|Time to attend class at my new school: Sydney Uni!|
Choosing a place to study abroad can be a really daunting experience. I know there are so many options that my school offers, it was hard for me to choose just one place. Granted, I am now on my second study abroad trip, so I guess I didn’t have to choose just one. My first study abroad trip was during the summer after my freshman year of college, when I went to London and Paris for two weeks each. It was an honors program at my school and I got 6 units of honors credit. Now, I am studying for a full semester at Sydney Uni.
Picking a place to spend a whole semester was a bit of a challenge for me. I mean, I’m taking away a semester of my time from the greatest school in the world (The University of Arizona #beardown) to go to a completely new place! That means making new friends, taking classes with professors I don’t know, and trying to figure out the ins and outs of a whole new place. I’ve been here a week and I’m absolutely loving it so I know I made the right decision (granter, there is probably more than one right decision to make)! I put a lot of thought into where I wanted to study abroad so here are my best tips and questions you should consider.
- Know what programs your school offers and what credit it will accept. Look into school sponsored programs first. They’re generally easier to work out. At my school, if you choose a school sponsored programs, a lot of stuff is done automatically for you like scholarship deferment, enrollment in placeholder units, etc. If your school programs don’t peak your interest, don’t worry yet! Look into programs that offer transferrable credit and check with an advisor to make sure it will transfer to your school. You want to study abroad, but you definitely don’t want it to be worth nothing when you get back to your home institution. Well, you’ll still have the experience but you might as well capitalize on your experience by getting credit.
- Decide when you want to go. Is summer your only option? Do you want to go for a typical semester? Do you feel like you need a whole year to really appreciate the culture? I am personally a fan of the summer and semester programs but I was told by a few people that a year is the only way to go. Just decide what’s right for you in your academic program. Maybe your major will only allow you to go in the summer due to a strict structure.
- Narrow it down to a few places you would really like to see for an extended amount of time. Europe is really cool because you can take a train anywhere and see a new city every weekend. If it’s too far to go by train, the notorious Ryanair can get you there cheaply. Me personally? I chose Australia because it wasn’t the typical Europe trip that everyone I know has done. It’s also been on my bucket list for a while so #winwin
- Decide what classes you want to take. Do you want to take general education classes or major classes? If you want to take major classes, you may have to compromise on location in order to go to a place that actually offers the classes you need. If you don’t need anymore humanities or art classes, Europe may be a difficult place to go since most classes they offer are in classics and history. If you just need elective, congratulations you can go anywhere you want! (PSA: You can always go anywhere you want.)
- Take scholarships into account. Will your scholarship transfer? Will it be deferred? What other scholarships are available for the program you are thinking about?
- Do you want to deal with a language barrier? Just something to think about. Australia speaks English and is perfect for the girl who sometimes struggles with just one language, let alone two. If you’re looking to minor in a language, this may be the perfect opportunity to do so!
- Do you want to go with friends or make completely new friends there? This one is pretty self explanatory.I decided to go with a student exchange program, meaning I’m completely on my own. A lot of the people I met here came with more than 10 people from their school. Granted, it’s nice to have people you can rely on when things get tough. Making friends in the first few days can be a stressful experience but to me it was worth it.
|Manly Beach at Sunset|