Types of Study Abroad Programs
Tips on finding what type of Study Abroad Program is right for you.
For American college students the term “study abroad” is a general term that has multiple meanings, the most common being an academic program with ties to the student’s college or university. Study abroad allows a student to live in a foreign country in an apartment, homestay or even on the campus of a foreign university. There are also study abroad programs for high school students and college graduates, some offer resume building work or volunteer experience. Before you make any commitments, you’ll want to understand the definitions of study abroad and consider costs versus benefits of each option.
Study abroad viewed by many incoming Freshman is an essential component to a full college experience. Study abroad seems simple enough: just pick a place to go, find a program to take you there, apply, send your money and you’re all set. When you get into the details it is a lot more complex, because for most students study abroad is not part of the standard curriculum at a college, it is an option. If you take a program through an outside entity, the rules state that credit hours earned outside the student’s home university aren’t treated the same as normal credit hours, so those credits need to be transferred to your academic record. The process is filled with technicalities that will seem a little daunting at first but it is completely worthwhile. When you read the study abroad reviews https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs and hear about all the amazing discoveries and experiences, you’ll understand why so many students say study abroad was the “greatest four months of my life.” Later in life, many students will tell you that their education abroad experience had the greatest impact on them during their entire time at college.
Education Abroad during Semester Breaks
Some degree programs sequence their courses tightly making a semester away very difficult. For those students universities and program providers continue to introduce creative ways to work education abroad into the college experience. One way is to study abroad when students are normally on a break where the student doesn’t have to disrupt their progress toward their degree and can graduate on time. These off-season programs include:
- January Sessions or J-Term are 3 or 4 week mini-semesters at the start of the year designed to squeeze a single course into the end of your Christmas break
- May or Maymester is a single course over a 3 or 4 week mini-semester that follows Spring finals and finished before the usual summer sessions
- Summer Sessions – 4 to 10 week programs that can offer one to three academic courses, sometimes broken into two sessions (Summer 1 and Summer 2)
- International Summer Schools https://www.studyabroad101.com/countries/international-summer-schools – Programs at foreign universities, in English for students from all over the world
Semester Exchange Programs versus Education Abroad Providers
If you can study abroad during a normal academic term, many college/universities have recommended alternatives that are exchange partnerships or ties with study abroad provider companies. An endorsed exchange program provides pre-selected courses at a foreign university designed to provide academic credit hours at the student’s home university through transfer credit. Exchange programs allow to stay on your current funding plan, pay to your home university and you pay only for airfare and expenses. Scholarships may be available to help cover these added costs, or they can be packaged into that semester’s financial aid. Check with your study abroad advisor or Financial Aid Office for details.
The education abroad field has a number of third-party study abroad providers who run study abroad programs as their business. They understand what is involved in a successful study away experience and provide overseas staff, amenities and support. Some programs have the classroom component at pre-selected foreign universities where exchange students and provider students may sit side by side. Those provider companies offer a host of extra services and support services and can really help students navigate the complexities of an education abroad experience. For students willing the take the challenge, exchange programs may provide a more affordable option. In Exchange Programs, the study abroad student will be treated like an international student and will likely find themselves in a mix of students from other countries as well as those from the host country. Here is a list of foreign universities that host American students. Click to view and you’ll see a tab for direct enroll and exchange next to a tab for provider programs. Click and read the reviews to learn more about the pros and cons of each option.
Boost your GPA, Stay on Track with Faculty-Led Programs
Transfer credits are pass/fail. If you want to impact your GPA or earn credit for required courses, you might want to explore programs run by your university. Often these are called faculty-led programs because as the title suggests, faculty-led programs are led by a professor from the home university who is an expert in the course topic and the program immerses students into a deep, hand-on study of the subject. Faculty-led programs are generally groups of students from the home university and the programs often include organized travel, multiple destinations and tours often overseen by the same third-party providers who run semester programs. Faculty-led programs will offer home university credit and are often offered off-season on semester breaks.
Study Abroad Doesn’t Have to be Expensive:
“The cost varies depending on the type and location of the program, the length of the stay, and whether the program is administered through a university or an outside organization. A program can be significantly less expensive, more, or about the same. Study abroad can be affordable. Many colleges and universities are committed to maintaining cost parity; a semester abroad should cost exactly the same as one on the home campus, at least as far as tuition and board.” From – https://www.huffpost.com/entry/busting-the-top-10-study-abroad_b_4175861
Get Approval Before You Go
Before you (the student) commit to any study abroad program, we suggest you speak with your academic advisor, the education abroad office and your Financial Aid office on campus. Know before you go and get all the necessary pre-approvals and forms filed. Study Abroad is filled with red-tape, forms to complete and permissions to get. Consider your transfer credit options, financial aid and degree progression considerations. Ask lots of questions so that you fully understand your options. There’s a program for everyone, once you understand what type of program interests you and how that affect you, we suggest you use the read the reviews to better compare and understand the possibilities.