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There’s more to the world than just the United States, and if you want to explore it, education offers one pathway to wanderlust. However, you need to do your homework if you want to develop your ideal experience.
How can you find the best academic experiences abroad? Here are five resources that you should use when planning your overseas education journey.
1. Talk to Your Advisor
Your academic advisor should be your first go-to when seeking the best academic experiences abroad. After all, they are the ones responsible for helping you calculate the credits earned overseas and how they will apply to your graduation progression path.
While some advisors have an open-door policy, it’s best to introduce your visit’s purpose and set an appointment to get the in-depth answers you need. Send an email to your point-of-contact and address your concerns. Tell them you’re interested in studying abroad and would like to explore your options. Request a 30-minute meeting — you can always adjust the time estimates if necessary.
2. Talk to Your Campus Coordinator
Many universities have an on-campus coordinator for students interested in international travel — there’s a good chance that your advisor will direct you to this individual. A team effort can ensure you have the safest, most rewarding experience while keeping on track for graduation in terms of credit hours.
This individual’s job is to coordinate student travel options and prepare you for the adjustment to life in another country. Many of them have experienced living overseas, and they know how to manage details such as how to plan for medical care and train for cultural adjustment.
While they often won’t tell you which country to choose, they can offer valuable suggestions based on your future goals and current interests. These individuals can also help you arrange things like student travel visas, which you’ll need to embark on your journey.
3. Get Online
Another way to find information about living and studying abroad is to get online. This option might work best if you took time off between high school graduation and college to determine what you want to pursue. It’s possible your desire for overseas study could influence your choice of university instead of vice-versa.
Where should you look? You can begin with the U.S. Department of State. They’re dedicated to helping students compete in the modern workforce and provide reliable, trustworthy information.
4. Network With Student Travelers
Often, the best advice comes from somebody who has been there, done that — and finding the best academic experience abroad is no exception. Talk to other students who have traveled overseas and discover how they made it work.
While websites and your advisory team can prepare you for expected costs, such as tuition and travel, those who have spent time in your destination know how to budget for those pesky incidentals that can make or break a trip. They can even give you pointers on how to adapt to driving in foreign countries — they don’t all travel down the same side of the road as they do in the U.S.
5. Seek Out Internships
What if you are a nontraditional student who nevertheless wants to travel abroad? One method for doing so is to seek out internships. Here, too, your academic advisor can sometimes come in handy, as can your campus coordinator — explore this option when speaking with them.
One way to find opportunities is by joining an agency. Unfortunately, doing so does require you to pay someone for the privilege of working for free, but it is one of the quickest and safest ways to find well-vetted options.
Another tactic is to join your local AIESEC chapter. This nonprofit organization typically assigns lengthier internships of four months or more and prefers candidates with a degree. However, if you are a nontraditional student pursuing an alternative course of study, this group could be your ticket to a promising opportunity in Europe. Plus, many of their opportunities are paid, letting you earn an income while taking classes on the side.
6. Explore Employment Opportunities
Another option that primarily benefits nontraditional students is exploring employment opportunities overseas. Many countries offer free tuition for residents, including those on a visa, meaning that you could go to school for free in the evenings if you land a sweet gig.
Here, your first step will be to apply for a work visa in the country where you hope to travel. However, do note that this step can occur after finding a suitable opportunity, as some countries require an employer to sponsor you before they issue this documentation.
Next, get on internet job boards and see what you can find. Check with your stateside employer if they have a division overseas — is a transfer possible? Subscribe to newspapers from the area where you hope to relocate and work your network, and sign up for regional job fairs.
Find the Best Academic Experiences Abroad With These Tips
Finding the best academic experience abroad can be challenging, depending on your circumstances. However, whatever your course of study, you can find a way to fulfill your dream.