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An Introduction to Study Abroad

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Alexandra Johnson in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.


What’s Covered:



Studying abroad is an enriching experience to add to an undergraduate education. This article will give you some tips on what to look for in a study abroad program.


The Academic Benefits of Studying Abroad


Studying abroad not only offers a new country to learn from everyday but also unique academic opportunities. The classes you take at a university abroad will satisfy some of your major requirements, but will offer you a different learning experience than your home university. For instance, a student majoring in Public Policy could take classes related to immigration and refugees while studying abroad at the University of Lille, which is near the migrant camps of Calais. 


Educational experiences such as this are one of the main benefits of studying abroad, so be sure to look into the class offerings that each study abroad program could make available to you. 


Another major benefit of studying abroad is language and cultural immersion. Each program will offer different degrees of immersion — some programs will enroll you directly into the same classes that domestic students in your host country take, while others will allow you to take classes taught in English that are specifically designed for study abroad students. Keep these differences in mind as you choose between programs.


How to Find a Study Abroad Program


Your college’s study abroad office will be your most important resource for finding study abroad programs. The study abroad office is there to listen to your goals for your study abroad experience and match you with the right program. 


For example, let’s say that you are a first year student who studied Chinese in high school. You might approach the study abroad office and ask if they have any study abroad opportunities in a Chinese-speaking country. They will use their expertise and connections to international partners to find the best study abroad options for you. The office will then put you in touch with the right people in your school’s administration and universities abroad to make your study abroad dreams a reality.


Financial Aid for Studying Abroad


Many schools offer financial aid and scholarships to students who are looking to study abroad.  Yale, for example, offers students who receive financial aid the International Summer Award — this provides funding to cover study abroad expenses. 


The financial aid policies for studying abroad will be specific to your school. The amount of funding available, the eligibility requirements, and the application process will all take on different forms at different schools. Your school’s study abroad coordinators and financial aid office will guide you through the details.