What to Know About Short-Term Summer Study Abroad Sessions

By Victoria Robertson on May 5, 2018

Short-term, summer study abroad sessions can be a more convenient means of experiencing study abroad. In fact, many students opt for these summer trips in hopes of partaking in study abroad culture without jeopardizing their coursework or plans during the academic year.

So what exactly do you need to know before you sign up for a short-term, summer study abroad session? Here are three things you’ll want to take note of:

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1. They can be a financial burden

First and foremost, study abroad trips come with a price tag, and summer sessions can be especially high cost. Not only are you required to shell out the financials for the trip itself (including lodging, airfare, meals and excursions), you may also be responsible for additional course fees, as summer trips don’t fall in your academic tuition for the school year. This essentially means that you are taking summer courses, which means you typically pay a per-credit-hour fee.

In addition, summer travel is typically much more expensive (in terms of airfare) than other times of year. Again, this depends on the location of your choice, but high ticket prices can deeply cut into your trip’s budget.

Finally, if you’re a student that relies on student loans, keep in mind that a summer session would require new loan applications, as it’s not included in your academic tuition for the previous school year. So you can either budget out your year to save enough money for your trip or, if not possible, you will have to apply for a summer session loan to cover the cost of your trip.

Of course, this cost will vary by school and the study abroad trip that you’ve chosen, but consider the fact that a short-term, summer study abroad session will still end up costing you quite a bit of cash.

2. Weather plays a part

Just because it’s summer here doesn’t mean that you’re going to be traveling to summer destinations. In fact, for many countries, seasons mirror ours, meaning summer here is winter elsewhere. So if you’re looking at Australia for a summer trip, keep in mind that you’ll be experiencing their winter months and all that entails.

In addition, hurricane season and other environmental factors should play into your decision if you’re considering a country that’s in a high-risk zone. While inclement weather is always a possibility, you certainly don’t want to commit to a trip that isn’t a safe option, either.

And last, but certainly not least, weather can negatively impact any flight plans or excursions that you have. For instance, if the summer session of your choice is late in the summer through the beginning of the school year, you could be cutting it close when it comes to moving back in and preparing for the year to come. So if you already have an apartment etc. set up, you’re good to go, but if you still have to move in and you have a flight back that’s been delayed, you could run into quite a few problems at the beginning of your academic year.

Again, these are hypothetical scenarios, but ones that it pays to consider.

3. There’s no time off

While study abroad trips can feel like fun vacations, they aren’t always that way. In fact, many of these trips require rigorous coursework that leaves you little time to venture out on your own and explore the country you’re staying in. So, depending on the reasoning behind your study abroad trip, this could be a major problem. Some trips are focused more on sight-seeing and cultural immersion, while others are highly focused on studying and coursework.

So, during a short-term, summer abroad session, you may find yourself working more than you signed up for, which means there’s a higher likelihood of feeling burnt out when you return to school in the fall, especially if you’re used to having summers off to relax.

Some students need a break in their academic calendar to stay fresh, while others are perfectly fine staying busy year round. Just understand the way you work before you sign up for a trip that’s going to set you back. In other words, if you need that break, there’s no shame in waiting for a study abroad session that’s a better fit for your schedule/habits.

Short-term, summer study abroad sessions are a great addition to your overall college experience, so long as you understand what’s ahead of you. Like any study abroad trip, these sessions take commitment and planning, so it’s essential that you understand these six items prior to signing off on any trips.

That being said, these trips are once in a lifetime experiences that, if you’re able to dedicate the time and finances, you’re not going to want to miss.

Happy travels everyone!

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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