Today I’m thrilled to have Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do sharing about her study abroad experience. Studying abroad was something I was unable to do in college, so I’m vicariously enjoying the adventure through her!
Sometimes I look back on my semester abroad and it feels like a complete dream. It was one of the most exciting four months of my life, though it had lots of ups and downs of its own. Looking back though, I’m SO glad I chose to study abroad and couldn’t be happier about the choice I made of where to study abroad.
If you are studying something very specific, you may not have a ton of options of where to study abroad. But even if you are majoring in a foreign language study (which I was), you still have a choice of where to study abroad. You don’t have to default to what makes the most logical sense for your major.
In college, I was a double major between graphic design and Spanish. So you might be thinking “Oh, so you studied abroad in Spain.” But, instead of going that route, I chose to study abroad in Italy. There were a few reasons why I chose Italy over Spain, one of them ultimately being that I had visited Italy before and knew that it was a dream place of mine to study abroad. Another reason was that I actually had more credits left to fulfill for my graphic design major than my Spanish one and had I studied abroad in Spain, I would’ve come back and my Spanish major requirements would have been fulfilled. That would’ve meant an entire year without taking Spanish classes, which felt like a bad decision if I wanted to keep up my fluency level.
When it comes to studying abroad, you have to think through a lot of considerations before choosing a place to study. Here are a few of them:
Where can you take credits to fulfill your requirements?
Unless you plan to pick up a minor or want to just take classes for fun, you have to think about the implications of the courses you’ll be taking while abroad. It’s really easy to just consider which classes are the most fun or even the least amount of work, but don’t let a semester abroad put you in jeopardy of not graduating on time. Sit down with your advisor and be sure to go over which classes you need to graduate and try to take at least one or two while you’re abroad. Most colleges require a certain amount of credits outside of your major to graduate, so it’s likely you’ll be able to take some fun classes, too!
Where can you afford?
This is a two part question. On one side, you have to consider what tuition will be where you are going. A lot of times the tuition is the same for studying abroad or being on campus, but some schools may be more or less expensive depending on a variety of things. Your study abroad department should be able to break these things down for you and help you make the right decision financially.
The other part you should consider financially is the exchange rate in the country you want to study abroad in. Some exchange rates are pretty minor whereas some can be great in your favor or really bad. Your only expense won’t be school itself, but you’ll be buying food, paying for travel, and buying souvenirs during your time abroad.
How much do you want to travel?
No matter where you study abroad, you’ll be able to travel either locally or internationally from the place you’re studying. A lot of people love studying abroad in Europe because they have the ability to travel to a lot of different places really easily. People always talk about it being really easy to travel within Europe once you’re over there and it’s definitely true! It may be more difficult for you to travel extensively in other places though or depending on your budget. I didn’t have a huge budget for traveling while I was abroad, so I was extremely glad to choose a place that had lots of day trip options. My school also had lots of trips through the school that were either free or very inexpensive. There are tons of options when it comes to traveling while abroad, so be sure to research them before you choose a place!
What is the language barrier?
If you don’t speak the language where you are wanting to study abroad, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study there. However, you should be prepared and know how much of the population speaks English and how easy it will be to either learn the language or get around without it. For example, I didn’t speak Italian at all but I wasn’t concerned because Florence is a fairly big tourist city and I knew I would be able to get by with understanding some Italian based on my knowledge of Spanish. There are certainly countries and cities that are a lot more difficult to get around without knowledge of the native language. It shouldn’t necessarily write off a place for you, but you should definitely be aware of the challenges you’ll have.
If you’re considering studying abroad in a few different places, consider these things before making your final choice!
Hi friends! My name is Madison and my blog, The Wetherills Say I Do, is a faith based lifestyle blog where I share easy and delicious recipes, blogging tips and other every day moments. I’ve been blogging consistently for over two years and have just completely falling in love with the blogosphere. Don’t let my blog name fool you, while I do occasionally share things about marriage, my blog isn’t a newlywed, wedding or marriage type of blog. I also run the blog design studio, Grace + Vine Studios. Be sure to stop by and say hello!