Frequently Asked Questions About Study Abroad
Students who are considering going abroad during their college experience tend to have questions about study abroad. Below are the answers to some typical study abroad questions that might help you get started.
Why should I study abroad?
There are many benefits to studying abroad, including:
- it’s the optimal way to learn or improve a language
- it allows you to get to know another culture first-hand
- it helps you develop new skills and gives you experiences beyond what a classroom setting can provide
- it helps you learn about yourself and helps expands your worldview
- it gives you the opportunity to break out of your academic routine
- it adds value to your degree
- it enhances employment opportunities
Do most colleges or universities offer a study abroad program?
Yes, most colleges and universities do offer study abroad programs. Larger universities may have a study abroad office and set of programs, while other universities may offer them separately by departments. Some smaller colleges and community colleges may have a faculty member or administrator who offers the study abroad programs part-time.
What countries are the typical destinations for study abroad?
The most popular destinations for study abroad tend to be in Western Europe (England, Italy, France, and Spain), but a growing number of students are studying abroad in China, Australia and Argentina.
What type of program is the right one for me?
When exploring your study abroad options look carefully at how each program is structured. Some programs have personalized options that make the experience truly unique to you while other programs follow a set model. Most study abroad programs offer traditional classroom opportunities combined with some experiential learning opportunities; however more and more programs are now offering opportunities to engage with the local communities through internships, volunteering and service learning projects.
How can I afford study abroad?
Because study abroad can be a large financial investment, be sure you:
- have a full understanding of what the program fee covers
- know what financial aid you are allowed to carry with you on your program
- begin saving many months in advance of going abroad as you will not be allowed to work overseas
- research other forms of aid, such as study abroad scholarships that you may be eligible for
How long does study abroad usually last?
Programs can last from 10 days to a full year. Many students study abroad for at least one semester, while others participate on shorter summer or faculty-led programs.
Will I have to go to college longer to make up for my time studying abroad?
With careful academic planning and choosing the appropriate program you should not get behind in your studies. However, be prepared to be flexible about how your credits transfer back and make sure you have all your courses approved before you go.
What if I don't speak the native language of the country I'm studying abroad in?
Many study abroad programs offer content courses in English, even in countries where English is not spoken. Most programs in non-English speaking destinations offer language at the beginner to advanced level.
Are there any dangers to study abroad and how can I avoid them?
From a violent crimes standpoint, most study abroad locations overseas are statistically safer than most major cities in the U.S. Common sense is your best weapon against crime. Here are some rules to follow:
- avoid bad parts of the city
- do not walk alone at night, especially if you are a woman
- take care with your valuables and electronics at all times
The State Department has a wonderful website that can give you a lot of valuable information about traveling safely in any country in the world. A reputable study abroad program will also give you safety tips during your on-site orientation.
How do I get started?
Research and compare as there are lots of study abroad programs available and be sure to check with a study abroad advisor on your campus for insight. For immediate assistance please fill out the form below and a CAPA International Education advisor will answer your study abroad questions, or you can call directly at 1-800-793-0334. For more information on CAPA's study abroad programs, visit www.capa.org/students.
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