Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Idea of studying abroad

Just the idea of studying abroad can make someone's head spin. Europe,Austria,South America, Africa, Australia, Asia. Already there are five choices and you haven't even explored all the continents yet not to mention the endless possibilities for city choices inside each of them.It can be overwhelming just choosing a location. Then the fun stuff comes, like choosing a program and looking at prices. To help sort through all of the confusion, the University of Florida puts on a study abroad fair for perspective travelers.

This year it will be on Wed., Sept. 21 in the Reitz Union Colonnade from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees can meet students who have been abroad, representatives from different programs and some of the faculty who lead the programs.Coming face-to-face with a slew of options can make the fair just as overwhelming. There are pamphlets and information about so many destinations that by the time you leave, you could either want no part in it or want to go to 16 different places.But before you even consider a program, you have to decide if studying abroad is right for you. Some people already know that studying overseas isn't for them you may be one of those people. Others know that if they want one thing out of their college education, it is time abroad.

A recommendation is to ask yourself a few questions before you actually decide what you want to do.For instance, if you have to take out a loan for your study abroad program, is it worth it? If money is an issue, looking for scholarships becomes part of the application process. The UF International Center offers scholarships for the academic year, semesters and summer. Note: The deadline for spring scholarships is coming up on Sept. 28th!When choosing a location, many factors come into play.Some students may base their decision off of the desire to learn another language.

If one of the reasons you want to study abroad is to sharpen your Italian skills, your options are limited. While if cold temperatures matter, you might not want to study in Northern Europe during the chilly winter months.In today's world of tight budgets and increasing tuitions, one of the biggest questions is whether or not studying abroad will be conducive to your graduation track. Will it fit in with your schedule?Depending on your intended course work, classes can be extremely varied while abroad. If staying in your major is important to you, finding the right program can take precedence over location.Will you be behind when you return from studying abroad?

Taking the time to look into the programs offered by your college or for your major will help you find the perfect fit.For instance, the College of Journalism and Communications offers a photojournalism program that goes to Berlin during the summer, while business majors can take core classes online while learning Spanish in Madrid.Choosing the time for your trip may also be a deciding factor studying abroad in the fall means missing a football season. If this is important to you, then spring or summer seem like better options.With all these things to ponder, going to the fair and learning about the programs could be helpful before answering some of the questions. It takes a lot of time and planning before you can come to a decision. When in doubt, check with the International Center for all of your studying abroad needs.

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