There are many ways of studying abroad and not many students know it. Often, those who are on the fence about making a decision and finally taking that leap are intimidated by the level of commitment it takes. Perhaps they find the prospect of studying in another country attractive but also have a programme at home that they are passionate about. Are there ways to reconcile these things?
Fortunately, this is a problem that many have had and there exist solutions for it. In this article, we will delve into the different ways in which you can be an international student. All of these will allow you to experience student life in another country while varying in their duration and overall commitment level. Hopefully, one of these should work for you!
You do not need to spend a year or longer of your life studying abroad. Many universities around the world offer to option to spend just a single semester doing so, which translates to roughly 16 weeks. If you are looking for ways of studying abroad that do not require too much of an investment, this option might very well be perfect for you.
One semester may not seem like a long time but is more than enough to meet some new friends, pick up a foreign language to a respectable degree, and gain unique knowledge that might have otherwise been unavailable to you. This bite-sized taste of the studying abroad experience can enrich your life and make you a more vibrant student while not taking too much time or focus away from your primary studies.
Although it is a major decision, going abroad to study exchange offers several benefits. Participating in an exchange program will typically still net you the crucial college credits and grades that go toward your degree. Although undergraduate exchange programs are popular, graduate students can also benefit greatly from them as the exchange may provide the chance to pursue a joint or dual degree program that leads to the awarding of a second degree or accreditation. The international office at your university should be able to inform you of your options.
Other students looking for alternative ways of studying abroad might also opt for this and you would thus be sharing the experience with a student from your target university. After all, the most prevalent student exchange program plans involve two partner universities agreeing to exchange one student for another foreign student. As an alternative, there are numerous independent businesses and groups that can make these arrangements on your behalf.
If you know that you want to study abroad but are not sure if you want to relocate there long-term, a faculty-led programme can be a fantastic fit for you. A faculty member from your university or college is in charge of these brief academic study-abroad opportunities. The programmes are made to complement your degree and give you chances to continue learning in a foreign nation; frequently, the trip includes enjoyable immersive activities. Programs run by faculty members are intended to help you get a deeper understanding of your subjects, expose you to different cultures, and, in certain situations, earn additional credits toward your degree.
These programmes can sometimes include volunteering opportunities and are likewise a potential way to spend your spring or summer breaks, making sure you do not lose out on actual university time.
Finally, we have decided to include this last option for those of you who feel that simply spending a year or two abroad is not enough. This is definitely the most intense of all the ways of studying abroad and demands a huge commitment on your part.
It takes a lot of preparation to study abroad in this capacity, and ideally you will have begun looking into your possibilities several years prior to the deadline for applications. Your trip could succeed or fail based on your understanding of the associated expenditures and available student loans. It is imperative to look into the kinds of housing you can afford, both on and off campus, and to get a sense of the social and cultural landscape of the area. It is the most intense and formative way to become an international student and something to opt for only if you know that it is something you truly want. Of course, it also comes with the most benefits.
This is the question you should be asking yourself. None of the ways we have presented here are really better than the others. It all depends on your personal needs and availability. Some students may feel that they just want a taste of studying abroad in which case spending just a semester somewhere will be perfectly enough. Conversely, there are others who will refuse to stop short of getting an entire degree.
Furthermore, there are lots of organizations which offer their own individual options for studying abroad, so you can seek them out as potential options as well. And, as always, read up on some of our other articles or contact us directly for help with any additional questions you might have!