How to Choose a Program
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Each student has their own wants, needs, and goals to consider when choosing an education abroad program. The UW-Platteville Education Abroad staff suggests that students ask themselves the following questions, in no particular order, to help find a program that is the perfect fit:
- What country or region am I most interested in? Why do I want to study abroad in this country or region in particular?
- Is the country's location geographically significant for my major?
- Is the culture and current political situation of the country safe?
The Institution Abroad
- What is the size of the institution abroad? Is this too big or small for me?
- What do I want from the student body make-up of the institution? Are there many international students? Are there many U.S. study abroad students?
- Is there public transportation available to help me get around?
- Are there classes that will be offered in my major and/or minor?
- Are there classes that will be offered to fulfill my elective or general education requirements?
- Who do I want to take classes with? Other Americans? With international students? With local students?
- How much time do I feel comfortable spending abroad?
- How much time can I afford to spend abroad? Think academically, personally, and economically.
- How much structure and guidance do I need? How much tolerance do I have for ambiguity?
- Am I personally ready and mature enough to be on my own? Do I want or need to be with a group?
- Will I be met at the airport? Is there on-site orientation offered?
- Is there an on-site coordinator or an international office?
- How much can I afford? Analyze what is included in the program cost. More importantly, consider what is not included, considering: tuition, program fees, housing, food, airfare, and personal expenses.
- How much is the cost of living?
- Is the dollar strong or weak compared to the currency of the country I am considering?
- Are there program specific scholarships?
Accommodation and Meals
- Is there pre-arranged accommodation with the program? If there is pre-arranged accommodation, is it close to the institution I’m studying at? The city center? Public transportation?
- Do I need to arrange my own accommodation with the program? Am I comfortable arranging my own accommodation if needed?
- Who do I want to live with? A local host family? Other U.S. students? International students? Local students?
- Would I like to live on-campus or off-campus?
- Is there a meal plan included in the program cost or available if I pay out-of-pocket? If I need to provide my own meals, is there a kitchen available?
- Would I like to learn or improve my proficiency in another language while abroad?
- Am I already fluent enough in a foreign language to take classes in it, or will it be necessary to take some or all of my coursework in English?
- Are the people in the country or city able to speak English? How well?
- Is a visa required?
- How difficult is it to obtain a visa for this country?
Independent Travel and Excursions
- Are there pre-arranged excursions or activities built into the program?
- Are these pre-arranged excursions part of the program cost?
- If there are not pre-arranged excursions, is there on-site staff available to help me with my independent travel plans?
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