General chatter - Studying abroad?

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08-01-2013, 05:22 PM
So I am considering doing a summer abroad next summer but I have no idea where... well some ideas but nothing concrete. My school has a few arranged trips but mostly the student has to find their own program.

Has anyone here ever done a summer or semester abroad? Where did you go? Was it through your school or did you find the program yourself? If you found it yourself what did you use to find it? lastly, Was the experience worth the cost?

Thanks all!

08-01-2013, 05:36 PM
Love this topic! So, full disclosure: I never actually studied abroad through an American university. However, I lived in Finland for two years (teaching English) after I graduated with my BA, and while I was there, I took some classes at the local community college. I also took a three-week backpacking trip (that gave me credits for Field Biology, Field Biology Lab, and Desert Biology) one summer through my college that was out-of-state. Both experiences were completely amazing, and I would definitely encourage you to study abroad if you can swing it financially.

I think that living abroad can open you up to an incredible range of new experiences that you might not even be anticipating at the current moment, and living abroad through a college program has the potential to hook you up with a built-in social life with lots of specific supports available for international students. Finding a program through your own university is the easiest way to make sure that you will actually receive full credit for all of your coursework, but there are lots of great programs out there that you can look into on your own (I'll come back with links later). Does your school have a study abroad fair? That might help you figure out a direction. The key is to thoroughly review your program with your university before you go, so that you don't face any surprises about credit transfers when you return home. If you let me know what you're studying, I'd definitely be up for linking you to some specific programs. I ultimately decided not to study abroad because I lived overseas before and after college, but I researched it thoroughly and sort of regret not having done it.

Good luck with your search!

08-01-2013, 06:02 PM
My daughter has studied abroad a fair bit. I live in Canada. Here, students have the opportunity to do some of their high school credits in Universities in Europe (although not many people know that). When she was in high school (about 15 years ago), she did one high school credit at the University of Paris and another at Oxford University...both during the summer. She found these opportunities with the help of her high school counselor.

When she graduated high school, she attended Queen's University here in Canada. Queen's has an international campus called Herstmonceux Castle, located just outside of London, U.K. So, she did her first year of University studies in the U.K. She found this opportunity on her own.

She then went on to get a law degree in Canada, and worked for both the Canadian and U.K. Governments. Following a few years of work, she went back to do her Master's degree at Oxford University in the U.K. And she's now doing her PhD at Oxford. She also found these opportunities on her own.

Was it worth the cost? She would certainly say so, since I paid the bills! :dizzy: But, I would agree. Of course, it's all relative. I'm fortunate enough to have a good job, and money's not a huge issue.

Then again, my daughter's fiance (who's also from Canada) also did his Master's at Oxford and he's now working there. His family wasn't able to help him financially. So he worked and saved the money. He too would say it was worth it.

My only regret is that my daughter and her fiance might end up staying in the U.K., rather than returning to Canada, which would make me sad. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they return to Canada when my daughter finishes her PhD...but, if they don't, I guess I'll be visiting the U.K. a lot!

08-01-2013, 06:22 PM
Nienna -Thanks! It sounds like you are pretty knowledgeable in this area :) I am a psychology major, literature minor so any scholarships I apply for through my school have to transfer back to one of these subjects. However, while it would be helpful financially to meet that requirement I am not 100% dedicated to that idea, if I find a program that I love enough I honestly won't worry too much about the credits transferring back properly or it being in the right subject. This is mostly because I will be only 1 or 2 semesters from graduating when summer starts and once I complete my required courses I will have at least 6 additional credits over the required so whatever I take will end up being additional credits anyway. Other subjects I would consider is photography, or business-marketing/advertising/PR. I am planning to get my masters in marketing possible dual ms/mba so any business classes might give me a jump start in that knowledge.

Tuscany Wow lucky daughter that you were able to foot the bill! I will most likely be footing it myself with some family help possibly... once I have a program and costs I will announce it and may end up having family say anything from 'have fun' to 'oh we will pay' they are unpredictable that way lol I think it is great that your daughter was able to study in so many places! I would love to do a whole semester or even year abroad but I would miss my DH way too much, i think a 6-8 week summer program is all I could handle and that will be tough enough! (Tangent-I can't even imagine how military wives handle longer separations without going crazy, they definitely have my respect!) Did your daughter apply to these schools programs through the school itself? or did she use some sort of matching program? If they do stay there at least that means fun travel for you! and I am sure they will come visit as well!

08-01-2013, 06:41 PM
I did a semester abroad in Japan back in 1986. It was the highlight of my college career, and one of the best times in my life. Go for it!

08-01-2013, 06:49 PM
I did some summer programs abroad in various parts of Europe and it was hands down the best times of my life. I made incredible friends, I feel like an international person now and can hold conversations with others about similar experiences. Plus, when I travel back to those countries I always have friends to see and a place to stay. Don't think, run and do it!

08-01-2013, 07:29 PM
I spent a semester abroad in Queensland, Australia. I did a program organized through a third party, because my university did not have any programs in Aus. I had some additional paperwork on the front end than those going through one of our university's programs, but not too bad. The biggest problem I ran into with going through a third party organization was when I came back. The program I went through (Australearn) sent my transcripts and their evaluation of the transcript to my home university for me. What no one at my home university told me, was that they only accepted international evaluations from Joseph Silny and Associates. So by the time I found out that the evaluation I had was unacceptable, I had missed the scholarship deadline for that semester. Very frustrating! So if you go through a third party organization, just be sure to ask your university if they require an evaluation of your international transcripts, and if so, what companies they accept.

As far as how I found the program I went to, my university held a study abroad fair every fall. Going into it, I hadn't even decided where yet. I picked up like a million brochures, took them back to my dorm, and poured over them for hours. It was so exciting.

On it being worth the money, I think so, but I must admit, my parents paid for it. I definitely would have still found a way to go if they hadn't, it just would have had to be a cheaper program.

08-01-2013, 08:04 PM
Tuscany Did your daughter apply to these schools programs through the school itself? or did she use some sort of matching program?

In the case of the high school credits, her school gave her a list of available options (universities/courses) and she picked.

In the case of Queen's and Oxford...she decided she wanted to go to each school based on her own research, and she applied directly to the international program at Queen's and, later, applied directly to Oxford.

If you're currently in university, I would have thought your university would have knowledge of programs at other international universities and you could speak to a counselor for guidance/suggestions. That would be true here in Canada, although perhaps the U.S. is different.

08-01-2013, 09:25 PM
If you're currently in university, I would have thought your university would have knowledge of programs at other international universities and you could speak to a counselor for guidance/suggestions. That would be true here in Canada, although perhaps the U.S. is different.

I'm sure they do, I haven't gone in to talk to them yet, I've only looked on my school's website and surfed around a couple of the links they provided for matching companies. I'm planning to go in tomorrow or next week and see who I would need to talk to and if they available to see me so I can get more information.

Aclai4067 I will definitely ask them about that thanks! I never would have thought about that!

Thanks everyone! This is definitely helping me start to get ideas of what to look into! Anyone else feel free to chime in, I am sure there are a million things I am not even thinking of yet

08-01-2013, 10:04 PM
I did a summer study abroad in Florence during undergrad for an Art History class. It was hands down one of the best experiences in my much better than learning about art from a textbook or the Internet. The history we studied was RIGHT THERE and my professors were amazing :)

I had a great time, learned a lot, and was in Florence long enough to really get to know it. The summer session was so much more affordable for me too; had I only had whole semester session options I wouldn't have been able to go.