How to Select a Program
Researching study abroad program options and deciding on the study abroad program that is right for you can be a daunting task. Remember, the Study Abroad Coordinator is happy to assist you during this process. After attending a Study Abroad 101 session, be sure to schedule an individual appointment with the Study Abroad Coordinator to discuss your options. In addition to the country or location that interests you, there are many more factors to consider when choosing a study abroad program.
When choosing a study abroad program, ask yourself...
Question: What courses should I plan to take while abroad?
Answer: This is the first question that you should ask yourself. After all, you are studying abroad to receive academic credit towards your degree. Some students choose to take courses in their major field of study and other students choose to take CORE courses or general electives. Because there are so many program opportunities available, it is usually possible to find a study abroad program that offers the courses you need, however, it may or may not be in the country that you initially planned to visit. You should meet with the Study Abroad Coordinator to learn about program options and then once you have identified a few programs that seem to offer the courses you are seeking, plan to meet with your Academic Advisor, Department Chairs, and/or the Dean’s Office to discuss CU equivalencies. Note: You will be required to obtain signatures from your Academic Advisor, Department Chairs, and the Dean’s Office when completing the Study Abroad Course Approval Form.
Question: Do I want to take courses in the language of the host country?
Answer: Believe it or not, there are study abroad programs in non-English speaking countries that offer courses in English! So, if you do not speak another language, you do not have to limit your search to English-speaking countries. If you do decide to study abroad in a non-English speaking country, it is highly recommended that you take at least one course in the language of the host country, so that you know the basics and can communicate with locals. If you are studying abroad to improve your skills in another language, you should consider a full-immersion program, such as the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), that allows you to enroll in courses alongside local students! This may be a challenge at first, but past students have said that in no time they were thinking in the language of their hosts and that their language skills improved beyond their expectations.
Question: What term will work best for me to be abroad?
Answer: The answer to this question depends on many factors. The term that will work best for one student may not necessarily be the same for another student. Students may choose to study abroad during a summer, semester, or academic year. When deciding on the term that will work best for you, consider your course requirements, academic schedules, on-campus activities that you are involved in, and other personal events (weddings, graduations, etc.) that may affect your travels.
Question: How much time do I want to spend abroad?
Answer: You will want to plan to spend as much time abroad as you possibly can. When asking returned study abroad students what advice they would give to future study abroad participants, the overwhelming response is, “Plan to stay for an academic year!” At the end of a semester or summer term abroad, students oftentimes feel that they were just beginning to understand how things ‘work’ in the host country, but now must return home. Many of these students decide to participate in a second study abroad experience!
Question: What type of living accommodations do I prefer?
Answer: Each study abroad program offers different living accommodations. You should think about the type of housing that you would prefer. Past students have chosen to live with host families, in a residence hall with local students, in an apartment with local students, or in a dorm with other American students. When considering housing arrangements, you should also reflect on the degree of immersion or contact that you want to have with locals in your host country. The OIP does not recommend finding your own housing (i.e.-renting an apartment) when you arrive to your destination. Students should plan to select a housing option offered through their study abroad program.
Question: What funds will I use to support my study abroad experience?
Answer: Studying abroad can be affordable, but when choosing a program you should consider if you will be utilizing personal funds, parent/family funds, loans, financial aid, and/or scholarships for your study abroad experience. There are even some program options that enable you to retain all of your institutional and federal aid. All students are encouraged to meet the CU Financial Aid Office to discuss portability of financial aid for study abroad. You will find additional information about financial aid and scholarships for study abroad on this website.
Question: Do I prefer to be immersed in the host culture or to participate in a program with other American students?
Answer: Each study abroad program varies greatly in regards to the degree of immersion that is available. Some programs allow you to take courses with local students, while other programs only allow you to take courses with other American students participating on your same program. Be aware of the degree of immersion that you would like and discuss your preferences with the Study Abroad Coordinator.
Question: Where do I want to go?
Answer: This should be the last question that you ask yourself. Many students choose a program solely of the basis of location. You should keep in mind however, that there are many wonderful places in the world that you may not have considered or even knew existed! No matter where you choose to go, you will learn many things and have exciting new adventures.
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