Choosing a Program

When choosing a study abroad program, think carefully about your priorities and what you want. Below are some sample questions that you may want to ask, but try to think of other questions of your own. It is a good idea to speak directly to a representative and take notes on your conversation. Remember that the representatives are obviously interested in marketing their program and highlighting the positives. Also remember that you can talk to them as many times as you want for as long as you want without obligating yourself in any way. You should not feel pressured in any way to make a commitment. 

Sample Questions

  1. What are the average class sizes?
  2. How many students are normally at each site? 
  3. Can you be certain of getting the classes you want need (in many cases, you register for classes only when you arrive). What assistance can the program provide if you don’t get your choice of classes? 
  4. What is included in the price? 
  5. Are the professors from the host university, from a U.S. university or a combination? 
  6. Can they provide detailed course descriptions so that you can petition in advance for credits? 
  7. Is the transcript provided by a U.S. or foreign university? If foreign, does the program provide information on interpreting the transcript? 
  8. What is the housing like?  Who would your roommates be? How close is it to where your classes are? 
  9. Can they provide student evaluations for the sites that interest you most?  
  10. Is there an onsite resident director?  If not, where do you go for advice/assistance? 
  11. Can the program provide assistance with finding an internship/volunteer placement (only if you are interested in that)? What does that assistance entail? 
  12. What are some of the advantages of this particular host site? Why should you choose this particular provider? 
  13. What kind of cultural/sports/other activities are available? 
  14. What is the cost of living like in the host city? 

Comparing Apples to Apples

When comparing different programs, make sure that you understand what is included in each program. An “all-inclusive” program may seem expensive, but may turn out to be competitive when you consider that it includes on-campus room, a board plan with several meals, and transportation to the airport. 

Also consider what your priorities are. Cost should not be the only factor in your decision. If you are studying abroad for the first time, traveling to a country where you don’t speak the language, or if your host university does not provide much support for international students, you may prefer a more structured program with an on-site director to assist you. On the other hand, if you are very comfortable traveling in your host country, do not want to take part in group trips with other Americans, and are interested in functioning independently, you may want a more self-directed program.

Sample Comparison

Program 1
Study Abroad Provider

 
Tuition: $12,750
Room Included
Meals: $300
Medical Insurance Included
Books: $150
Other Fees Included
Flight: $1,250
Airport Transfer Included
Cell Phone Included
Local Excursions Included
Local Transport. Included
Visa Included
Souvenirs: $250
Additional Travel: $800
Entertainment: $500

Total: $16,100

 

 

 Program 2
Direct Enrollment


Tuition: $5,700
Room: $2,500
Meals: $1,700
Medical Insurance: $200
Books: $150
Other Fees: $250
Flight: $1,250
Airport Transfer: $100
Cell Phone: $150
Local Excursions: $450
Local Transport.: $200
Visa: $200
Souvenirs: $250
Additional Travel: $800
Entertainment: $500

Total: $14,400

 

 

Program 1-Study abroad provider