So, you decided to study abroad! I’m so excited for you. My name is Justin Edwards and I attend Howard University.
Today, I’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) I get about studying abroad with AIFS.
1. “Now that I want to go, where do I start?”
The best thing to do first is to visit the study abroad office or center on your campus. Every university has one and they’ll be able to give you more information about the programs, locations and providers that will work well for your major.
2. “How do I pick a program?”
Well, there are so many different types of programs out there, so that it is a tough one. There’s research-based, there’s internships, there’s travel-based, there’s language and cultural immersion, and so many more.
It’s important to keep in mind what classes you need to graduate and from there see which kind of experience you’d like. After that, figure what locations offer the experience you’d like and the courses you need.
3. “Should I do a homestay or an apartment?”
I can’t tell you which to do, but I can share some insight about my experience. So when I went to Italy, I chose to stay with a homestay because really wanted to engage with the culture and thought it’d be nice to have a group of people there who can help look out for me since it was my first time going abroad.
I found that the homestay was just an additional bonus to studying abroad. They helped me with my homework when I had trouble with the Italian, they invited me to share meals with them quite often, and on occasion they would take me around to see different hidden sites of Rome — and that really added to my experience.
Now, my friends who decided to stay in an apartment found that they had a little more independence. They were able to come and go a little more freely, as well as get to know their peers who stayed in the apartment with them. So, to each their own!
4. “Should I sign up for the meal plan?”
If this is something that is available to you, I would highly recommend you take advantage of it. When I was studying abroad, having a meal plan made it one less thing to worry about when it was time to eat and I was busy running around the city touring different places or going to class.
For example, when I studied abroad in Italy, we were given vouchers that were accepted just like money at hundreds of restaurants across Italy, which gave us a lot of variety when we were hungry.
5. “Should I sign up for the outside excursions?”
If this opportunity is one that is available to you, I would highly recommend it.
Whenever you go on these outside excursions, it’s like a mini vacation that you didn’t have to plan for yourself. In addition to that, these trips are always carefully planned and specially catered to students. There’s often times a tour of the city and you get exclusive access to venues that you wouldn’t normally be able to see. There’s always enough free time to spend on your own and my absolute favorite part of these outside excursions is that at every location you get a taste of local cuisine.
I hope you found this helpful! If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to go to AIFSabroad.com and reaching out to an Ambassador, such as myself, or visiting the study abroad center on your campus.