For some of us, our major’s requirements are very demanding to the point where studying abroad will not fit into our busy semester schedules, so going abroad for a summer is a better option. Others may want to further enrich their studies by taking a whole semester (or year!) abroad. One of the first decision steps on the path to studying abroad is deciding when to go.
First look at where you may want to go. Some majors may only have a few choices of universities that offer a program, but others can have several options worldwide. Be sure to compare each university’s course catalog for both semesters and the summer to make sure it is a match for you. Some universities have a completely different course catalog for each semester!
If you have several options and are open to many places, look into the dates and lengths of the different programs. Europe’s semesters are very close to ours whereas most Asian countries have very different semester lengths. Their spring semester may not start until March and end until late July! On the other hand, Australia’s seasons are opposite from ours so keep in mind that our second semester is their first and their summer break is during our winter!
Once you figure out a few locations that are right for you, look at each region’s climate and weather patterns. Would you rather be in warm Greece during the spring semester or be in Costa Rica during its hot, rainy season in the summer? If you don’t want to experience any more Indiana snow and the cold, then maybe studying abroad in the spring is right for you.
Lastly, think about what you will be experiencing abroad and what you will be missing at home. Will you have a lengthy spring holiday vacation or no fall break? Will you be home in time for a sibling’s graduation? What holidays are celebrated abroad that you can participate in while you are there? These types of questions may be a deal-breaker for some so think wisely.
For some extra help, be sure to pick up one of our Program Comparison Worksheets in our office.
Good luck on your search!