Most of Your Study Abroad Experience Academically
Aside from adding a unique cultural experience to a college resume, students who study abroad will also leave with an expanded world view and lifelong friends. But if students aren’t careful, their academic experiences could be overshadowed by cultural shock and other distractions.
Whether it’s homesickness or the desire to explore, students who lose sight of why they went on a study abroad program can end up missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Fortunately, students who plan ahead, stay disciplined and maintain a balance between work and play can counter the effects of Study Aboard Tips culture shock and still make the most of their study abroad experience academically.
The first step is choosing the right program. A student should choose a program that aligns with their academic goals and offers courses they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to take in their home university. Tanya Puccio, a biology and Hispanic studies double major with a chemistry minor at Virginia Wesleyan College, knew she wanted to build her Spanish language skills in Mexico and take science classes not available back home. Thankfully, there are more opportunities than ever for chemistry majors and other STEM students to study abroad in their field of choice.
Make the Most of Your Study Abroad Experience Academically
After a student selects a program, it’s important that they keep their focus on school and continue to attend class, do their homework and study for exams. In addition, students should be sure to check in with their advisors and professors before leaving to make sure they are up to date on any additional requirements for their study abroad program. This includes ensuring that the courses taken overseas will transfer back to their home university, and that any credits earned overseas will count towards their degree.
It’s also a good idea for students to speak with their financial aid advisor to make sure they are aware of any potential scholarships or grants available to them that could help cover the cost of their study abroad experience. It’s not uncommon for a study abroad experience to be more expensive than expected, and it’s important that students budget carefully, take advantage of any discounts or freebies that are available to them, and keep track of deadlines.
Lastly, it’s important for students to make the most of their time abroad by taking full advantage of everything their study abroad destination has to offer. This may mean signing up for a cooking course, taking a dance lesson or learning to surf. The more students push themselves out of their comfort zone, the more they will get out of their study abroad experience.
Finally, students who study abroad should be sure to document their experiences and share them with their family, friends and social media followers! This is a great way to make sure that the memories from their study abroad experience will last a lifetime.