So you want to study abroad—great! Now what??
Here’s a handy guide on how to navigate the questions of when and where to go, and how to do it:
- Point of departure: be sure to check out the OCSE website’s Advanced Program Finder here. This is your one-stop-shop for exploring various program options, categorized by location, language of instruction, housing options, credit type, and departmental approval. This latter parameter is perhaps the most useful—it provides a list of programs that have already been approved and vetted by each academic department, which is a great place to start. While you are not limited to those programs that have been pre-approved by your major, it is helpful to check them out in order to get a sense of what each department has approved in the past.
- If you’re hoping to make your way across the globe, you’ll have to map your course first. Planning ahead is the key to unlocking the most opportunities for yourself abroad; strategically scheduling your courses on and off-campus gives you more wiggle room in terms of the courses you can enroll in, and the amount of time you can spend off-campus. Pay careful attention to what courses you are required to take on campus, and be sure to consider what courses you could get approved for credit while abroad.
- Once you have an idea of your opportunities regarding time and courses off-campus, you should begin (if you haven’t already) thinking about what type of experience you are looking for. While it’s tempting to latch onto the idea of a place, it is crucial to first consider whether or not the programs offered there are well-suited to you. Think about the type of learner you are—visual, oral, kinesthetic—and then ask yourself (and friends who have studied abroad!) what you think about:
- Direct Skidmore Programs
- Direct enrollment at a university
- Center-based program
- Taking courses in another language
- Field work or an internship component
- Independent research focus
- Next, look into the styles of education that are practiced in each of these program models. Are professors easily accessible, or will there be an emphasis on independent study? Will you be expected to complete smaller assignments frequently, or larger projects spaced throughout the semester? Consider these aspects before you decide on a location; no matter how enamored you may be with a country or a city, your off-campus experience will be frustrated if you are not sufficiently challenged by or prepared for your academics.
- Feel free to drop by our office (OCSE—Starbuck 202) for walk-in advising (Mon-Fri, 1-4pm) regarding any questions you may have about the application process, the programs themselves, and the off-campus experience. We would be happy to connect you with alumni of the programs that you are interested in, and hope to see you soon.