This post was contributed by Cailyn Hoertz.
If you have been itching for something different than your usual university life or if you’re taking a gap year and want to adventure one of the easiest ways to do that is studying abroad! A lot of universities only offer a limited amount of places to go or don’t offer any study abroad options at all! My school only offers two places because they have campuses in Hong Kong and Lacoste, which is great but I want to go to so many more places! And now I am! And you can too…
Step 1: Where Do You Want To Go?
One important part of studying abroad is deciding where abroad you want to go, and there are SO many options. For me it was easy to pick Seoul, South Korea because I knew I wanted to go somewhere in Asia, I was already going to Hong Kong, and I LOVE cities so I landed on Seoul!
Some things to think about are:
Do you like cities? Or would you prefer something more rural?
Do you mind being somewhere where English won’t be spoken as the primary language?
Do you want something different from your own culture or something that will feel familiar?
There are just some things to consider but things that really matter when choosing somewhere you will be living for an extended amount of time!
Step 2: Research Programs
Now that you have chosen where you want to go, it is time to figure out how you are going to get there! There are SO many options from programs to going directly through a school in the place of your choosing, depending on your budget and just overall what you think is best for you!
Here are some options for study abroad programs:
I am a little biased towards ISA because it is the program I am using to study abroad in Korea! ISA is a good option because they supply you with everything you will need while you are there and they have so many destinations and different length programs! They also offer internship opportunities and multiple scholarship opportunities.
Education First is a great resource even if you aren’t in college yet or if you are taking a gap year! They even have options to be an au pair! EF is a great option if you want to be really immersed and want to learn the language of wherever you go.
CIEE is a great option because they go to over 40 countries with over 200 programs! This program also offers opportunities for high school students and internships. CIEE also has the rare opportunity where you can choose to design your own semester or quarter to fit your home universities schedule.
There are hundreds of more programs but these are some of my favorites and most helpful that I found on my search. Definitely do your own research and find the one that suits you the most. It is important to feel comfortable with the program you choose because they will be helping guide you through your whole time abroad.
Step 3: Get Ready To Shut Up and Go!
This is the fun part! Now that you know where you are going and how you are getting there it is time to start preparing!
Some things that I have been doing to make me feel more confident in going abroad are:
Study the language!!!! At least know the basics! (very important and fun!) Some good apps for this are Duolingo, HelloTalk, and HiNative.
Research the city or the main tourist attractions so you don’t miss anything while you are there!
But make sure to find out what the locals do and where they go as well
Spend time with your friends and family (you are going to miss them even if you think you won’t)
I hope some of this information was helpful to you and that you feel even more excited and prepared to study abroad! I am so excited about my study abroad adventures coming up and I know you will love your experiences wherever in the world they may be! The most important thing is to stop doubting yourself and just GO!
Meet Cailyn: Hello! My name is Cailyn Hoertz and I am a current college student in Georgia! I have been traveling for as long as I can remember and I’m not letting being a student stop me! Fun Fact: Gangnam Style is still stuck in my head. Check out my website!