There is something incredibly romantic about studying abroad. Education can sometimes be filled with tedium. While things you learn are interesting, there’s a certain routine to it all that makes it feel somewhat pavlovian.
University is a time when people are becoming who they are going to be for the rest of their lives. They experiment with other cultures and try to take in as much as is possible before deciding the direction they want to take their lives.
University Semesters Abroad
University semesters abroad work because there are so many wonderful post-secondary educational institutions in the world today. They seem to work best because of the time of life that you are experiencing as a student and your hopes to experience all that this life has to offer.
There’s a lot of common choices for studying abroad. Those who wish to study the arts tend towards countries with rich artistic backgrounds like Italy and France. Those who wish to study the humanities often will head to countries in South America or Africa to see the direct result of a lot of social programs. Students who are dedicated to science and nothing else tend towards Germany, Japan or other countries that are deep into technological innovation.
Students need to consider their own fit with the school they are going to, their comfort with the language barriers they are going to face and their willingness for adventure while still working on their education.
University Course Credits
There’s a long way between deciding you want to take a semester abroad and then ensuring that the credits you want to take are valid with your current College or University. It’s one thing to take a semester off and experience another part of the world, it’s another to do so and still receive course credit for it from your current educational institution.
The first step after you decide you want to get away is to start communicating with your academic advisors. They can help you with choosing a location and a school in that location that is likely to have courses they will accept. You need to then go through your destination schools course catalogue and determine which courses you wish to take and how those courses will apply to your own education. You can’t take an art history course on french master painters and apply it to the core curriculum of your computer science degree! Decide on courses that you want to take, but also come up with many back ups in case you are unable to choose those. Take your plan in, along with all the information about the course to your academic advisor. Once they help determine if the courses will be valid, then get it in writing from your advisor and dean just in case something looks like it might go amiss. After that, it’s time to go!
High School Options
There are high school plans that allow students to study abroad. These do not have the same variety or options that University programs will. In high school, it’s likely everything will be arranged. They will have a place for you to stay and people to stay with who are then responsible for you. They will have the school and the courses you are to take provided for you.
While there’s a lot more structure, it’s still a great opportunity to go out and see the world. Each of these programs will have specific opportunities and events planned to allow you to get out and see the culture of the country you are studying in.