Choosing a Program
Making a smart decision
To get a broad overview of the study abroad process including motivations to go abroad, arrangements to make before you go, and adjustments you'll need to go through while living abroad, check out the StudyAbroad.com Handbook. There is also a Parent's Version of the handbook that covers things parents parents are often concerned about like insurance, cell phones, packing, and safety
Questions to ask yourself...
The goal in selecting a study abroad program is to find the best match between your objectives and what various programs have to offer. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What goals do I hope to attain from my experience abroad?
- How adaptable am I to different ways of thinking and other cultures?
- Do I need to study in a program related to my major, or can I choose one whose subjects apply primarily as electives?
- Would I prefer a short-term international experience or as long a period abroad as possible?
- Do I want to master a language, experiment with a new language, or enroll in an English speaking program?
- Do I want to enroll directly in a foreign university, or do I want a program tailored to visiting American students?
- Do I want to participate in an internship related to my career goals?
- Do I want to live with host country students or families, other Americans, or independently?
- How much can I afford to spend on an overseas program?
- Is there one country or city that I would most like to learn about? (But keep an open mind!)
- Am I academically eligible for the programs I want? (Nearly all require a 2.5. Some a 3.0 or higher.)
- Talk to your adviser about your interest in studying abroad. Review your degree plan to determine the best time for you to go and the kind of courses you might take.
- Explore your options by looking at the programs linked to this website. Come to the International Center to pick up the "Drake Study Abroad Guidelines" and program brochures that interest you.
- Talk to your parents about your interests. Explain how a study abroad program will fit your academic and personal goals. Discuss any financial concerns with them.
- Make an appointment with the Study Abroad Office to discuss programs that may fit your needs. Keep an open mind and be prepared to talk about questions like those listed under "Questions to ask yourself..." Talk about any concerns your parents expressed.
- Talk to study abroad returnees and international students about programs and countries you are considering.
- Check out Abroad101, a new feedback website with program reviews from students all across the country.
- Narrow down your choices to one or two preferences with help of your adviser, parents, and the Study Abroad Office.
- Visit Student Financial Planning to learn how your financial aid will apply. (Apply for program-specific financial aid too.)
Comparing Program Costs
Carefully examine what the published costs include for each program. Programs that appear less expensive may actually cost more than similar ones whose published fees are higher. Fees usually cover tuition plus...
- Room? (Is it included or must you find your own apartment?)
- Meals? (How many per week?)
- Airfare? (One way? Round trip?)
- Local transportation? (Bus or subway passes?)
- Stipend for personal expenses? (Not common)
- Field trips?
Other costs related to studying abroad include:
- Passport ($95)
- Visa (Varies by country.)
- Passport photos (Available Walgreens and Copycat)
- International Student Identity Card (ISIC) (Available at the International Center)
- Costs listed above that are not included in your program's fees
- Personal travel
(Be careful of this last one! Do you plan to see all of South America while you are studying in Chile? Talk to a travel agent. Talk to your program provider. Read travel books and figure out how much your dreams will cost you! Study abroad usually costs only slightly more than a comparable time at Drake... IF you don't overdo your personal travel!)