Tips for Choosing a Program
Not sure which study abroad program is right for you? Take these tips into consideration while you explore your options!
- Which classes do you need to take while abroad to stay on track for your degree?
- Are there restrictions or policies for your major or academic college regarding classes you can and cannot take abroad?
- Save some of your general education requirements for your time abroad
- Consider taking a mix of major, minor, general education, and elective credits while abroad (with approval from your academic adviser!)
- Taking major courses abroad can give you insight into your chosen specialty within an international context
- General education and elective credits taken abroad can help you learn about the culture you are living in as well as open you up to new interests and experiences
- What do I want to get out of studying abroad?
- Do I want to learn a language?
- Do I want to be in a big city or a smaller city/town?
- Do I want to experience what it is like to attend a large university in another country?
- Do I want to be able to easily travel to many different places?
- What level of support/independence do I want while abroad?
- Do I want to go abroad with only other Penn State students?
- Do I want to go abroad with a Penn State faculty member?
- Do I want to take courses directly enrolled at a local University?
- Think about what you want out of your experience, not what others want. Talking to other students about their experiences is a great way to research, but ultimately you want to pick the program that is the best fit for you, not for them.
- What kind of skills do I want to learn while studying abroad?
- Should I do an internship while studying abroad?
- What types of extra-curricular activities do I want to try while abroad?
- Studying abroad is a good time to build social networks. Networking with new people on your program, at your host institution, and that you meet during your time abroad can help you to build an international network of contacts and colleagues as you move into your future career.
- Many of our semester long programs offer an academic internship option. Completing an internship while abroad is a great way to gain professional experience in an international context.
- Start thinking about the soft skills you develop while studying abroad and how you can hone those on your program. Soft skills include things like intercultural communication, adaptability, and problem-solving.