Studying abroad can be one of the most significant experiences of your undergraduate education. Studying abroad is an opportunity to discover new aspects of yourself, increase global competency skills, and build your resume.
The following guide takes you through some of the steps you may want to consider as you prepare for studying abroad. It is meant to help you through the process, both the steps leading up to selecting a program that is right for you, and the practical aspects of applying for a program.
What Do You Want to Get Out of the Study Abroad Experience?
Since studying abroad often involves a significant amount of money and time, taking time to reflect upon what you hope to gain from the experience is an important first step. The following are some statements that are intended to help you hone in on your reasons for studying abroad and what you may hope to gain from the experience:
- I want to increase my cross-cultural communication skills
- I want to increase my language skills in a language (French, Spanish, Chinese, etc.)
- I want to travel as much as possible in a particular country or region and see specific sites (the Vatican, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu)
- I want to learn how to do business in a particular region of the world
- I want to do research overseas
- I want to explore the culture of a particular country and have inter-culture experiences such as learning about traditional Chinese medicine, the role of women in the Middle East, liberation theology in El Salvador, etc.
- I want to do an internship in another country to build my resume
- I want to meet people from other countries and have fun!
- I want to take particular courses that will build my resume
- I want to stretch myself and try to live in a culture that is very different from my own