4 Tips That Will Help You Decide When to Study Abroad

By Alicia Geigel on December 10, 2017

During your college career, there are plenty of opportunities to expose yourself to new ideas, beliefs, and cultures. Some people join campus clubs and organizations that cater to their interests, while others seek to experience a new world outside of what their university has to offer. Studying abroad is a great way to experience a new culture, go outside your comfort zone, make new friends, and have memories that will last a lifetime. There are many things to consider when thinking about studying abroad like: what country you want to study in, which university you want to study at, which friends/classmates you want to travel with, and perhaps most importantly, when you want to go.

Deciding when to study abroad is not an easy decision, as you have to consider your current/future schedules and any potential conflicts studying abroad could pose depending on the time you leave. Though coming to a decision may be tough, studying abroad is definitely worth it in the end. Are you a college student considering studying abroad but have absolutely no clue when to go? Having a hard time thinking about which semester of what year you want to venture out to a new world of learning? Check out my four tips below that will guide and assist you with your decision on when to do it!

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1. Consider Timing in Terms of Jobs/Internships: An important element in considering when to study abroad is potentially missing out on job and internship opportunities. Meaning, if you study abroad during your spring semester, you may have trouble applying for summer jobs/internships. The same goes for the fall semester as well. Though these are thoughts that would be in your mind as a student anyway, since you will not be in the country during your time abroad, internship and job applications are important too, so be sure to think about this when considering studying abroad!

2. Enhance Not Interfere: Studying abroad is supposed to be a fun and memorable experience you can enjoy while at college concentrating on obtaining your degree. When trying to decide on the timing of studying abroad, be sure to plan your time abroad with consideration to any requirements and courses you need to take to stay on track toward graduating. If you make the mistake of not reviewing your requirements with an advisor or counselor, you may end up delaying your graduation, which can result in more time spent in college and more money out of your pocket, which would really suck!

Image via Pexels

3. Consider the Classic Junior Year: Most students decide to study abroad their junior year because most core requirements and GenEds have already been completed, leaving you able to just focus on class requirements for your major. Though you do not have to study abroad during your junior year, for most students it makes sense because it is like the middle ground of their college career — the bulky, burdensome courses of freshman and sophomore year are done with and the intense, grounded work of senior year has not come yet. Keep this in mind when evaluating the perfect time to go for you!

4. Think Outside the Box: Perhaps for a variety of circumstances you cannot or do not want to study abroad your junior year, that’s totally cool! Many people study abroad during their senior year and some even do it their sophomore year. Studying abroad as a sophomore is certainly possible, the only element to consider are those core requirements and GenEds.

According to Natalie SouthWick of GoOverseas.com, “Many programs still require students to fulfill a number of classes during sophomore year, and these are often prerequisites for going abroad, so you have to make sure that you’ve done everything necessary before jetting off.” On the other hand, going abroad during your senior year is completely possible as well! Most students have almost all of their general requirements completed and almost all of their core major requirements done as well, leaving for free time and fun electives. Because of this, studying abroad during the fall semester of your senior year is a great opportunity if you are on track with your schedule and can afford to do so (literally and academically).

The biggest component to evaluate when deciding on a time to study abroad is if you will be on time to graduate and if your credits are transferable. According to BestColleges.com, “If the study abroad program you are interested in applying to does not result in earned academic credit, you should consult with your advisor to find out more about how the experience will complement your degree plan and/or potentially delay your planned graduation date.” Whether or not you decide to study abroad, you can create memorable college experiences no matter where you are. If you do happen to decide to make the journey and go out of your comfort zone, good luck and have fun!

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
social justice advocate, avid lover of 90s fashion, the proud mama of a yorkie named "nugget", feminist, body positive, weight trainer in progress, classic rock fanatic, and reality TV addict! if you want to learn more about me, visit my profile and check out my articles!

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