How to choose a study abroad program
What are your goals?
Write down four or five concrete goals for studying abroad. What do you hope to get out of the experience? Make a list of your academic, professional and personal goals as well as other factors that you consider important.
You have to decide how to rank your goals and set priorities. What is more important to you? The classes you will take and how they fit into your degree program? Acquiring a foreign language? The location of the study abroad site? The opportunities to travel? The cost of the program? Who will be your classmates? Students from the U.S., other international students or students from the host country?
Types of programs
Faculty-led short programs are a good fit for students who are new travelers or who want a shorter program where most things are arrange by the faculty member.
Exchange programs offer a variety of options at a similar cost to studying at home. While exchanges provide a coordinator at the host university, students pretty much live as the local students do.
Direct enrollment is an option for students who wish to study abroad at a location where UWW does not have an exchange relationship. Students should apply directly to the "study abroad" or "visiting student" program at the institution they wish to attend.
Study Abroad Program providers, or organizations that set up study abroad programs, give students a chance to enroll in universities in a wide range of locations abroad, but offer additional services, such as a local office and staff, computers, group excursions, and more.
National Student Exchange is for students who don't want to study abroad, but who want to study one semester or a year at a different U.S. university.
Obviously, it is called study abroad for a reason and you do get to choose what you study. You can study things in your major or minor, general education requirements or electives. Just make sure the program you select offers what you need. You should be able to stay on track and still graduate on time!
Learning and using a language in the country where it is spoken is one of the best ways to reinforce what you've learned in the classroom. If language study is not for you, there are many places you can study in English.
There are many ways to enhance your job prospects and study abroad is one of the best. Only a small percent of US students take advantage of the studying abroad. Students who have studied abroad can demonstrate that they have acquired important job skills like flexibility, open-mindedness, risk-taking etc.
There is a myth that studying abroad is always expensive. In reality, study abroad costs vary greatly, and there are many affordable options available, like exchanges, but the programs we are affiliated with here tend to provide very good study abroad value. In general, study abroad will always cost more than being on campus, but studying abroad is an investment in yourself and your future. So don't let cost be the only factor you consider when choosing a program.
Cultural attraction. Is there a country or culture you have dreamed about or longed to visit? When you imagine studying abroad, where do you see yourself? What do you like to do? Are you an outdoors person? .... Or maybe you want to be in a big city with many museums, plays and concerts.
Know yourself. How independent are you? How comfortable are you living with different people? How well do you adjust to the unexpected? Have you traveled before? Do you have any special circumstances that would make one country a better choice than another? Ask yourself all of these questions before you pick the site that is best for you!