How to Pick a Study Abroad Program

This week, I wanted to share some tips on studying abroad as I know a lot of people are beginning their semesters abroad around this time. I've studied abroad three times: I spent a semester at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, a summer at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England, and this past summer in New York City (technically called a Study USA at my university).

I have a video about my experience at St Andrews going up on Wednesday, so for today I thought I would share my tips for how to go about picking a program. Hopefully these questions can help guide you through your process if you're thinking about studying abroad!

1. Do you want to go abroad or stay domestic? 
One of the first choices that you'll have to make is whether you want to go out of the country or stay within the United States. A lot of schools, mine included, have domestic programs where you can spend a semester in places like New York, Los Angeles, or Washington DC.

2. Do you want to stay in the English-speaking world or not?
The next thing you need to decide is if you are willing to go to a country where you don't speak the language. Obviously, if you speak a foreign language, studying abroad is a great way to fully immerse yourself in it.

3. What kind of experience do you want? 
Look at the programs offered by your university. Would you rather do a homestay or live on a campus? Would you want to do something like Semester at Sea or be a student at a normal university?

4. Does the program have the classes you need? 
With many majors, where you will study abroad is partially determined by what programs offer the classes that you need. If possible, save some general requirements to take while you're abroad so you don't have to worry.

5. Can you talk to someone from your school who has done the program?
The only way to truly get a feeling for a program is to talk to someone who did it. Ask your school's study abroad center if they can get you in touch with other students who have gone there before you.

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