Finding the right study abroad program can be a long and difficult process with all the options given. Here are some tips to make this decision a little easier:
First off, start your program research early! Starting about a year before you would like to travel gives you plenty of time to prepare. I originally looked at a program in Italy and another in England a year before I decided on Ireland.
Before you start looking at programs, consider what you want studying abroad to look like for you:
Figure out what you are willing to pay for the program, but don’t forget about scholarships.
Determine what length of program you are interested in and when you want to travel. I opted for a 2.5 week summer class so I did not spend a whole semester away from family and friends.
Decide what area(s) of the world you might want to go to. Also, determine if you would need to learn a new language.
Look at food and housing situations in areas you are interested in. Some programs provide room and board, but others do not.
Think about how you want to be learning. The program I did was not in a classroom at all, but others may have a set structure with homework similar to a normal school week in Alabama. Keep in mind this does not make one program better than the other, it just changes how you learn the material.
Start your research on the Education Abroad program search based on what you want your program to look like. There are so many programs on their website to choose from. They can be related to your major or minor, but there is also the option with certain programs to venture outside of what you are getting your degree in. Keep your options open!
Start narrowing down the programs that you like and take a close look at them. Evaluate how the program aligns with what you want studying abroad to be.
Once you start seriously considering a program, talk to students and professors who have done the program if possible. Go to info sessions when available. Get in touch with the Education Abroad office to make sure it is possible. Talking to people with experience in the program you are looking at is one of the best ways to see if it is a good fit.
You do not have to decide on your program right away. Take your time and consider your motivations for wanting to study abroad when making a decision.