How to Go to School Abroad: Overseas College Programs for American Students

Ginger Abbot

Aug 28, 2020
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Studying abroad may have piqued your interest. If you love the idea of traveling, expanding your educational experience and going on an amazing adventure, you may even want to kick it up a notch by applying to an overseas college program.

Study abroad programs through traditional universities tend to be great for whisking students away from their home universities to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime experience overseas, and that works for some people perfectly. But what if you wanted to make your whole college experience a study abroad adventure?

Programs and opportunities can take you overseas as an American college student, no matter your specific goals and aspirations. You can enroll in an overseas college program based on your future plans and language skills, or you can try one that’s specifically designed for American students who want to study in a foreign country.

Here’s what you need to know about finding overseas college programs and applying for college abroad.

Who Should Go On Overseas College Programs?

Anyone can study abroad, but it can be specifically beneficial to certain career paths or future plans. If you plan to live abroad eventually or have your sights set on studying a different language, foreign school programs might be a better option than domestic colleges. They immerse you in the culture and language and help you make local connections. This can also apply if a specific foreign school has a niche program you’re interested in.

Anyone who wants to spend an extended amount of time abroad should reach for their dreams. However, those who would benefit from a foreign education based on their career goals should consider it not just as a fun decision, but also a smart and strategic one. 

Is Applying for College Abroad Worth It?

It’s no secret that American colleges are too big for their britches in terms of price. Tuition alone can set you back for years, so the low cost of colleges in England or the free price tag of universities in countries like Germany can be quite appealing for some. It’s important to remember that universities will have different costs and that every country has different requirements for international students that choose to study there.

While you could very well save money by traveling and studying in an overseas college program, finances aren’t the only important deciding factor.

You should also consider your field of study and evaluate whether a foreign degree would make you more or less appealing in your industry. The job market is different for everyone, so think about whether foreign study fits in with your future career goals.

thinking about overseas college programs

Thinking About Post-Grad Life

Thinking about your post-grad plans should be a part of the school conversation. If you’re looking into applying for college abroad, examine your target country’s visa laws for students, especially if you want to lay down roots. Do you need to apply for a student visa to enroll in a foreign university? Will you need to find a job directly after graduation if you want to stay in the country, and if so, can you get a temporary visa in the interim?

If you plan on returning to the States after you graduate, consider what the adjustment will be like. How will you keep in touch with your new friends? Would returning home push you toward a greater goal you have for your life and career? Thinking about these things can make your plan a little more complete and help you prepare for the future. 

Finding Your Overseas College Program

When it comes to applying for college abroad, the sky’s the limit. You have the whole world to explore. While there are some American universities with campuses abroad, you can also go for a foreign bachelor’s degree at a truly local university. While the specific details will depend on your target country, those looking into how to go to college in Europe as an American might be interested to know that a bachelor’s degree typically takes three years rather than four.

Federal student aid allows students to use their funding for foreign degrees at many universities. The list is updated quarterly, and you can check back to find programs that will work for you, especially if your target country has higher tuition rates for international students. Compare the rates of colleges abroad for American students and see what works best.

There are so many overseas college programs to choose from, and while parts of the process will be different, applying to college abroad is similar to the in-state application process — and if it’s your dream, it’s worth filling out a few extra forms.

colleges abroad for american students

Setting Your Sails for Adventure

Sometimes, the scariest part of pursuing an overseas college program is just diving in and doing it — but it will be so worth it.

Applying for college abroad is the start of a huge adventure. When you go to school in a foreign country, you’re opening yourself up to a unique and enriching experience. Whether you stay abroad for years after school or sail back home with your degree in hand, a foreign degree can be the perfect start to an adventurous and successful adult life.

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