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10 Colleges with the Highest Rate of Study Abroad Programs


studyabroadA Campus of Another Country

At one time not so very long ago, the usual college student’s exposure to other cultures consisted of a requirement to take either Music History or Art History. Most college students also informally counted frequent meals of pizza and exposure to foreign beers as a more popular and entertaining form of cultural exposure.

Now, however, it seems that nearly every four-year college or university offers at least an abbreviated overseas class to be taken either between or during regular semesters. It has become the norm for many college students to spend a semester or even an entire academic year studying in a foreign country, adapting to cultural mores, learning the language and gaining a far greater understanding of the world than could be picked up in a domestic classroom.

The Lessons Students Learn

Among the first lessons students learn as they prepare for their overseas educational journeys is that of bureaucracy. Passports must be located, reported as lost or applied for in the first place. Student visas must be obtained from the countries in which the students will study and a study abroad insurance policy will need to be purchased for any required medical care while abroad. Depending upon the country, immunizations and prescription medication may be required to help protect students from indigenous diseases. Only after all these details are completed can a student put down his book bag and take a good look around.

Academic Communities That Encourage Studying Abroad

According to an article by Kelsey Sheehy on the “U.S. News & World Report” online magazine website, around 23 percent of college students reported a study abroad experience at some point during their four or five year undergraduate quest. Sheehy’s top 10 list of schools with the highest proportion of undergraduate foreign study includes two schools that absolutely require satisfactory completion of a class taken abroad to be awarded a baccalaureate degree. The last two schools on the list reported identical rates of 70 percent of students having taken some coursework abroad at some time during their college experience.

As identified by Sheehy’s article, the schools and their reported rates of undergraduate participation are as follows:

  1. Goucher College in Maryland, 100 percent
  2. Soka University of America in California, 100 percent
  3. Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina, 94 percent
  4. Loyola University of Maryland, 84 percent
  5. Kalamazoo College of Michigan, 82 percent
  6. Centre College of Kentucky, 80 percent
  7. Bethel University of Minnesota, 75 percent
  8. Elon University of North Carolina, 71 percent
  9. Carleton College of Minnesota, 70 percent
  10. University of Denver in Colorado, 70 percent

Long-Term Benefits

A recent study by IES Abroad, a nonprofit organization that provides study abroad programs for U.S. students, revealed that graduates of the group’s programs pull in an average of $7,000 more each year in their starting salaries than students who never studied abroad. Studying abroad is indeed beneficial in the long-term, giving graduates an edge when it comes to scoring better and higher-paying job opportunities after college. This can help to justify some of the up-front expense of a study abroad trip; even though it might cost a bit more up front than a typical semester or year Stateside, the benefit of traveling the world as a student will pay off in the form of salary gains down the line.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article is provided by Kristine Esser. She enjoys writing about study abroad opportunities for college students.

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Study Abroad Scholarships that Every Student Should Know About


scholarshippigCollege is the perfect time to get away from home and explore the world, which is why so many colleges and universities encourage students to study abroad. The cost is generally not much more than spending a semester on campus, although students need to cover a few additional expenses, like plane tickets, travel within the host country, study abroad insurance, and any special clothing or gear they need for the trip. That’s why study abroad scholarships are so helpful for defraying the additional cost.

General Financial Aid: Any financial aid you’re already getting for studying on campus can typically be applied to your study abroad program as well. This includes awards like Pell Grants from the federal government, National Merit Scholarships, and similar types of financial aid. Talk to your school’s financial aid office about your typical aid package and how much of it can be applied to your bill if you study abroad.

Boren Awards for International Study: If you’re interested in going abroad to study a language that isn’t very commonly taught in the United States, like Arabic, Russian, Korean or Swahili, you may be eligible for a Boren Scholarship of up to $20,000 or a Boren Fellowship of up to $30,000. However, you need to be in a language immersion program abroad for at least six months and commit to seek work in the federal government after your graduation.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Gilman Awards are need-based scholarships given to some students who are already receiving Pell Grants from the federal government. The awards of up to $5,000 can be applied to any study abroad costs, including travel, room and board, and similar expenses. If you’re awarded a Gilman Scholarship, you also may be eligible for a Critical Need Language Award of up to $8,000 if your program involves study of an approved language.

IES Diversity Scholarships: Many major study abroad networks have their own scholarships for students enrolled in these programs. For example, if you’re going on an IES study abroad program, you may be eligible for one of the IES diversity scholarships, which are given based on both merit and need. Look into scholarships from other major study abroad networks, too, like API or CIEE.

College-Specific Scholarships: Your college may offer scholarships specifically for students studying abroad, so make sure to ask about them. Check with the professors in the departments your studies will be in, especially if you’re going abroad to study a foreign language. The financial aid office also may be able to tell you how to apply for endowed study abroad scholarships or scholarships offered by donors to the college.

Specialty Scholarships: Don’t forget to consider the dozens of specialty scholarship programs for very specific types of students or study abroad programs. Search databases at sites like StudyAbroad.com to find scholarships you may be eligible to apply for. Some are highly competitive, whereas others just get a handful of applicants because they’re so specialized.

Exploring a foreign country, staying with a host family, taking classes about the culture, and getting immersed in a different sort of life for a semester or a year is an experience that appeals to many college students. The cost may seem prohibitive at first, but scholarships make study abroad programs well within reach for most students. Plus, remember that this may be one of the only times when you can simply pick up and move to another country for a few months, so take advantage of it!

About the Author:

This guest article is by Cassanda Lynne. Cassandra knows the importance of properly preparing yourself for your international studies by having your passport, purchasing study abroad insurance and properly packing for the climate of your temporary home country.

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Should You Study Abroad as a Graduate Student?


studyabroadWe live in an increasingly globalized world where the boundaries and distances between countries continue to shrink. As a result, many employers are finding that a well-informed international perspective can be a valuable asset in an employee.

If you missed the chance to study abroad as an undergraduate, you probably think your chances of ever studying abroad are slim, especially if you plan on going to graduate school anytime soon. However, studying abroad during grad school instead of as an undergrad can be more beneficial for your education and career. Here are a few reasons why studying abroad as a graduate student can benefit your professional pursuits.

Going international as a grad student

Undergrads may be able to get a lot out of their overseas experiences, but grad students may be better equipped for studying abroad. As a grad student, you’ve had more time to mature, which can help you get the most out of an exchange program. And that’s not just in terms of appreciating a new culture and experiencing life in a new place. Grad students can seize upon educational opportunities while succeeding in the classroom. Graduate students who have studied abroad bring to the table a stronger educational foundation, which could open more doors and further propel their careers.

Gaining unique experience

In many professional fields, international experience is a big benefit. Employers gravitate toward job applicants with study abroad experience, for whom prospective business partnerships can be buoyed by cultural understanding. Grad students with study abroad experience will be able to pursue these roles with a greater understanding of their strengths, weaknesses and what their professional field will demand from them.

Tip: Start planning well in advance

If you decide to take advantage of a graduate-level study abroad program, make sure your bases are covered. For example, it’s important to figure out the everyday costs—including living expenses—to make sure you’ll have enough money to get by. Make passport and visa arrangements if you haven’t already done so. And since you’ll be traveling overseas, find a graduate student health insurance policy. Most domestically issued health insurance policies don’t cover international travel, so you’ll need to find a suitable replacement.

If your graduate program has connections with various study abroad opportunities, explore your options and talk with your advisor to figure out what’s best for your education and career. The most important thing for your long-term ambitions is seeking out new opportunities that can push your career forward. It’s more and more likely that one of those steps will bring you overseas.

About the Author:

This guest article is provided by Kristine Esser. She enjoys writing about study abroad opportunities.

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3 Ways to Save Money Studying Abroad


studyabroadmoneyStudying abroad is a financial mess from the moment you turn in your application. You have to worry about tuition, program fees, travel costs, housing costs, entertainment costs, and other hidden costs of living, such as the laundry that you forgot you had to do. Once you are in your host country you will be very tempted to spend money. You will want to try new foods, visit new sights, and make yourself as comfortable as possible at all costs. Up until now, studying abroad sounds like it will wipe out your bank account. However, there are proven ways to help you save money while you are studying abroad. The top three areas that you can save money in while studying abroad are on traveling, laundry, and souvenirs.

1. There are some things you can do to save travel and lodging costs although it will require some research. If you take the time to look you will be surprised to find that there are some plane companies with very low cost rates. Of course, there are many inconveniences about these low-cost flights such as the airports being in a bad location, no space on the plane, and overpriced baggage fees. However these will go hardly noticed when you realize how much money you are saving on the flight itself.

2. Another way you can save money is to stay in a hostel. Hostels are basically hotels that are designed for student travelers and many of them match hotel quality standards. They can be much cheaper than an actual hotel which will save you tons of money. Another area to save money in while studying abroad is on laundry. At home you have always had the convenience of doing your laundry for free or having your parents supply you with laundry supplies but now that you’re on your own its going to be get expensive, especially if you will be using a laundromat. Some ways you can cut down on laundry costs are to use store brand detergent, which is generally cheaper, wash full loads only so you don’t have to spend money on multiple small loads, and determine how much detergent you will need per load. You can also save money on drying by choosing to dry your clothes on a clothesline instead of using a heavy-duty dryer. By following these tips on laundry you will be able to have extra spending money in no time.

3. Finally, you can save money by rethinking your approach to buying souvenirs. Instead of spending money on something like a t-shirt or a novelty try to make souvenirs out of anything free that you can get. For example, you can collect museum tickets, plane tickets, a restaurant menu, an empty can of soda, and so on. You can even take these things and make a scrapbook out of them when you come home. These free items have the same feel as souvenirs that you can buy and you will always have them to look back on and remind yourself of your trip.

By following these three tips on how to save money while studying abroad you will find yourself coming up with even more creative ways to save. You can take your saved money and put it toward something that you really want to do while you’re away or you can save it in your bank account, or you can just keep it as emergency money. There is no need to wipe out your bank account while you are studying abroad. You can still save while having fun and getting all of your necessary chores out of the way.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Amanda Perkins. She writes and edits the Study Abroad website ClassAbroad.com. She enjoys traveling, learning, and writing. She recently published a piece on Study Abroad Funding.

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How to Choose a Study Abroad Destination


Depending on the day, year or the result of the latest uprising, the world is made up of approximately 190 countries. So if you want to study abroad, it can be difficult to pick a destination. But when you think carefully about your professional objectives and your financial goals, it can help you zero-in on the right country for your study abroad experience.

Your goals

What exactly are you planning to get out of studying abroad? If you are hoping to become fluent in, say, French, then choosing a program in Paris will force you to pick up this language quickly in order to communicate. If on the other hand, you have an interest in learning French, but your degree is in wildlife conservation, you might be better off heading to Madagascar, where one of its official languages is French, but where you can also study lemurs in their natural habitat. Most students only have one opportunity to study abroad, and if that is also your case, take the time to carefully consider what program and country will give you the best experiences to complement your chosen major.

Culture clashes

Be honest with yourself. If you have never been to a big city or have never traveled out of the United States, you may be more comfortable in an English-speaking country, such as the United Kingdom or Australia. In either country, you’d still need to adjust to a different culture, but that’s easier for some people when there’s no language barrier.  Heading to Tokyo, however, could be sensory overload for you if you don’t speak the language.  You might have a hard time learning how to navigate this bustling city’s transportation system and dealing with the crowds.

Also consider whether you would be bored in a study-abroad program in a rural setting; some people find it hard to live without city amenities. While these may sound like minor considerations, they are the types of things that could cause you to become homesick and undermine the enjoyment of your study-abroad program.

Safety

Before choosing a study-abroad program, check the U.S. State Department’s website for current travel warnings. While your dream may be to study architecture in Egypt, given its current unstable political climate, this may not be the best time to take courses in this nation.

Preparation

Once you have chosen a country for your study-abroad program, you should speak to an adviser to verify that any credits you earn overseas will be transferable. You will also need to make sure your passport is in order obtain international student medical insurance to cover your healthcare needs. Finally, if you are currently renting an apartment, look into subletting, so you won’t be paying double for accommodations when you’re overseas. Arrange to pay any repeating bills – like car insurance and electrical service – before you leave.

Studying abroad is a great way to broaden your horizons. Not only will you be working toward your degree, you’ll be gaining experience that makes you a much more attractive candidate, when you begin searching for a job. Prepare in advance for your trip, so you can make the most of your experience overseas.

Today’s guest article comes from Kristine Esser.

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Study Abroad on a Budget Without Selling a Kidney


The Most Important Factor in Your Budgeted Study Abroad Plan

There are tons of websites on the Internet advising you on how to study abroad. For those of you without family fortunes to squander, there are just as many websites instructing you on how to study abroad on a budget. Having read a great many of these blogs, websites and recommendations in my research for this piece, I can tell you that very, very few of the authors had any idea of what a strict budget entails nor did they give any indication of an experience with the uncomfortable consequences of failing to follow one.

Behind many of the shallow instructions—such as “don’t buy too many souvenirs” followed immediately by instructions to eat out to save money—were clear outlines of upper middle class college students who needed only to email their folks back home for a deposit into their ATM account. Luckily, an anonymous financial genius posted an article on StudyAbroad101.com. Read his suggestion carefully because it can mean the difference between staying on a budget or panhandling: “Before you even decide where you’re studying abroad, make sure you choose either an appropriate destination or time frame that will fit your estimated budget.” Eureka!

NecessaryBut SecondaryFactors for a Budget-Friendly Study Abroad Plan

So now that you’ve established that you could afford to stay 36 hours in Tokyo, London or Paris, start your investigations into studying in a country that’s friendlier to your bank account. As you consider each destination, keep a chart of the information you discover about different categories of information such as the currency exchange and the volatility of such; institutions offering programs, the subjects offered, tuition costs, and estimated fees for textbooks and supplies; and where you’re going to live and how you’re going to eat.

Other prerequisites for your trip that need to be taken care of before you leave include:

  • Make an appointment to be seen by a travel physician in order to schedule necessary immunizations and health advice for the country in which you’ll be studying. Complete this task early, as some immunizations require a series of injections.
  • Get copies of prescriptions from your regular doctor for any medications you might require for chronic conditions and those medications you take as prescribed.
  • Purchase travel insurance. Before you start to object about saving costs, let me assure you that budget student travel insurance is available. Allow me also to remind you that the cost of any healthcare treatment or medical transportation back to the U.S. makes the cost of such insurance seem insignificant.
  • Take the time to research your living options while studying abroad. Locating seasoned housing groups is always a good starting point to begin your comparison.

The Top Three Least Expensive Study Abroad Destinations

According to the most recent survey results conducted for 2012 by StudyAbroad.com, the least expensive destinations for study abroad options include the following:

·Mexico

  • Ranked the “#1 budget-friendly destination”
  • Ranked 4.3 COLA stars out of 164 reviews
  • Offers 246 programs of study

·Senegal

  • Ranked 2nd
  • Ranked 4.6 COLA stars out of 31 reviews
  • Offers 15 programs of study

·Peru

  • Ranked 3rd
  • Ranked 4.2 COLA stars out of 97 reviews
  • Offers 89 programs of study

Au Revoir

Enjoy your time spent studying abroad. Be safe, but have fun. And if you’ve chosen an inexpensive country in which to study, you’ve already eliminated a great deal of worry about money and what you’ll be able to afford.

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The Five Hidden Benefits of Study Abroad


Studying abroad is an absolutely amazing experience that all college student should try. Why? In addition to learning more about another country and culture, it also comes with many, many hidden benefits. Here are just a few of the positive parts of traveling abroad that help to make the additional educational investment worthwhile:

1. Cool and confident.

Wondering how to react to an unexpected situation? Do you need to improve your project management skills? Want to impress your date by trying out a weird new food? Traveling abroad makes you more ready to deal with wacky situations that pop up from time to time. In fact, 98% of students who studied abroad for one year said they felt more confident by the time they hopped on the plane home according to Marked By Teachers. After all, spending a year in another country by yourself where you may or may not speak the language is sure to lead to some interesting (and confidence-building!) predicaments.

2. Expand your horizons.

Learning about another culture does a funny thing to a person – it makes them want to learn more and more about other places in the world. Travel once, and you’ll never want to stop. Studying abroad helps you stay open and excited about new experiences.

3. Increase your intelligence.

Can studying abroad make you smarter? Absolutely! 80% of students who have traveled abroad say that they’ve returned with an “enhanced commitment to academic study.” In plain language, that means they came back ready to work! Going to class overseas can help you get excited about schoolwork. Simply changing your location makes everything else seem more exciting. Dr. Clark Hendley, a college student in the 60s, said, “My own year in Vienna…served not as the climax of my education, but the beginning.” It’s a great sentiment, right?

4. Tell great stories.

If you think telling great stories isn’t that much of a benefit, then you’ve never been to a networking event. Having a great anecdote at the right moment can make the different between going home with no business cards and being the person everyone remembers.

5. Become a grown up.

Learning how to do stuff for yourself, in another language, when you don’t understand the culture, can help you grow up. Learning to rely on yourself helps you grow up faster – making you better able to deal with situations as they arise.

Study abroad comes with some obvious benefits, but also with some hidden, but just as valuable, benefits. When you’re planning your academic experience, don’t forget to set aside some time for travel – you’ll be glad you did.

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Cheap Housing Tips For Students Studying Abroad


Whether it’s across the Pacific, smack dab in central Europe, in the heart of Africa or along Australia’s Gold Coast, record numbers of cost-conscious college students annually study abroad, finding the experience even more rewarding thanks to these budget-friendly housing tips.

1. Partner with a university-sponsored program.

For a majority of students, university-sponsored programs offer reasonable and affordable dormitory-style housing in their location of choice. By living and engaging daily with fellow college students, language barriers quickly fade, and common interests quickly develop thanks to similar coursework and activities. Learning local peers’ perspectives on college life is also often a plus to this arrangement. For more on pricing and programs available, students should connect with their respective institution’s study abroad office.

2. Seek out businesses that cater specifically to student housing needs.

Community-style housing options off-campus but close to all the action can provide another perspective on the culture and camaraderie of the chosen country. For example, student accommodations in Brisbane, Australia, are just a “door step to beautiful Parklands, art galleries, museums, West End’s vibrant nightlife…A truly ideal location for students, directly opposite South Bank train station and busway, and within easy reach of Brisbane’s universities.”

3. Consider a homestay.

For total immersion in the native language and nuances of everyday life in the selected country, staying with a host family (homestay) might be the perfect fit. Many students who have opted for this arrangement report feeling like an adoptive member of their host’s family.  Living in their homes, getting to know their immediate and extended families, talking around the dinner table about native traditions, or just listening to everyday experiences have turned strangers into lifelong friends, resulting in lasting relationships well after the student’s time abroad ends.

4. Rent a place.

Finding a place to stay while abroad has become even more innovative and fun thanks to companies such as Airbnb and CouchSurfing, both of which have been featured prominently in the media. Airbnb “connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 26,000 cities and 192 countries.” From villas to castles to a simple apartment, Airbnb might just provide the added oomph to any study-abroad experience. At the same time, CouchSurfiing encourages breaking out of the routines associated with traditional travel by connecting like-minded people with each other to experience another culture in an entirely new way. Visit their sites to learn all the possibilities for renting around the world.

5. Stay at a Youth Hostel

Sometimes experiencing the culture of a new country is best discovered with those wanting to do exactly the same, as is often the case with travelers staying at youth hostels. A budget-friendly alternative, hostels are typically less expensive and provide basic accommodations. Stay times are flexible as well. Students can check out hostels.com and other web-based resources to find the right one for their personality.

So, whether you are planning to study abroad as part of your current academic program or you have a passion for going to college for graphic design overseas, I hope you find these cost saving tips helpful.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Karen Gerboth. She serves as the Director of University Communications at Wittenberg University where she enjoys covering a wide array of higher education topics.

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