, or are you comfortable living with a host family?
- Is the weather suitable for you based on the time of year?
- What is the cost of living for your top countries
4. How Long Will You Stay?
The longer you spend abroad the more enriching your experience may be, as it can take a few months to acclimate to a new culture and adjust to your new school. If your budget allows, spend an entire year at your destination.
Short-term programs may last as little as four to five weeks. If you choose a summer semester, you’re not disrupting attendance at your main school, but you may be limiting your time available for traveling around the country and enjoying the sights and culture.
When you choose a semester during the regular academic year, keep in mind that the schedule at your selected school most likely won’t match the semester at your current school.
5. What Are the Costs?
The cost of living varies greatly from country to country. Consider your budget and whether you may need a part-time job. Some countries don’t allow those on a student visa to work, even on campus.
Some of the costs to factor in:
- Visa application, round-trip travel to the country, and travel costs for sightseeing
- Tuition and fees at the selected college, including admission fees
- Room and board (plus costs of essentials like internet, phone, laundry, etc.)
- Meals (depending on the student housing setup, you may not be able to cook for yourself, and some programs may not offer student dining)
Make a budget now so you can start saving. Everything from small changes like giving up your daily latte to bigger saving strategies can help you get closer to your goal.
With the CORT Global Network, you can quickly make your temporary housing feel like home with easy, convenient furniture rental. It’s one less thing you have to worry about as you plan for your exciting adventure.