So you’re thinking about studying abroad but have no idea where to go? If you are anything like I was, just about any country in the world seems like an amazing place to travel to! While it’s good to be this flexible, it can also be daunting when it comes down to actually making your decision. The following are some tips I followed while planning my year abroad that seemed to help.
Check for your college’s requirements
This is a necessary first step. Many colleges will require you to have taken specific language or cultural studies classes in order to travel to certain destinations. Before any decision can begin to be made, it is important to first check with your University to see what countries you are even eligible to study abroad in.
Sort countries by interest
If you are currently taking a language, than you should consider putting those skills to the test by traveling to a region where that language is spoken. While you may not be fluent in the language, this won’t limit you as much as you would think. Remember that if you are taking a language such as French or Spanish, this doesn’t mean go to France or Spain. There are a variety of other countries that speak those languages as well.
Further, if you have taken any type of cultural studies courses about a particular region, or have a fascination with a specific culture, than allow your interests to guide you.
Choose country by program type
Another way to cut down your options is to first determine whether you are interested in a specialized program that focuses on a specific topic. For example, if you are interested in, say, marine biology, than searching for study abroad programs which offer marine-related courses will minimize your options, and thus make your choice a lot easier.
Opt for a multi-country program
There are a small number of programs that give you the option of studying in multiple countries during your time abroad, which can be a fantastic experience. These types of comparative study programs often focus on a broad topic that gets studied in different contexts around the world.
Let it all rest in the hands of fate
AKA, an online quiz. If you are so indecisive that you just can’t seem to make a decision on your own, than you can always take an online quiz. These quizzes determine the country that is your best match – based on your personality type. This choice isn’t the end all be all. While it may seem silly, these quizzes can actually give you some insight into your own important preferences such as city vs small town or cold weather vs tropical climates.
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Chantal is a senior studying Communication and Sociology at Cornell University. She is a chocolate enthusiast who likes to spend her time exploring new places and hopes to travel the world.