Advising Tips and Tricks for Students and Faculty

How to (and how not to) pick a study abroad program

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in chosing courses, Common Curriculum, students |

Let’s start with the easy one- how NOT to pick a term abroad:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mackenziekruvant/where-should-you-have-actually-studied-abroad

Given that this might be the worst way ever to pick a Study Abroad program, what’s a better way?

  1. Start with the basics- think about what interests you.

    • Is there a program that includes courses that might count towards your major or minor?  Does you major or minor require a particular study abroad experience?   Although many study abroad opportunities do not have courses that connect directly to a major, some do and represent some unique opportunities.
    • If connecting to a major isn’t important, what is? Are you looking for a study abroad opportunity to develop some interest you already have?
    • Is there a certain culture or part of the world that really interests you?
  2. Collect information about the different study abroad opportunities

    • Visit the International Programs website (for a quick overview check out: Programs at a Glance, for a more detailed look, try out this site.
    • Visit the International Programs office
    • Talk your friends who have gone on different programs to see what they liked about them
    • Read an International Programs blog
    • Speak with an international student currently studying at Union from a country you might want to visit.  Not all countries where we have programs are represented in the student body, but for the ones where there are students here, can you think of a better way to learn more?
    • Talk to your advisor
  3. Things to consider

    • Do you have room in your course plan for a term abroad or would a mini-term fit better?
    • Are there courses that are required for your major or minor that you might miss because they are only offered during the term you want to be away?
    • Do you have (or do you have time to satisfy) any prerequisites for the programs you  want?
    • Are there financial considerations that might make studying abroad difficult?

Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity and one that students are encouraged to take advantage of while they are at Union; choosing wisely is the key to making the most of the experience.  Have questions? Contact the International Programs Office.