When choosing where to study abroad there are dozens of places, and lets face it, they all look amazing. So how do you choose where in the world you want to go? Choosing 'Where In The World' you want to study comes down to (practically) three factors:
1. Your Budget
2. The Language
3. Academic Credit
STEP 1: Evaluating Your Budget
Your budget is dependent upon three things: scholarships, savings, and your study abroad program. In my case, I found that the most affordable way for me to study abroad was through selecting one of my university's Partner Programs. How this works is I still pay my home university's tuition while attending a university abroad. Luckily, I applied for scholarships before college and my tuition is practically covered. I just had to worry about saving for costs of food, flights, and travel expenses.
When evaluating your budget, look at living costs. It varies not just by country, but by city as well. I first considered studying abroad in an 'independent study', which I learned fast was the least affordable option. It's much cheaper to study through your school and not on your own (and this minimizes any bumps with academic credit and financial aide). It's easiest to find a city that has a similar living cost to your hometown, but you can find cheaper no complaints there. ;)
When I first looked at studying in England, I didn't consider it an affordable choice because I was looking at living costs in London (VERY PRICY). Newcastle Upon Tyne is about a three hour train ride from London and much more affordable-which is great for my wallet.
STEP 2: Are You Comfortable Speaking Another Language?
It's hard enough for me to learn a new word in english and incorporate it into my daily conversations. This should put into perspective the challenge that learning a foreign language is for me. Let me tell you, it doesn't come naturally. This factor is dependent on each person. When looking at studying abroad, I knew I would struggle if I decided on studying in Spain (despite taking three college Spanish courses). This left England and Australia as my first choices where there would be no language barrier.
"Being submersed in a foreign language and culture is one
the best ways to learn another language."
If you're only going for a few weeks for a summer program abroad, I don't think it would be nearly as stressful, even if their foreign language isn't your forte. Don't get me wrong, studying in a foreign country and being submersed in their language and culture is probably the best way to learn (and even master) another language. You'd be applying it on a day to day basis-it's just not for me. :)
STEP 3: Getting Academic Credit
For me one of the huge points of studying abroad is getting college credit for it. I would just make a summer vacation out of it if there wasn't a way for me to get credit for college classes. Just be sure when looking into a university abroad that they offer classes for your major during the semester that you plan on studying there. It's also great to try to fit in a couple of classes for your minor or any electives to change it up a bit. We're taking a British Colloquium class and learning about the history of England and their culture, which means lots of field trips, and I'm never too old for those.
What's so great about getting academic credit abroad is its like a vacation, but you're learning about your passion (your major), experiencing such a variety of people and all the while not wasting any time in college!
Now that you know to factor in your budget, comfortability with a (potential) language barrier, and receiving academic credit for classes, your list of options on where to study abroad should be narrowed down!