Can You Study Abroad Twice?

By Victoria Robertson on April 5, 2018

Studying abroad provides you with new experiences that will last a lifetime. But is one trip enough? Can you study abroad twice?

In short, there’s no reason why you couldn’t. One enriching experience is only made better by a second, so in that sense, you can most definitely study abroad twice. However, there are other considerations to take into account when deciding whether or not a second study abroad experience is right for you.

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First of all, you have to consider the financial implications. Studying abroad costs quite a bit of money, depending on the location you’ve chosen and the duration of the program. Sometimes, a second trip at a similar or higher cost just isn’t financially feasible.

In addition, you want to take into account whether or not you are using student loans to study abroad. It’s one thing to take out loans for your education, but it’s another entirely to rack on loans when you choose to spend a semester or more abroad, as the cost can add up.

For others, housing can become an issue when studying abroad interferes with your lease. It has happened before where students are financially responsible for their rent while they live in another country, which is certainly not ideal and can add up rather quickly.

Perhaps you considered all of these variables in your first study abroad trip, but in considering a second, these have to be reevaluated. Just because one trip was a financial capability does not mean that a second trip will follow suit.

Prior to the second trip, gather the financial details, evaluate your personal situation (both in terms of loans and housing) and then make an educated decision. While there is nothing wrong with studying abroad more than once, you don’t want to break the bank in doing so, which means that weighing pros and cons is in your best interest.

A second consideration to evaluate is the educational need. Oftentimes, study abroad programs are meant to enhance your education so that you are more marketable when it comes time to apply for jobs. That being said, campuses provide more resources to students than are provided off campus.

Would your study abroad experience interfere with any potential internships on campus? Would you miss any career fairs or miss out on opportunities that would only be available to you on campus?

In addition, you need to think about your coursework and whether or not another trip would put you behind when it comes to your general education requirements. Just because you are taking classes relevant to your major doesn’t mean you’ll be on track to graduate when you return.

These are all questions and concerns that can be approached in a conversation with your academic advisor. I recommend arranging a meeting in which you can address any and all educational concerns surrounding a second study abroad trip.

While the experiences you gain by studying abroad can be once in a lifetime, your education needs to come first, especially given the financial and professional implications.

So, for lack of a better phrase, make sure all your ducks are in a row before you commit to another study abroad program.

Finally, when thinking about studying abroad twice, evaluate what you would gain from the experience. More than one trip can be costly and take up a lot of your time on campus, so it’s important that the decision aligns with your goals.

Will there be internship credit provided? Is the trip relevant to your major? Is the location beneficial to your professional goals? For instance, if you are a business major, would this trip help you to gain experience in an international setting?

You want the study abroad trip to work for you in any way possible, and if this trip isn’t doing that, either pass on it or find one that is. Just because you’re visiting another country doesn’t mean that you should be looking at the experience as a big vacation because, while on some level it’s a vacation, on another, you’re still in school and should still be pushing yourself ahead academically.

In other words, don’t let your goals slip away from you just because a trip to Spain sounds like it would be fun.

Just because you can study abroad twice does not mean that you should. There are plenty of items to evaluate prior to committing to a second trip, and that entails a lot of research and self-reflection.

You don’t want to put yourself into a financial dilemma, nor do you want to fall behind in school, but you also don’t want to miss out on opportunities you aren’t going to get elsewhere.

So while the answer is yes, you can study abroad twice, there are still considerations to keep in mind when you’re making your decision.

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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