Once you have determined your “Why” for study abroad and begin searching for programs, the next stop in your path to making this dream a reality should be considering the important aspects of study abroad that will impact you.
Study Abroad Location
As an experienced study abroad advisor, and recovering study abroad addict myself, I always tell students that picking the right location is KEY to their overseas success. And unfortunately, it’s a Catch-22 because you will never truly know if you have picked the right place until you arrive.
However, you can do enough meaningful research to make a pretty stellar educated guess.
Start by thinking about your core values. Who are you as a person? What do you enjoy? What do you want to learn and who would you like to be surrounded by? These are all key questions to ask.
For example, are you seeking a super diverse atmosphere for study abroad? Then a more homogenous such as many countries in Asia or Africa are probably not the best fit and should lower on your list of ranking. Similarly, in other types of cultural factors or personal preferences should be included as you begin thinking about the best location for a program.
Also, find people who have already been where you’re trying to go. Even if you do not have someone in your network who has studied in [INSERT ANYWHERE], there is a whole wide world online. Get involved in forums and others spaces to connect with recent study abroad students and to get an honest conversation going about the pros and cons of your dream locale.
I probably do not need to tell you this, but I’ll say it anyway: Study abroad is expensive. Or at least depending on the location you select, it definitely CAN BE. And here’s the thing, you will not even spend most of your dough on tuition. While the baseline tuition fee can be high, if your program is not all-inclusive, you’ll end up pay for so much more.
This may or may not include some major “big ticket” items including your student visa fees, housing, transportation to/from the destination, and living expenses.
As a good rule of thumb, when accounting for exchange rates and market fluctuations, always add a cushion of 3-5 percent into your study abroad budget.
To learn about the other key things to consider before you decide to study abroad, click on the video below to view this content as part of the Learn How to Study Abroad in 30 Days’ series.
What are some of the key factors that would make or break a study abroad location for you? Do you have any other ‘must haves’ that you would need for a great semester away?
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Until next time,
Known as The Study Abroad Specialist, Kimber Grayson is a serial-study abroader turned International Education coach and expert. Since 2014, she has helped 100+ students navigate their semester away journey from the coastal areas of Spain to China and every place in between. In 2018, she launched The LiveStudyLearn™ Abroad Association, a one-of-a-kind online membership platform for study abroad students worldwide.
She holds two Master's degrees from two well-respected London-based universities and has experience working in the US, UK & and Italy.
In her spare time (what's that again?), she enjoys leisure travel city breaks, any snow-based activity, skeet shooting, and attempting to learn new languages.