Before applying for study abroad, every student needs to chat with his or her parents about the key elements involved – being home for holidays is often a great time to sit down. Together, you can figure out which program is best for you. Kelly Sheaffer, program manager for France and Greater London Partner Programs at Arcadia, talks us through some essential points to cover.
As one of the Program Managers here at Arcadia, I chat with many students as they figure out how, where and when to study abroad. I’ve come up with a basic list of questions for students to discuss with their parents, before they submit their applications. Of course, many students will have more and better ideas to include so feel free to email me with any comments and we’ll add them to this resource. If you have a question, don't hesitate to get in touch.
What do you hope to accomplish during your time abroad? Do you want to focus on location or courses, or perhaps gain some valuable experience by adding an internship or doing a research program? How will the experience help you in your career and life goals? Check out other student experiences.
Talk through how you hope to fund your study abroad with your family in detail. There are scholarships and financial aid opportunities so look into how they may work for you and how your home school fits in. When thinking about budgeting, don’t forget living expenses and what’s included in your program. Try to be prepared before the conversation starts so you can answer some of your parents’ questions off the bat!
Think and talk to your family about how you can best fit study abroad into your busy college schedule. Can you fit in a whole academic year or semester, or is a short-term summer program the easiest way? You can search by timeframe to find programs available at your preferred time of year.
Where do you want to go? The world is your oyster. Think about the country, the city/town and the type of campus experience you’ll have. How far out of your comfort zone do you want to get? Is language an issue? How about any health and safety concerns? Use Program Finder to help you browse programs in different countries and check out Arcadia Center blogs for more about life in-country.
Think about what types of courses you need and want to take abroad. Can you take classes towards your degree overseas, or should you plan to save some of your general education courses to take during your program? Which arrangement suits you - direct enroll or center-based program? Check out the institution and professors and use Program Finder to search for what you want to study.