Fall vs. Spring: When Should You Study Abroad?

By Brittany Loeffler on January 21, 2018

One of the greatest opportunities college students can take advantage of is a study abroad program. Living in a different country for a semester won’t only give you incredible new experiences, but help you grow as a person and become more worldly.

A common struggle for students looking to study abroad is deciding when to go. How do you fit leaving your home for a semester into your schedule? What will you miss out on? We’ve come up with a list of things you should consider when deciding which semester you should study abroad.

via Pixabay

Weather

Do you prefer colder weather or warmer weather? Depending on where you decide to study abroad, this may be a factor affecting when you travel. If you will study abroad in Europe and prefer warmer weather, the fall semester would be the best time for you to go. You will be able to catch the last months of summer and enjoy the fall season.

If you prefer snow and colder weather and watching the trees come alive in the spring, then the spring semester is the best time to study abroad. You’ll be able to ride out the winter, maybe have a few snow days, and watch the trees blossom.

If you’re going to study abroad somewhere with consistent weather, such as Australia, this does not apply to you.

Classes Offered

Some classes are only offered during certain semesters both in study abroad programs and on your main campus. If there is a certain class that you must take in order to graduate offered in the fall on main campus, then it would be smart to study abroad in the spring after completing the course.

If this doesn’t seem to be an issue for you, make sure that the classes offered in the study abroad program interest you and will help you gain credit towards your degree.

Graduation

There are often times students don’t think about their schedule in terms of their graduation timeline. When scheduling your study abroad trip, make sure you can fit it into your schedule. It’s best to talk to an academic advisor to see if a semester abroad will push back your graduation date.

carnival, venice, italy, celebration, study abroad, carnavale

via Pixabay

Holidays and Celebrations

Leaving home for a semester means missing out on some holidays and certain celebrations. If you study abroad in the fall, you will miss Thanksgiving and Halloween. If you study abroad in the spring you will miss Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. Figure out which holidays you are okay missing out on that year.

However, you will be able to enjoy new holidays and celebrations when studying abroad. If you decide to study abroad in Europe, there are a ton of celebrations you can participate in. Think of the Vatican during Easter, Oktoberfest in Munich, or Carnival in Venice.

Airfare 

If you are studying abroad on a budget and trying to keep costs down, research airfare prices before you decide when to study abroad. SkyScanner allows travelers to view prices by the cheapest month. This will give you an idea of about how much money you’ll be dropping to get overseas.

Housing Options

The problem with studying abroad in the fall is coming back to America in a rush to find somewhere to live during the spring semester. The pickings are much slimmer and you may end up with some roommates you find undesirable. If you decide to live off-campus, you will most likely be subletting a room from someone.

The housing options on main campus are much better if you decide to study abroad in the spring. You have more time and options to pick from when looking for housing. If you decide to live off-campus, you will most likely have to find someone to sublet your room for the spring semester.

main campus, college, campus, college campus, study abroad, campus traditions

via Pixabay

Campus Traditions

The fear of missing out is strong in millennials. Campus traditions are something to consider when deciding what semester you will study abroad. If you are a huge fan of football season, tailgating, and homecoming, then it is probably better to study abroad during the spring semester. In the spring you’ll miss spring break with your friends and maybe an annual concert your college puts on.

Maybe you are okay with missing out on some of your campus’s traditions one year so you can experience something new in a foreign country.

So, Fall or Spring?

There are many things to consider when deciding to study abroad. Make a list of things that are important to you and that you don’t want to miss out on. Talk to an academic advisor to make sure you will stay on track to graduate. Now that you’ve had some time to consider what you will miss and what you will gain if you study abroad in the fall or spring, which will it be?

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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