Going to study abroad is going to be a huge step, and there are so many things to plan and to consider about it. While the last time I talked about all the reasons why you will regret it if you don’t take a gap year and also named a few reasons why you should study abroad, this article is all about how to find the perfect study abroad program, when you already decided to go for this adventure.
Every time before I move abroad, I am going to ask myself the following six questions, and due to it, it will be a lot easier to find the perfect abroad program.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO STUDY?
This has always been my first and also most important question. Studying abroad is the opportunity to live in that specific place you have always dreamed about. You can explore new cultures and learn new languages or merely explore what this world has to offer.
The first time I moved abroad, I decided to go to London for improving my English skills. Of course, it could have also been the USA or Australia for that reason, but I love the British accent. In my opinion, it is definitely the most excellent accent ever. I even enjoyed the British lifestyle so much that I wanted to move back to London for my first abroad semester. Luckily I decided to try out something new, and I ended up in Paris.
For my following abroad semester, I will go overseas this time. Even though I already lived in other countries so many times, this is a massive step for me as well. On the other hand, I am beyond excited because I have always dreamed of this destination! (If you are curious about where I will move to, follow me on Instagram @ly.hoang. I will reveal it in two weeks. Does anyone wants to guess it?)
WHAT ARE YOUR EDUCATIONAL GOALS?
Doing an abroad semester is a chance for you to find out in which branch you might want to work later in life. Apparently, the minors and courses you are going to choose abroad, have to be related to your studies at home but like for example in business studies, you have a vast variety.
Are you a musician? Try out studying music in Vienna. Explore fashion in Paris or study finance on the wall street of New York City.
My main course of study is finance, and I am also going to do my master’s degree in Financial Management, but one of my biggest passion is fashion on the other hand. So in my case, I took the opportunity to study Luxury Brand Management and Fashion Business courses whenever I have the chance to do it.
WHAT PROGRAM IS BEST FOR YOU?
Every city has different universities. I would say the bigger the city, the more choices of universities you have. With this choice, you can choose the university, which offers the courses you want to study.
At my university, for example, we have at least always two partner universities in that specific city, so you are a little bit more flexible. Besides academic courses programs, there are also government programs, which you should consider about when choosing the university. In Europe, for example, there is the ERASMUS program, a program which supports students with a specific amount of money every month. This is actually an excellent bonus since living abroad is super expensive.
PROFESSIONAL AND SOCIAL CURRICULAR ACTIVITY OPPORTUNITIES
Now a day everyone knows that you need work experiences for your future. Try to think a step further and ask yourself if you also want to do an internship after your abroad semester. This can be your chance to stay there longer wherever you are, and working in a different culture will open your mind and bring you valuable experiences. Moreover, you will grow out of your comfort zone and will gain social skills as well.
WHAT TYPE OF HOUSING DO YOU PREFER?
For a lot of students, this will be the first time that they are moving out of their parents’ house. When it comes to types of housing, there are the possibilities of living on campus, a private apartment or sharing an apartment.
Back in London, I shared an apartment with four other girls from my school. Moreover, I even shared my room with two roommates. It was an enjoyable time because I am an only child and I never knew how it was too share a place for such a long time like that until then. While in Paris on the other hand, I had my own apartment. I would say there are advantages and disadvantages in both ways and in the end, you have to decide if you are ready to live on your own or you still want to share your place.
CONSIDER COSTS INVOLVED
Last but not least, the costs of an abroad semester. I know moving overseas will cost a lot of money. While you are considering, if this experience is worth the money, I can tell you it definitely is! There are destinations, which are cheaper than others, or where the euro and dollar has a more significant value so that it will be more affordable. Consider taking part in an ERASMUS program like mentioned above or just try to cut down costs where you think you can.
For example, for my next abroad semester, I am going to share an apartment instead of having my own place like in Paris. Why? Simply because I can’t afford a private residence in the city, which I will move to. Especially not in the city centre and furthermore, thanks to this way I will meet new people faster and easier!
There are no wrong choices in choosing the place to study abroad! Because in the end, you are the only one who’s responsible for making the most out of your time!
All in all, do proper research, ask yourself the just mentioned questions and you will naturally find an excellent study abroad program.
Still doubting about taking this once in a lifetime chance? Here are 10 reasons why should study abroad!