If you read my previous post, you will know that I started my travel journey in Hong Kong when I was still in high school. I made it my mission to study abroad at least once during college. Luckily, I was able to do so twice – one for a month in Japan and one for a semester (4 months) in Hong Kong. Both experiences were really memorable and I had the best time of my life.
Going through the process can be a bit daunting, but I promise you that it’s a one time thing and you will forget about it when you are in a different country. Here are tips for you to get started!
- Do some research on your own college website and see if there are any study abroad programs. When I was in school (this makes me sound really old by the way) I was able to find the study abroad programs just by going through the website. I found out where the office was located and managed to find the forms needed to apply for the program.
- Understand the criteria needed to apply for the program. Many programs needed at least a 3.0 GPA. There are also things like staying with a local family or staying in a dorm room. When I applied to study abroad for Japan, it was understood that it’s a homestay program, meaning that I will be living with locals. I wanted a new experience and this seems like the perfect plan for me. If this isn’t what you wanted, be sure to read and understand what is expected from you.
- Understand the costs. Whether you are planning on staying for a month or for a semester, find out the total cost. There are programs that lets you pay your own college tuition, but room and board are separate. This was definitely the case for me when I was choosing which country to go to. I was interested in Australia and Japan for the summer month. Ultimately, I chose Japan because Australia costs 3x more than Japan and there was no way I could have paid for it.
- Be aware of the potential language barrier. Definitely make sure to see if the country that you are potentially going to have a language barrier. While it is true that most countries teach English as a second language, the locals there might not be comfortable speaking English to you. If you are not comfortable learning a new language or don’t want to surround yourself in a language that you don’t understand, you should take the time to understand where you are planning on going. When I applied to study abroad in Hong Kong, I knew that the language barrier shouldn’t be too difficult as I already knew Cantonese, Chinese growing up and it is an English speaking city for the most part.
Hope that these tips help you decide to go for a study abroad program. Let me know if I am missing anything or if you have tips on your own.