Home / Blog / College Life / What You Need to Know Before Studying Abroad

What You Need to Know Before Studying Abroad

Two girls in a dorm and packing boxes

Is there a country that you’ve always dreamed of visiting? Well, what’s stopping you? There’s no better time to see the world than when you’re in college. And the best part is, you could even get some college credit for doing it!

Wondering how it’s all possible? Allow us to introduce you to the wonderful world of study abroad programs.

What Is a Study Abroad Program?

The term ‘study abroad’ is kind of self-explanatory. It literally means to study in a different country! In most cases, students will get an opportunity to work, learn, research, and attend classes at a foreign university. These programs can last a few weeks, months, a full semester, or even an entire year.

How to Study Abroad

There are multiple avenues you can take in order to study abroad. And depending on the path you choose, experiences can vary. Wondering how you get started on this process? Well, it all begins with which programyou decide to study abroad with.

Types of Study Abroad Programs:

School sponsored programs

Study abroad opportunities are very popular with American universities, which means that no matter where you’re going to school, there’s bound to be some study abroad opportunities open to you. Here’s how it works:

American universities will form relationships with schools in other countries. This makes it easier for students to enroll in classes, find housing, and assimilate to life in their host country. As an added bonus, most of the credits you receive while abroad will usually transfer back to your home university.

For the most part, you won’t need to be fluent in a particular language in order to qualify for a study abroad program. But certain programs may require some level of proficiency. Basically, if the word “immersive” is in the program title, you should have a decent grasp on the native language. Always read the description for each program to make sure you’re aware of any potential academic or language proficiency requirements.

Third-party programs

Certain study abroad programs can also be organized through a third party. Hey, it’s not as sketchy as it sounds! In fact, many universities partner with these companies to facilitate a safe experience for students. These programs may also result in some transferable credits and are always guaranteed to provide unforgettable experiences.

Depending on the company you travel with, you could do a semester abroad, land an internship opportunity, or partake in experiences that may not be directly related to education or academics. But one thing you can trust is that these programs will have strict itineraries that are sure to fill every second with fun.

Direct enrollment

School is cheaper overseas, so why not study there long term? When you directly enroll with a foreign university, you can spend multiple semesters or even years in your country of choice.

You may be wondering what the difference is between an exchange program and direct enrollment. Basically, you’ll be applying directly to a foreign school and be registered as a full-time student. This means that you will not have to pay tuition for your American school for a while, score!

This is a fantastic opportunity for adventurous spirits that like an extra challenge. This is because you’ll have a lot less guidance than with other study abroad opportunities. You’ll have to put in more work to find resources and assimilate to life abroad.

Who Can Study Abroad?

Basically, anyone! As long as you’re someone enrolled in school, study abroad opportunities are available to you. You don’t even have to be a college student, high schoolers may also get an opportunity to travel abroad, too.

Is Studying Abroad Worth It?

Duh! Overall, the benefits of study abroad programs greatly outweigh the initial cost you’ll have to face. You can expand your horizons, grow as a person, and even potentially raise your GPA! And while it may come with a hefty price tag, there are ways to secure financial assistance. Let’s breakdown the benefits:

Three young women holding school books talk in a circle

Benefits of Studying Abroad:

1. Experience Other Cultures Firsthand

There are so many rich cultures to learn about, and the best way to do so is by experiencing it for yourself! Studying abroad allows you to fully immerse yourself with a culture. You’ll be interacting with, living with, and learning alongside locals. By the end of the experience, you’ll walk away with more knowledge and a wider worldview than before!

2. Affordable Traveling

While study abroad opportunities aren’t exactly cheap, it’s cheaper than trying to fund a trip by yourself! Study abroad programs usually have you pay for the cost of flying to your destination, but they usually help organize affordable living arrangements for students. Overall, it’ll be one of the most cost-effective ways to see the world as a college student.

3. Personal Growth

When you travel to a foreign country, you can be over 20 hours away from home. So, studying abroad is the ultimate test of independence. It’s an effective way to learn how to problem solve, develop interpersonal skills, and grow as a person overall.

4. Better Grades

It turns out that on average, students that study abroad have a higher GPA than those who don’t. And on top of that, students that participate in immersive programs also end up with higher language proficiency than their peers.

How Much Does It Cost to Study Abroad?

You may be wondering how much studying abroad costs. And the answer is: it depends!Even study abroad programs on the cheaper side will still be a few thousand dollars at least. But there are ways to save. The easiest way to receive funding would be through scholarships.

Study Abroad Scholarships

You can receive scholarships through your school, government programs, or other organizations. This is mostly for students in financial need that are also underrepresented in the traditional study abroad population. This could include first generation college students, students of underrepresented communities, or students who are already receiving financial aid for their education.

Wondering where to start looking for scholarships? Try starting by connecting with your university’s study abroad staff to see what financial aid is available for you. Depending on how much you can receive from your school, consider branching out and looking at foundations like Fund for Education Abroad.

Where to Study Abroad

Wondering which countries are the best places to study abroad? Well, it depends on what you’re after. The United Kingdom is the most popular cluster of countries for jet-setting students. This is mostly because there is no language barrier, similar social customs, and an expansive history to explore.

If you’re looking to see as many countries as possible, maybe somewhere in central Europe is a better option for you. That way, neighboring countries are just a brief train ride away. Or, if you’re interested in wildlife and conservation, maybe you’re better off going somewhere like Australia, Argentina, or Costa Rica. In places like these, you’re sure to learn about unique ecosystems and experience some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world.

Looking to immerse yourself in rich culture? Then you may be interested in programs located in Africa or Asia. From the majestic architecture of China to the lively markets in Morocco, you can really expand your worldview by studying in countries that contrast greatly from the US.

Girl sitting on a stack of boxes

No matter where you decide to study abroad, Collegeboxes is here to help! If you need to store your stuff somewhere safe for a semester, we got your back. Or if you need help shipping your stuff overseas, we help with that too! No matter where you need to go, Collegeboxes can help get you there.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to see the world, sign up for Collegeboxes today!

Sign Up Today!