There are several factors to consider when selecting a study abroad program. The most common criteria that students use when choosing a program include:
Level of Cultural Immersion
The level of immersion can be viewed on a continuum where there is a low, medium and high level. Examples of different levels of cultural immersion are indicated below.
Students can choose to take courses in their major, minor, immersion or towards their general education credits abroad. Students will work with their academic advisor to identify which courses they have remaining in their degree program and what courses they need to take abroad in order to stay on track for graduation.
Estimated costs of a program can be found on a program provider's website (affiliate programs), via the faculty-director (faculty-led programs), or from a study abroad advisor (global campus and exchange programs). Exact costs of the program will be outlined on a budget worksheet provided by the Education Abroad office for the program the student is considering.
Options for housing often include living in dormitories, student apartments or with a host family. Living with a host family often provides a higher level of cultural immersion as a student has the opportunity to see the daily life of a local family, where living in dormitories is often closer to the host school.
Length of Time
Options include a semester, summer, winter break, or academic year abroad. Some faculty-led programs are shorter in length (one to five weeks). The longer the student is abroad, the higher the level of cultural immersion typically is.
We recommend that students consider the skills they are planning to improve upon while abroad when considering their study abroad location. For example, if they want to improve their design skills, they may want to choose a location that is known for its design industry; if they want to improve their Spanish language, they may want to choose a location that speaks Spanish as its primary language.