Things to Consider Before Applying to a Study Abroad Program
Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity that you should take advantage of during your college years. However, there are several factors you should first consider before you jump in.
1. Financial aid
Financial aid options abroad will vary, depending on what university you attend. If you’re currently getting financial aid at your school in the U.S., it’s important to remember that you may not be able to get the same amount at your school abroad. Make sure you do your research before applying to a study abroad program to make sure it still makes sense financially. Is the university abroad the same price as your school in the U.S? Are there additional scholarships available to apply to? What is the value of the currency abroad, compared to U.S. dollars?
Not all classes you take while studying abroad will easily transfer over to your school in the U.S. If studying abroad will cause you to delay graduation, you may want to reconsider if it is truly worth it. If your major is extremely difficult, will you be able to stay on track and focus while studying abroad?
3. Your job
If you currently have a steady job that you enjoy, you should find out if your employer will accept you back once you return from studying abroad. You will also have to give appropriate notice if you plan on leaving.
4. Your pets
If you have a pet, you will need to find arrangements for them. This is possibly an additional cost you should consider.
Passports can take up to a few months to get. If you’re considering studying abroad and don’t already have a passport, make sure you apply for one as early as possible!
6. Possible language barriers
If you are set on studying abroad in a specific country, make sure that you will be able to communicate effectively. Going to study abroad in China with absolutely no knowledge of the Chinese language is probably not going to be your best bet. If that’s a concern, there are plenty of countries you can study abroad in where English is primarily spoken.
7. Your living arrangements
If you are currently in a lease for a home or apartment, will you be able to get out of your lease at the right time or find someone to sublease? Will your roommates be comfortable with this situation? You don’t want to be left paying for an empty apartment!
8. Your resume
If your resume could use some improvement, then you should definitely consider studying abroad. Employers love to see students who have experienced different cultures and environments. Studying abroad also shows that you are adaptable to new situations – something all employers want!
9. Your health insurance
Make sure that the country you are going to has adequate health care, especially if you have any health issues. Also, if you take medications, then you may want to get your prescriptions filled prior to leaving the U.S.
If you are one of the lucky students who gets to study abroad, have fun! If not, don’t worry. There will be plenty of time for traveling once you get that big paycheck one day!