Many college students spend time abroad. Depending on your budget, you could travel for just a few weeks, or you could choose to stay as long as a year. Study abroad programs come in many forms, so if traveling is on your to-do list, this is an opportunity you'll want to take full advantage of during your college experience. If spending a summer abroad during your college years is a dream come true, it's important to do a little research. You'll want to learn about the best time to take your trip, how to best pay for it, and what resources your school offers.
How to find summer abroad programs
Start by deciding what you want to accomplish by studying abroad. Professional experience, college credit, practicing a second language or adding the experience to your resume as a complement to your major are all worthy goals.
If you've chosen your destination, make sure that you can access the classes you want to take. If you want to gain professional experience, set up your job or internship well in advance of buying travel tickets.
fulfillCheck with your college to make sure that any credits you earn while abroad will requirements of your major. If you don't want to take classes but are looking for opportunities for cultural enrichment and language immersion, it's best to try to stay with a local family.
Your college may also be able to help you find an appropriate family that can easily accommodate you during your stay. There are many programs online, so if your college can't help, research your options by reading reviews and choosing a reputable institution.
Why it's better to go abroad in the summer than during the school year
Studying abroad can be a less expensive option for students on a strict budget. Not everyone can afford to spend an entire year in a foreign country, but a few months is financially doable for most people with careful planning.
With enough advanced notice, you may be able to get help from your college's study abroad program with planning and financing your trip. If your college doesn't have a study abroad program, talk to your academic advisor about working with a neighboring college to facilitate your travel. Make sure the credits you earn while abroad will transfer to your college easily.
How to deal with money while abroad
Before you go on your trip, sit down and plan how you'll deal with money while you are away. In addition to making a detailed budget that accounts for lodging, food, entertainment, and emergencies, you'll need to have a solid understanding of the local exchange rates and how to access cash.
If you plan to stay with a local family, see if you can contact them before your trip to get their advice about good places to exchange your US dollars for the locally accepted currency.
Some places accept US dollars but charge more for purchases made this way. People who live in the area are your best resource for understanding the local customs regarding money.
Studying abroad is the ultimate adventure for many college students. To get the most out of your trip, you'll need to plan carefully. Use your resources wisely, and be sure to double check with your college if you plan to transfer credits.