One of the parts of studying abroad that can produce the most anxiety is actually picking the right program and place to study. You will find it, I promise! But getting there is a long road, and one that needs to be started earlier than most people realize.
When it came to my choice of program, I was lucky. I knew I wanted to study in London, and my school, Fordham University, has a direct program in London through their London Centre called “London Liberal Arts”. Fordham also offers a more business-inclined program called “Fordham in London: Gabelli School of Business”, an internship program called “London Internship Program”, and a theatre performance one called “London Dramatic Academy” through their London Centre. Fordham has other direct programs as well in Granada, Spain and Pretoria, South Africa.
So why did I pick London? Here are a couple of questions I considered when picking a place to study:
Is this a place I am interested in studying and living in?
What is the culture like?
Is it easy to visit other places if I study here?
What is the language spoken?
Would I feel comfortable living here?
Do I know other people who live here, or have lived here? What did they think?
Can I afford to study here?
Would studying here further what I am interested in?
Depending on what you want to do or experience, these are just a few questions that can help you narrow down your search. You want a place where you feel comfortable, but also are pushing yourself to step outside of your comfort zones.
Once you pick a place, then you can start researching programs that are offered perhaps through your university, or through another university. Even if your university doesn’t offer a direct program, they might do exchange programs with other universities. Here are questions to think about when picking a program:
What programs does my university offer, and what universities do they do exchange programs with?
Would I like to direct enroll in another university?
How easy is it to transfer credits between the schools and programs?
What are the deadlines for programs?
How much do the programs cost?
Can I get scholarships for this program?
Do I want to do a service-learning program?
Do I want to study for a whole semester, or just do a short-term study?
What have other students said about this program?
You can also check out Abroad101 in order to search programs by place, length, and type, and to get reviews from other students!
When it comes down to it, picking the right place and program is all about one word: Research. The last thing you want to do is make a rush decision because this a huge and awesome opportunity! There are soooooo many programs out there, so you will absolutely be able to find the right one for you.