Do you fancy faraway destinations and enjoy traveling? Do you want to feel a place rather than just reading about it or looking at a picture? Have you heard from a friend about that terrific experience going overseas on a study abroad program? Has perhaps even your advisor suggested that it might be useful for you to spend a semester elsewhere?
Answering ‘yes’ to any of those questions indicates that going overseas during your college or university years may be a beneficial idea.
Are You Pondering How to Realize Your Study Abroad Dream?
The thought of mingling with an international crowd at an overseas university can be exciting and a real advancement of your academic and professional career. But you want to make sure that you get the best possible experience before venturing into the unknown.
Here is a framework many used before you to gain clarity in a complicated decision-making process. After all, the study abroad program options are quite endless.
The ancient questioning framework of the Five Ws is a time-tested, proven way in information gathering or problem-solving.
The Five Ws are: Why What, Where, Who, and When. To also come up with an action plan, the ‘How’ completes the Ws at the end.
Let’s use the Five Ws to shed light on what you should consider when selecting the study abroad program that meets your needs, so you don’t feel sorry later:
Why Do You Want to Study Abroad?
Being able to answer this question precisely will lead you to insights for the remaining four issues.
Do you want to learn a new language and immerse yourself in the corresponding culture at the same time?
Are you looking for a culturally diverse learning environment and have the opportunity to attend courses that are not part of the curriculum at your home university?
Is your goal to explore a new place and grow as a person and have a somewhat relaxed study?
Or do you want to have a tightly structured study program to focus on academic progress?
What Courses Do You Intend to Take While Studying Abroad?
Choosing the right classes can be quite a task. If you know what you want to study makes it easy for you to decide where to go and apply. Want to master music? Consider Germany. Fancy literature? London might well be your choice. How about history? Why not study among the ancient Greek sites in Athens? If Japanese is your passion, you guessed it and got the drive.
Some programs specialize in offering only a particular field of study, while others offer a whole undergraduate range of classes.
Studying overseas is a holistic experience that affects every aspect of your life while you reside in the foreign country of your choice. So carefully blend all those aspects into the overall experience you desire.
Studying Roman history is magical when you can wander among the historical sites of that era. Submerging yourself in music? Experience how Wagner must have felt in the concert hall during his days. Seek the most authentic experience for your study abroad program!
Where Do You Want to Study?
Numerous countries are keen to receive new students from abroad. Some famous and well-known destinations to study include USA, England, France, Italy, Spain, and Australia.
However, an increasing number of students are choosing different countries such as Germany, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand and India.
Knowing what you want to study can help you decide where to go. Especially if your god is to immerse into a foreign culture, one of the less frequented countries could be a good choice for you.
To Which Study Abroad Program Do You Want to Apply?
Many universities have unique program providers that allow students to pick from a multitude of places and classes. These program providers will work closely with your university’s advisor to help you select the courses you need and prepare you for departure.
Websites like Study Abroad Directory allow students to review programs and pick the one you feel is appropriate for you.
When Can You Go to Join a Study Abroad Program?
Timing depends on your personal life: Do you have a job and financial responsibilities? What about your family and friends?
Take a good look at your situation, match it to your university’s calendar, and conclude when would be the best time to go overseas. You also have to figure out for how long you can be studying abroad.
Don’t only focus on year-long or semester programs, also consider shorter programs during a summer session.
How Can You Make Your Study Abroad Dream Happen?
Now let’s talk about money and here is the good news: Study abroad isn’t only for wealthy students. In fact, it’s easier than you might think.
A little-known secret is that financial aid by your government may increase when a student gets accepted to study abroad. So if you currently do receive financial assistance for your university program, you might well be able to get a top up when you go abroad. Additionally, there is a multitude of scholarships and grants available for the exclusive purpose of studying abroad.
Make this YOUR Study Abroad Program
One final word of advice: Be honest with yourself! Studying abroad is not about what others want you to do or be, but what you genuinely choose to be and do in your life. Touch base with your inner feelings and take an honest decision.
Not sure yet after applying the Five Ws what to study abroad? Relax and take your time, don’t try to force a decision just because all your friends are heading overseas. Allow yourself the time to find your honest answers to the Five Ws and the ‘How’ will undoubtedly follow.