Be a true explorer

4 Things to Consider Before You go to Study Abroad

Guest Article Submitted by Pepper Givens

A great way to learn while in school is through traveling to distant, unfamiliar places with a reputable education program. However, this can be an overwhelming confusing step to take, as there is no shortage of options available to current, interested students. So, if you think you’d like to try your hand at studying abroad but aren’t quite sure where to start, first consider the following.

What Program Should I Choose

This is honestly completely up to you. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer for this, as everyone has their own goals and ambitions, but a great place to start doing some research is StudyAbroad.com. Whether you’re seeking a summer program, internship, service work or more, you are sure to find relevant options here. But let this just serve as a starting point. If it leads you to a program that peaks your interest, pursue it further by going to its respective website and even reaching out to its leaders and organizers. The more information you gather in these initial phases, the less chance you run of wasting valuable time and money on a program that was nothing like it seemed.

How much Will it Cost

Once you’ve settled on a program, it’s important to ask yourself how much it’s going to cost. Expenses vary depending on destination, mission and purpose, so be sure you have a clear, accurate understanding of the financial obligation attached to this experience. Double check whether or not room and board are included, as well as meal plans. What could be worse than being in a foreign land with no way to buy something to eat? Talk about a scary thought. Also, inquire about any potential financial aid opportunities or supportive funding for students who qualify. Sometimes programs offer this feature.  You’ll never know unless you ask—so go for it!

Does the Overall Mission Meet Your Needs?

Before signing up for anything, ask yourself again if this is something you really want to do. Not that it’s a one way ticket to an exotic land, but it is still a hefty commitment, and backing out last-minute—or even once you get there—can create hassle and headache for everyone involved.  So, if you’re hoping to do mission work, make sure that’s what you’re signing up for. Or, if it’s environmental work you’re seeking, don’t sign up with a medicinal troupe of aspiring doctors. Since you will most likely be involved in the activities for an extended period of time, you want to ensure it is something you are passionate about.

Verify What You’ll Need

If you’ve successfully found and selected a program you love, don’t think your work is done. Now comes the time to make sure you have everything you’ll need to make the trip a complete success. Some programs require participants to bring very specific materials, so you’ll want to make sure you have all of those long before you depart. If you have any questions, double check with your specific group’s organizers.

While some of these tips might seem obvious and elementary, they can easily slip one’s mind while they are distractedly pursuing these aspirations. It never hurts to be extra-prepared and ready for whatever might come your way.

Pepper Givens is a freelance writer whose foremost passion is writing for her blog about education. While her primary writing focus is trends in higher ed, Pepper also enjoys writing about personal finance, parenting, sustainable living, small business strategies, and more. She can be reached for questions or comments at pepper.givens@gmail.com.

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