Congratulations! You’ve just made one of the best decisions of your life, the decision to study abroad. Whether you’ve always wanted to travel abroad, or if it’s a relatively new idea of yours, I can assure you, studying abroad will be not only a highlight of your college career, but of your lifetime.
Picking the right program is an important part of making sure you optimize your time to study abroad. Here are some things to consider when trying to decide:
What Are You Looking for in Your Study Abroad Experience?
To help you figure out where to go, ask yourself some questions:
- Are you looking to really master that French language?
- Are you interested in learning more about Asian cultures and want to finally see the Great Wall of China?
- Do you want to immerse yourself in family-centered culture of Central America by living with a host family?
- Are you a music enthusiast ready to live in the very same city that inspired the music of composers such as Mozart and Strauss?
- Do you want to study abroad in a location where you have ample opportunity to travel throughout the region?
- Have you always had the dream to travel to Australia, swim in the Great Barrier Reef, learn how to surf, and embrace the laid back Aussie lifestyle?
Remember, no one study abroad location is “better” or “worse” than another. Each program SLU offers is different and unique. Each student’s study abroad experience is also vastly different from the next.
What Should You Research Before You Pick a Program?
- Check out SLU’s Study Abroad website. It has a lot of information on the program specifics such as living arrangements, host universities, any language requirements, etc.
- Talk to former students who have studied at that location. The study abroad office can provide you with a list of previous students if you don’t know any.
- Look up some of the different trips you can take while you are abroad. For example, if you decide to study abroad in mainland Europe, traveling around Europe itself is fairly easy and inexpensive. Or, if you decide to study in Ecuador, you could potentially visit places in two of the world’s hemispheres.
- Cost of living and culture may be some other factors to take into consideration. If you want to study abroad in Thailand, it might be helpful to read up on some the customs and norms of that culture.
Once you have done enough research, talked to some people and asked all of your questions, it might be beneficial to make some pro and con lists for each program to help you make your decision. The study abroad counselors are also always available to help you make your decision as well as guide you through the application and preparation process.
When Should You Start Your Study Abroad Experience?
- Decide if you want to go for a summer, semester or year. Take into consideration what would be best for your major.
- Sit down and make a list of what you want to do and see during your time abroad. Do you want to see what winter’s like in Austria? Or what spring is like in France?
- Talk with your academic advisors NOW to get the logistical timing of going abroad squared away. This way, when it comes time to apply for a program, there are no surprises and you stay on track to graduate.
Studying abroad is a fabulous way to explore a new part of the world, broaden your cultural horizons and learn something about yourself. Whatever it is you’re looking for, SLU has a program that is a good fit for you. Wherever and whenever you decide to study abroad, you will cherish every moment of it.
Contact the Study Abroad Office for more information.