Thursday, October 28, 2010

Study Abroad Programs

Study abroad programs increasingly offer for-credit internships, others have service-learning components. You may wish to consider if you'd prefer these more experiential models, in which case you should refer back to the volunteer or work sections.

Direct enrollment programs offer integrated university studies alongside host-country students. Host-country faculty teach the courses, and you can participate in all aspects of foreign university life. You must have a certain level of language proficiency to participate in direct enrollment programs. Direct enrollment programs often offer you the greatest course selection, but sometimes foreign universities do not allow you to enroll in more than one or two academic departments. This option would be well suited to you if you are independent, have clear goals, and are interested in fully immersing in your host culture and meeting local people. Housing varies from university residence hall to apartments to a homestay. Keep in mind, you'll have to apply directly to your foreign university of choice and make arrangements for your courses and housing through the university visiting student office unless you enroll in a foreign university through a program sponsor that offers pracitcal assistance.

Island programs offer a structured curriculum that is often focused on a particular discipline or theme. Courses are either taught by host country nationals or on-site program staff, or sometimes both. Depending on the academic focus of the program, your classes may be taught in English or the language of the host country. Among the benefits of island programs are that they allow you to study in non-English speaking countries, and they often build in time and programming for critical reflection.
Combination programs merge the characteristics of island program and direct enrollment models. This structure provides you with the chance to create your own program of study, selecting one or more university courses alongside host country students, while also attending courses taught by your program.
Field-based programs are often located in areas of the world where more traditional study is not easy to arrange. Field-based study will enable you to work closely with a group of students (often small) who have a similar academic interest. Students studying the arts, social sciences, phyiscal sciences, health and medicince, or thematic subjects such as religion or gender studies often gravitate toward field-based programs.

Study Abroad Resources

There are a number of print editions compiling study abroad programs. These trade and special interest publications are frequently available at college study abroad offices. There are also several online directories with program information and student reviews. Some of the most popular directories include:,,, and (which also includes student reviews).
In some countries, students wishing to study abroad seek help from study abroad recruiters. Study abroad recruiters have contracts with universities and colleges in different countries, and act as representatives of these institutions. Their role is to provide details about course, fee structures, fee payments procedures, scholarships options of intended institution, help students with application procedures. They also provide guidance on the visa processes of the host country.