Planning Ahead for Study Abroad: The Trip of a Lifetime

The idea of studying abroad is something that excites many college students. But there is also a lot of fear and trepidation associated with spending months away from home. Some common concerns are money, homesickness, and most importantly time. It’s already hard enough to graduate in four years, why should I try to elongate my time in college even more? 

Well, I’m here to tell you that that is a myth that studying abroad will add time to your degree. Coming from a college student who is about to study abroad and is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in under four years, I can tell you all the reasons why you should consider studying abroad even if you may have to spend a little more time in college. 

Dual Enrollment

If you are in high school and are thinking about studying abroad when you get to college, make use of your time now! If available, start taking dual enrollment, AP courses, or doing Running Start in order to give yourself more time down the road. By doing this, you could save up money to go abroad and graduate in under four years easily. 

Start Planning Early

I'm surprised by the amount of students who don't meet with an advisor. Even if you're not sure what you're doing yet, your advisor can help you understand what classes you need to take when, and how long you’ll need to be in school.

Your advisor can also help you understand your options for studying abroad and what frame of time would be best for you to travel in. He or she will get you connected to study abroad and have information about locations, programs, and classes you can take overseas. 

Make Your Time There Count! 

Of course you are excited about the experience of traveling and living in another culture, but try your hardest to make sure the courses you take there will actually count towards your degree. Make sure any college credit you earn will transfer to your current college.

I am traveling to Costa Rica, and while I’m there I will be taking Spanish courses that I need in order to get my degree. Not only will I be doing that, but I will be completely immersed in the Spanish culture and will be getting a completely different experience than I would back home.
When you plan to go abroad make sure that you find a university that can fit your needs as a student and get you a step closer to getting your degree. 

I don’t think that there’s any way that immersing yourself in a different culture and traveling could ever be a waste of time. Don't let worry rob you of an amazing semester. Studying abroad is a unique experience you will take with you for the rest of your life. Enjoy!

Taylor Hunter will be updating us with her experience studying abroad in Costa Rica this semester! Stay tuned for more articles. Read the next article in the series here.