A lot of people think there aren’t courses abroad that will fit in their degree plan. They don’t want to delay graduation or pay for classes that can’t count towards anything. Trust me, I get it – but, these ideas are myths! Studying abroad doesn’t have to delay graduation. You can find classes to count towards your degree. Let me help you make studying abroad a reality!
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I suggest starting to think about studying abroad as early as your freshman year. When you are picking out classes for your freshman year, do not take any history, art, language, or culture classes. The majority of programs abroad have something to do with these subjects. If your major falls into one of these categories, you’ll have a much easier time finding a study abroad program.
If not, then no worries! By not taking these classes at your home university, you can take them abroad. The great thing about these categories is that it is really broad and almost any class you take abroad can count for these categories. Taking a class about wine in France? Sounds like a culture class to me!
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My next suggestion would be to keep your elective classes minimal. While the classes for you minor might end up in your elective category, there’s a good chance you’ll need a few more. Don’t take any classes to fill up those elective hours just yet, study abroad credits can easily fit there.
All of this will, of course, depend on your university, major, and what hours you bring in from high school through AP or dual credit, but these tips should help you find places to put those study abroad credits to good use.
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If you’re now sitting here, halfway through college with all of your electives and creative arts credits completed, worrying that you won’t be able to bring back any of your study abroad credits, worry not! There are tons of study abroad programs specific to a major. There are also many schools that do departmental study abroad trips. With those, you’ll be taking the same classes with the same professors from your home university, you’ll just be abroad!
Can’t find a program for your major? Add a language minor to your degree plan and head out to an intensive language program. Learning another language is a great way to improve your English (I know, it sounds backwards, but trust me on this) and is extremely helpful when you graduate and begin looking for jobs.
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Duration of Program
Another thing to think about is whether or not you want to study abroad for a summer semester, full semester, or full academic year. If you have few classes to take and a tight budget, a summer semester could be best for you! I would love to take a full academic year in France, but I, unfortunately, do not have enough classes to take.
Consider Interning Abroad
If you really can’t find a single program that offers the right classes for you, consider interning abroad. Everyone needs internships on their resume, and having one abroad will set you out from the crowd. Most internships abroad will count for credit and offer a course about cultural differences in the workplace or something similar. This is a great option for those who really want to study abroad, but can’t find any programs to fit their degree.
You can do this!
There are so many ways to get your study abroad program to count towards your degree plan, especially if you get creative. Studying abroad doesn’t have to delay your graduation. Meet with your academic advisor and study abroad advisor for even more help on finding programs that can fit into your degree plan. I promise, it’s doable!
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