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29 May, 2014
Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity college students have. Most people never get the chance to spend more than a few days or weeks in a foreign country, because of time constraints and money. Students, on the other hand, have the chance to experience another culture for an extended period of time and truly immerse themselves into the country’s way of life.
However, studying abroad is not the easiest process, for there are a variety of obstacles that can hinder students from following through on their plans to travel. But, with a little advanced preparation, students can navigate around the obstacles and begin the process of going abroad.
Here are three tips to prepare for studying abroad:
1. The Destination
For many students, there are too many places to see with too little time to see it all. From education in Dubai to learning in Lithuania to studying at Oxford, unexplored areas always seem fascinating. For students, trying to decide which area they want to spend four months in can be excruciatingly difficult.
Besides pouring over brochures, one of the best ways a student can narrow down their choices is to spend some time researching. Students should research the culture, the food, the language, and the people to get a better idea about what place sounds exciting.
If possible, students should also try and meet up with someone who has already studied abroad in an area they are interested in. Not only will they be able to offer sound advice, the experiences they describe can truly help someone understand if that area would be a good fit.
One of the most difficult parts to studying abroad is ensuring that the classes taken abroad will transfer back to the university. If a university abroad is not affiliated with a student’s university, students need to double and triple check that their class load abroad will transfer. This is one of the main reasons many students opt not to go abroad, despite their desires, for they are concerned they will spend money on a semester abroad only to spend money on a fifth year at their university.
The financial aspect can be the biggest detriment for students. When a student attends a university, they have already gone through the process of applying for financial aid, scholarships, and grants. If attending a university abroad that is affiliated with a student’s existing university, most likely, the financial aid will transfer.
But, for students looking into a program recommended through their school, through a different university, or one completely separate, financial aid can be difficult to get, for the requirements might be different. Apart from some universities being more expensive than a student’s current school, there are plenty of travel fees that should be factored into the entire financial part of studying abroad.
Before deciding definitively yes or no to studying abroad, students should prepare by researching their areas of interest, credits, scholarship opportunities abroad, and speaking with their university’s abroad program. Although a lengthy process, most students agree the preparation time was well worth their abroad experience.
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