Are you interested in studying abroad but worried it might delay your graduation? Well, fear not! A recent study shows that students who study abroad are more likely to graduate on time (and with a higher GPA) than those who don’t. You can fulfill your wanderlust and stay on track for graduation.
Here are some tips to graduate on time and study abroad:
1. Take advantage of your school breaks.
Don’t want to miss any time at your home university? One way to stay on track for graduation while studying abroad is to take advantage of your school recesses. There are many short-term study abroad programs during winter or summer breaks.
January Term programs (also known as J-Term, winter session, intersession or winter term programs) typically last two to three weeks. Summer programs can range from three weeks to 12 weeks long. On many of our summer programs, students have the choice to combine sessions and extend their adventure. These short-term programs allow you to earn credits towards your degree while giving you a taste of the study abroad experience!
That being said, it’s totally possible to study abroad for a semester (or more) and graduate on time. It just takes some planning, regardless of your program term or duration.
Which brings us to our next tip…
2. Talk to your advisors/study abroad office at your home university.
It’s important to make sure that the credits you earn abroad will transfer back to your home university. That’s why it’s crucial to talk to your advisors and study abroad office before committing to a program. They can help you navigate the transfer process so you can graduate on time.
Your home institution determines how your credits earned abroad will transfer. During the AIFS Abroad application process, you’ll complete a Course Approval Form, which will be signed off by your study abroad office staff and/or faculty at your university. We recommend getting additional courses approved in case you decide to change courses while abroad. An official transcript will be issued by the university abroad and sent to your home university at the end of the semester.
3. Do your research.
When researching study abroad programs, read reviews from past participants and reach out to alumni. Find out how strenuous the classes were and how much free time they had to get to know their host city. While learning abroad should be the focus of your experience, it’s important to not take on too much intense coursework – remember, you’ll want to leave time for exploring, traveling, immersing yourself in the culture, and making memories!
When you create your AIFS Abroad student account, you gain access to our vast alumni network who are happy to answer questions about specific locations and the study abroad process in general. To connect with alumni, click on the “Ask Alumni” button in your AIFS Abroad student portal. You can search by program location and host university.
Don’t let the fear of not graduating on time hold you back from studying abroad.
Living and learning outside your comfort zone is an amazing opportunity to grow personally and academically. With proper planning, you can study abroad and stay on track for graduation.