Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by AIFS Abroad
Dreaming of your next adventure? Now is the perfect time to get a jumpstart on planning your future study abroad experience. Have something to look forward to next year — start planning your 2021 study abroad experience now!
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself to help plan for your 2021 study abroad experience:
1. Where do I want to study abroad?
Do you have an interest in a particular country or part of the world? Do you prefer a particular climate? If you are looking for warm beaches, consider destinations like Costa Rica or Chile. Are you more into winter activities and cooler climates? Look into cities like Salzburg, Grenoble or St. Petersburg.
Some students decide to study abroad in a place where they have a family connection to develop a deeper connection to their heritage. Other students choose their study abroad location based on how easy it is to travel to other places of interest. You may choose to study in the Southern Hemisphere (like Australia, New Zealand or Argentina!) if you are looking to experience the opposite season as back home. Planning ahead is especially important if you want to study in the Southern Hemisphere because the academic calendar is different than in the Northern Hemisphere.
Whether you have already decided on your dream study abroad location or you are still browsing, planning ahead helps you learn more about program locations. Start creating a must-see list of sites now!
2. Do I want to study abroad in a big, medium, or small city?
If you are looking for a bustling city, consider major capitals like Paris and London. Locations like Prague, Florence and Budapest are ideal for those looking for less populous cities. For a more suburban feel, look at destinations like Maynooth or Stellenbosch.
Planning ahead for your 2021 study abroad experience gives you the chance to choose the ideal program location for you – and to start learning more about the people who live there!
3. Do I have an interest in language learning?
Studying abroad is the perfect way to immerse yourself in a language you are studying – or introduce yourself to a new language! Many AIFS 2021 Study Abroad Programs offer language courses at all levels, with no previous language study required.
If you are interested in language learning, it is beneficial to plan ahead so you can get a jumpstart on learning the local language. If you are already familiar with the language, it’s still a good idea to plan ahead for any language level placement exams.
4. Should I satisfy my major’s requirements or take general electives?
AIFS offers a variety of programs to meet your academic needs. Some programs offer a wide variety of courses, while others are more focused on particular areas of learning like language. Before deciding on a program location, look at the courses you need to take to fulfill your degree requirements. You can even search AIFS programs by courses offered to help you narrow down your options!
It’s important to plan early to make sure you meet your academic needs when studying abroad. Make sure you have enough time to contact your academic advisor with any questions and apply early to get your first choice courses.
5. How can I ensure I can afford to study abroad?
Many students are unsure about how to overcome financial roadblocks to study abroad. However, a lot of students discover that they can apply their financial aid towards studying abroad. Contact your financial aid office at your home university early in the process if you are interested in applying financial aid towards your study abroad adventure.
There are also numerous scholarship opportunities for study abroad students. In fact, over 50% of AIFS students receive financial support from AIFS in the form of grants or scholarships! If finances are a concern, it is also helpful to research destinations with a lower cost of living and start planning a budget for your days abroad.
If you need financial assistance to study abroad, it’s definitely beneficial to plan early. It takes time to find and apply for scholarships, and many have strict deadlines that you don’t want to miss!
6. Do I want to intern or volunteer abroad?
Many AIFS programs offer internship or service-learning opportunities. Focused on sprucing up your résumé? Search for international internship opportunities. Do you feel a calling to give back to your study abroad city? Look into volunteer and service-learning opportunities and find a cause that is important to you.
If you are planning to intern or volunteer abroad next year, it’s a good idea to start planning now. Many opportunities are limited, so apply early!
7. How long do I want to study abroad?
It can be helpful to narrow down your program options by deciding how long you want to go abroad. If you are worried about being away from home for too long, consider a summer or January Term program. Do you want more time to immerse yourself in a new country? Look into Fall or Spring semester programs – or choose both and spend an academic year abroad!
It’s important to start planning early if you want to study abroad during a specific term. Planning early will help you keep an eye on deadlines and give you time to gather your required documents.
Start Planning Your 2021 Study Abroad Adventure!
Don’t get stressed by last-minute planning – start your study abroad journey today!