How To Choose a Program

Why Study Abroad?

Study abroad is an educational tool that allows for the development of critical thinking, reflective, cross-cultural, and interpersonal skills that are integral to a liberal arts education. Studying and living in another culture can also be an exhilarating challenge that, with the proper outlook and preparation, can open windows to the world and to a self you hardly knew existed.

By participating in a study abroad program, a student can achieve personal growth and a new perspective on the world. The knowledge and skills acquired by studying abroad are also attractive to prospective employers as well as graduate schools. Your opportunities will be enhanced because employers and graduate schools want individuals who are flexible thinkers, adaptable, and comfortable with cultural diversity—studying abroad affords you these skills.

Primary Questions and Considerations for Students to Answer

As you read through the following questions, ask yourself, “Which of these questions make the most difference to me?” Your answers are crucial in helping the Office of International Education to guide your efforts in finding the program best suited to you.

  • How long do I want to study abroad?
  • What do I want to study?
  • How does the study abroad experience fit with your professional and personal goals?
  • In what area, country, or city would I like to study?
  • How much money do I have to spend?
  • How important is it to receive academic credit?
  • What is my comfort level with new situations, flexibility, and adaptability?
  • Does it matter to me if my experience counts toward the degree I am earning at Emory & Henry?
  • Why do I want to go there?
  • Is my primary goal to learn a language?
  • Is my primary goal to gain experience related to my major or expected career?
  • Is my primary goal to earn academic credit toward my Emory & Henry degree?
  • Is my primary goal to learn about the world and how other people live?

Know Your Program

Program Questions:

  • When is the application deadline?
  • Will I be able to contact past participants of the program to get their evaluation of their experience?
  • What qualifications does the program or experience require?
  • Do I need to have a certain GPA?
  • What language ability should I have?
  • Are there particular skills or abilities I will need?
  • What type of program is it and for what level of student?
  • How long is the program?
  • What courses are offered? Do they meet my needs? For my major? For graduation?
  • Are internships, field projects, or independent study options available?
  • What housing options are available?
  • Are meals included?
  • Are any excursions included?
  • What support services are provided?
  • What does the program fee include? Tuition only? Tuition Room and Board? What are the additional costs? Is there a refund policy?
  • How much independence do I want? Some programs arrange nearly everything for you, while in other cases you may be solely responsible for all arrangements.

Course Questions:

  • What teaching style do I want? (Tutorials, seminars, language labs, lectures, etc.)
  • Do I want a study program that includes an internship and/or field research experience?
  • Do I want to take my classes with students from the host country, other North American students, and/or other international students?
  • Do I want to take classes at a study center or a University? Does it matter to me?
  • What types (content and/or format) of courses are offered on this program?
  • Are the courses offered part of the regular courses at the host university or are they special courses (i.e., for visiting international students only)?
  • Who are the faculty who will be teaching me? Are they from the North American university who sponsors the program or are they from the host university?
  • What institution awards the credits earned? In what form will the transcript come and how long will it take to get to Emory & Henry after the program ends? (Remember, the final determination of whether or not the program is creditworthy rests with Emory & Henry faculty and registrar—not with the program itself or your Academic Advisor.)
  • Are the classes taught in English? In the language of the host university? In another language? Do I have the language ability to handle this?
  • If I’m interested in other options, are there opportunities for independent research or field projects?

Cost Questions:

  • What financial resources do I need in order to be able to finance this experience?
  • Are there additional resources open to me, such as parents, family, friends, extra jobs, scholarships, etc.?
  • How much will the total cost be (include tuition, housing, meals, airfare, travel, insurance, fees, money for personal expenses, etc.)?
  • What sort of financial aid (loans, grants, scholarships), if any, is available through the program?

Basic Living Questions:

  • Do I want to live in on- or off-premise housing?
  • Do I want to live with residents of the host country? With other Americans? With international students?
  • Do I want to live in a dormitory? Apartment? Rooming house? Or host family?
  • Does the program assign housing or do I have to find my own? If I have to find my own housing, does the program provide assistance in finding accommodations? If so, what kind of assistance?
  • If my housing placement turns out to be a difficult one, how easy is it to get out of a situation that does not work?
  • Is housing near the site of my classes or at least to convenient public transportation?
  • To what extent does the program allow and encourage the participants to mix with residents of the host country?
  • To what community and/or university activities will I have access?