What You Should Know About Studying Abroad
Most study abroad programs don’t last longer than a couple months. Specifically, 64.9% of study abroad students stayed in their host country for eight weeks or less, 32.9% stayed for at least a semester, and only 2.2% stayed for a year or more.
Before you invest all the time and money that’s required to attend a study abroad program, you’ll want to make sure that there will be no issue with earning or transferring your credits. You may be able to earn credits that directly correspond to courses offered by your school, or the study abroad experience may be counted as general elective or independent study credits. Check with your college’s academic advisor or study abroad advisor to see which situation applies to you.
At this point, you may be wondering exactly how much study abroad programs cost. Of course, this will depend on factors such as which school you’re attending and which country you’re traveling to, but the average cost is $14,295 per semester. Europe is the most expensive continent for study abroad ($15,797 per semester), while Asia is the most affordable ($8,886 per semester).
Attending a study abroad program can be a complicated endeavor, so you should start planning for your trip as soon as possible. Here are a few key things to consider:
- Talk to your college’s study abroad department. You may have some questions about your college’s study abroad program that weren’t addressed on their website. Schedule an in-person meeting with a school official to get all the answers you need, and ask them if there is anything else about the program that you should know.
- Take safety into account. At any given time, a country may be dealing with an armed conflict, terrorist threat, infectious disease, or some other safety issue that you should consider before you make any travel plans. When evaluating countries for study abroad, be sure to check on the U.S. State Department’s list of travel advisories — this resource is frequently updated, and each advisory is conveniently ranked from Level 1 (Exercise Normal Precautions) to Level 4 (Do Not Travel).
- Get your passport ready. If you don’t already have a valid passport, you would be wise to start the process of obtaining one sooner rather than later. The routine process will cost you $175 for your passport book and card, and it takes 10 to 12 weeks. You can have the process expedited to 4 to 6 weeks, but this will cost you an extra $60.
- Save money and apply for scholarships. As noted above, study abroad programs are generally a five-figure expense. You should also start saving for your trip as soon as possible. There are dozens of scholarship opportunities for study abroad students to apply to — the U.S. State Department provides a helpful resource for this task as well.