Semester Study Abroad Programs
Whether you’re a high school student looking to broaden your horizons or a college student ready to take on the world, there are many great opportunities and experiences awaiting when you choose to study abroad for a year. While many people think that studying abroad equates to spending an entire academic year in another country, this isn’t always the case. You could study abroad for a year or semester—it’s really up to you. There are a wide variety of semester abroad programs that still provide similar experiences and memories as year-long programs.
Study Abroad Has Many Benefits
Choosing to study abroad for a semester allows student to see the world beyond their own city and country. It offers the opportunity to learn about a new culture and, if you do not speak the language of the country, then it’s a great way to improve language skills. There is an opportunity create friends, experiences, and memories that stay with you for your entire life. Study abroad programs also look great on resumes, which is an easy way to enhance job opportunities down the road. Essentially, choosing to study abroad provides opportunities and benefits[i] that are simply not available when sitting at a desk in an academic classroom. It is immersive, hands-on learning that many students treasure.
A Wealth of Programs to Choose From
There are many different programs for spending a semester abroad. The type of program that you choose depends largely on your goals. If you are a high school student, you might wish to participate in a sort of exchange program and spend your junior year abroad so as to not miss out on senior year festivities. If you do not wish to sacrifice any time during the academic year, then you may be able to spend a summer abroad. College students may have access to internships and volunteer programs. There are many different programs of varying length, so it’s important to understand that you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to just one summer or commit yourself to an entire year. Research the programs and find one that is comfortable for you.
Preparing for a Semester Abroad
One concern that comes to the forefront for many potential study abroad students and their families is cost[ii]. It’s true that studying abroad costs a certain amount of money. How much the entire program costs depends on a number of different factors, including the type of program, length of the stay, and the activities the student plans on doing. Creating a budget long before the departure date is a great way to start saving. Don’t forget about inquiring about financial aid, scholarships, and grants as well.
Once you have been accepted into a program, you can start researching the country including the language and any cultural norms that might be different from your home country. It is also a good idea to start looking into what items you should pack, locating sturdy luggage to take with you, and acquiring a valid passport. Many programs provide extensive information regarding preparation for your study abroad experience. It is wise to take advantage of any resources and meetings the program provides before your departure.
Not every study abroad program requires students to learn a foreign language. It is a good idea to understand what language skills are required of you before applying. Some programs might provide language courses while you are abroad. If not, you might consider taking a language class or investing in language learning software to give you a leg up while traveling.
No Better Time to Start Than Now
High school and college students have great opportunities and access to a wealth of study abroad programs. There is no better time to start looking into spending a semester abroad than now. Consult the programs below or visit our Resources section to find additional answers to your questions.