Studying abroad can be one of the most enriching aspects of your college career. Beyond earning academic credit, you’ll broaden your perspectives, gain independence, learn about new cultures, and have an experience you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Most colleges and universities have a study abroad coordinator who can advise you about the programs offered through your campus. Ideally, it’s best to go through your own school to ensure that credits and any other details will transfer smoothly. But if your campus doesn’t have a program, or you can’t find one that suits your needs, there are plenty of opportunities through external organizations or even other universities.
Several independent organizations make finding and planning an overseas experience surprisingly easy. Most of these groups have their own Web sites that allow you to search programs by location or type of study.
Cultural Experiences Abroad of Tempe, Arizona, provides international study opportunities for U.S. and Canadian college students in 14 countries: Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, and Spain.
Austin, Texas-based International Studies Abroad offers programs in 14 countries and also offers the opportunity to enroll in courses with local students in your country of choice.
Many universities also operate study abroad programs that are open to students from other schools. The Institute for Study Abroad at Indiana’s Butler University currently operates programs in 15 countries. And the College of Global Studies at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, is renowned for its programs and even offers scholarships for international education.
If those schools don’t have a program for you, the University Studies Abroad Consortium is an association of U.S. universities that has been providing study abroad programs for nearly 30 years. USAC currently offers programs in 25 countries at 40 program sites. Students who do not attend a consortium school can apply to one of the universities, receive credit through that school for the overseas program, and then transfer the credit to their own university when they return.
Most of these programs offer summer, semester, and year-long programs and have academic and personal support services that will assist students from the application process to dealing with the cultural differences they may face at their new schools. Be sure to clear your choice with your home school before you enroll in any external program to ensure that your overseas credits will transfer back for a completely rewarding experience.