Study abroad programs give students unique opportunities to experience other cultures while pursuing their degrees. Such programs appeal to students who want to see the world without interrupting their studies, and many students who study abroad develop an affinity for travel that remains with them for the rest of their lives.
When considering studying abroad programs or attending college overseas, recent high school graduates or current high school students should consider a few factors before committing to a program.
Students, particularly those who are not fluent in a foreign language, may find it easier to live in countries where English is the primary language. While study abroad students can expect to work with professors who speak English regardless of where they go, life outside the classroom can be difficult for young students who do not understand the primary language spoken in the country where they will be studying.
Students who want to attend school full-time overseas may benefit by first studying through a study abroad program before committing to a two- or four-year program in another country. This gives students a chance to get a feel for a country and its culture and lifestyle before making a long-term commitment to living and studying there.
The safety in numbers philosophy is applicable for all travelers, but it can be especially beneficial for young students studying abroad. Students may feel more safe and comfortable when signing up for programs that include many students as opposed to more exclusive programs that include only a handful of students.
Large programs provide a built-in social network, and students may feel safer exploring foreign cities in large groups made up of fellow students than going it alone or traveling in small groups.
Students should speak with program directors about the documentation they may need to make the most of their time overseas. CEA Study Abroad recommends that students bring photocopies of all important documents, including passports, driver’s licenses, airline tickets, health insurance cards, and student identification cards, with them when studying overseas.
This protects students should their wallets or backpacks be lost or stolen while they’re overseas. Students also should include a list of any medical conditions or medications they take among their documentation and include their emergency contact information on this list.
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