To Study Abroad or Not: How to Decide

One of the many benefits of college is the ability to study abroad. Many colleges offer summer, semester and year long programs. If you go to a large enough college, you most likely will find the perfect fit for a study abroad program. Now, the question is, do you actually want to study abroad or not? Going abroad is a big step into adulthood and there are a lot of factors into whether or not it is a good option for you. I had to do a lot of thinking, when deciding to study abroad. Here are a few questions that will help you decide if studying abroad is right for you.

Choosing whether or not to study abroad is hard. Here are some questions to help make the decision easier.

To Study Abroad Or Not

Is there a Location or Program You are Passionate About Studying Abroad in?

It’s important that you actually care and have a passion for wherever you are studying abroad. If you have no interest in the location or culture, the experience will not be as meaningful. In fact, it could potentially be a waste of time. Before you decide to embark on a study abroad adventure, make sure to ask yourself, will I actually be happy living in the city? Am I interested in exploring the country I am in? If the answer to these questions is no, maybe you should look for a different program. Or maybe even not study abroad.

Would You Want to do a Summer, Semester or Year-Long Program?

Many colleges offer a wide variety of locations to study abroad. Are you willing to travel for a semester or for a whole year? Do you want to do a shorter summer program? You need to know how much time you’d be willing to stay away from your family and home country. If you would only be interested in traveling abroad for a short period of time, maybe a vacation, instead of a study abroad program, would be best for you.

Do You Want to Experience a New Culture?

Many study abroad programs are meant to challenge your thinking of the world and introduce you to new cultures and experiences. Many places do not hold the same comforts of your home country and boast different styles of living. If you are uninterested in living and exploring a new culture, studying abroad will not be as beneficial to you.

Are You Willing to Be Far Away from Family?

Many study abroad programs are located far away from your home country. They take long flights to get to. This means being far away from family and from the comforts of home. If you have a close connection with your family and do not want to spend a long time apart from them, studying abroad may not be the best option for you. Now, many people who study abroad do get homesick, on occasion, it’s completely normal. If you feel you’d be so homesick you would not be able to enjoy studying abroad at all, you may not want to go.

Are You Willing to Pay for All the Expenses?

On top of school tuition there are many other expenses when studying abroad. These include airplane tickets to get to your study abroad destination as well as travel expenses. You most likely will want to travel during your time studying abroad, which can come at a steep price. Also, if you do not have your passport prior to studying abroad, getting one can be quite expensive as well. If you do not want to spend money on all the study abroad expenses, staying in your home country may be the best option.

Do You Want to Fill Out the Application?

The majority of study abroad programs require you to fill out an application. At my school, some programs are notorious for being impossible to get into. Others, if you applied, you are guaranteed to get in.  It all depends. Really, it’s up to you to determine whether answering short questions and filling out an application is beneficial to you. Also, you need to make sure you are willing to be rejected. The majority of the time, if you don’t get into your first choice, you will at least be accepted into another program. You must be prepared to not get your first choice. If you can’t bear the thought of filling out an application or getting rejected, studying abroad may not be for you.

Studying abroad can be an amazing experience. However, it is not for everyone. If you asked yourself some of the above questions and you realized you aren’t interested in a study abroad program, that’s perfectly alright. It all depends on what you want to do. And you do you, boo.

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