Selecting a program
There are many decisions that go into a choosing a study abroad program. We highly suggest you attend a general study abroad info session and make an appointment with a study abroad advisor to help you in this process. In the meantime, here are some general tips:
It is not just where, but WHAT you want to study:Traveling is much cheaper and easier than study abroad. Make sure you pick your destination with what you want or need to study in mind. Some of our sites are better for some POEs than others are. Also, at some sites it is not possible to study a variety of subjects as they require you to stick with one or maybe two departments.
It is not just what, but HOW you want to study:Our sites vary from field study focused, to traditional classroom, to small educational centers near universities. Some universities are large while others are small. Some are private and some are public. Finding a good academic fit for you is important and sets you up for success.
It is WHEN you want to study:Most people go abroad during their Junior year. However, for some POEs, sophomore year or fall semester senior year makes more sense. Also, you may be one of those that is trying to choose between semester and summer programs. Please consult your advisors and our office about this. You should study abroad when it best fits your academic plans and if you then have a choice, read more below.
Consider the SETTING around you:Are you someone looking for a big city or a small quiet town? Although we pick our destinations with safety and comfort in mind, some of our sites are in areas with high pollution and certainly more crime than Huntingdon. Some places are more temperate than others and if you know you are someone who may struggle a bit with homesickness, it may be worth considering which season you want to arrive (winter and dark vs. summer and light).
Level of SUPPORT and INDEPENDENCE:You may very well be that adventurous sort who wants to go somewhere unusual and be completely on your own in a setting that is more than just foreign to you. You may also be someone who has never been abroad or on an airplane and who is not even sure that you can go abroad no matter how much support you have. Most people are somewhere on the continuum between those two situations. Our programs vary in the amount of support and familiarity they will offer. Although we encourage you to push yourself so that you will come out having accomplished things you only dreamed of, every person has that "next step" that is right for them. Take THAT step, not a higher one, not a lower one, and come talk to us when you get a little nervous about it. It is part of the process! Both our staff and peer advisors understand this!
LANGUAGE requirements:Yes, some of our sites require a certain amount of language background and what an amazing opportunity those are to truly learn another language while studying your own POE. If you are worried about not being ready for those, come talk with us and we may be able to help you make a plan to get there. Also, talk to previous study abroad students (International Peer Advisors) about what exactly is required and visit the world languages faculty who are also often are extremely knowledgeable about these sites.
You may also be surprised that you can study in English in many of our non-English speaking destinations, including Japan, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, China, and Greece, but you can also study language at some of these sites with no or very little previous language background. Some exchanges in Germany, Mexico, and France have this as a special “track” and is often a way for somebody with a POE that is difficult to combine with language to actually do both. And don’t forget about our summer language programs as they can be used as a springboard for a semester or simply to get a taste or further expertise in a language without interfering with your regular semesters.