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guide-to-study-abroadThe study abroad office at my college sent me at least one email per week during my freshman year. I would usually delete them. Study abroad seemed so decadent. They were persistent, though, and I thought of them after I fell in love with Costa Rica over my spring break. The country was beautiful, and I finally had the chance to use the Spanish that I had been studying for so long.

When I got home I went to the study abroad office, hoping to research programs and plan far in advance to return to Costa Rica for my junior year. As it turned out, one program had just extended its deadline for admission the following year. I assumed it was a sign, applied, and was accepted to the Grupo de Kansas.

The Grupo de Kansas is sponsored by the Univ. of Kansas. Forty to 50 students take integrated classes at the Univ. of Costa Rica in San Jose. It sounded perfect. I only wanted to return; it didn’t even occur to me that the other American students would be a part of my life.

I met my exchange group of about 40 people who looked just like me at the airport for the flight to San Jose, Costa Rica. We all spoke English, of course. When we got off at the San Jose airport, everyone around us spoke Spanish. It wasn’t the slow, polite Spanish of my conversations with beach bums over spring break; it was rapid, everyday, city Spanish. Suddenly I was scared. What had I gotten myself into?

Our exchange group leader spoke to us in rapid Spanish at the front of the bus that met us at the airport. I couldn’t concentrate, and I figured that every guilty word of English that I spoke could be my last. The next day I would be put with a host family, start classes, and kiss English good-bye.

Most of the people in my exchange group lived within blocks of me, and the first month in Costa Rica was spent in an orientation session together. The group divided itself into cliques. The cliques helped each other to ease the pain of culture shock and language barriers. We traveled together, ate together, studied together. The only problem was that it was hard to overcome culture shock and language barriers when we were always together.

A Traveling Program

Ann Ertl, a Women’s Studies graduate from the Univ. of Minnesota, experienced a similar problem on her summer program, Semester at Sea, sponsored by the Univ. of Pittsburgh. The program is expensive. The lengthy cruise is on a ship equipped with, as the brochure says, “cabins, classrooms, a student union, dining facilities, a library, computer lab, a campus store, and outdoor fitness areas.”

Most of the time is spent on the ship with the 400 other American students on the program. When the ship docked at one of the nine countries they visited during the program, students were free to go ashore and spend their time as they chose. Ertl spent her time with a group from the program who had arranged to meet local people at bars and restaurants. However, many of the students chose to spend the time together. She says she felt, at times, that she was at a traveling fraternity party. She felt that some people went on the trip for the sole purpose of meeting a mate, and that some students didn’t treat the host cultures with respect.

But Ertl says that overall she learned a lot and is glad she went on the program. She not only met interesting people on the ship, but she also has people in nine countries to stay with if she ever returns to any of the group’s stops. She says the credit card bills she now has to pay off are well worth it for the experience.

Spain on Your Own

Molly Lopresti, a graduate of the Spanish program at the Univ. of Minnesota, studied for a year in Salamanca, Spain, but not through a college-sponsored program. She enrolled directly at the Univ. of Salamanca through a program called “Cursos Internacionales.”

Although her first few days were stressful–arranging room, board, and transportation, all in Spanish–Lopresti says she learned a lot from the experience. She did everything herself: booked a flight, found a place to stay when she got there, found her own host family, and enrolled herself in classes.

While students on a sponsored study abroad program have a built-in support system to fall back on, Lopresti did not; she had to create her own. Fortunately, people from all around the world and all different backgrounds were enrolled in the courses, and many had Spanish friends. Lopresti met Spanish people this way. She saw the differences between herself and students her own age who were in Spain on sponsored programs and was glad that she didn’t have a connection to any group.

The students, she said, “treated Spain as if it were Disney World. . . . I saw people travel in gangs and speak English all the time. They were in Spain but living their lives as if they weren’t.”

Trying Different Approaches

Mike Arnold, a Spanish and international business senior at the Univ. of Minnesota, found that 10 weeks was not a long enough time to study abroad when he enrolled for a quarter at the Institute of Cemanahuac in Cuernavaca, Mexico through a Univ. of Minnesota program. The program was designed to help students fulfill their language credits in a shorter amount of time by studying together in intensive language courses.

Although the program featured a homestay, Arnold felt that there was a lot of English spoken because the American students were in class together all day. He separated himself from the group and had a language partner, but he did not think that the other participants in the program were well integrated into the culture. Many of his group members spent time at bars together.

“You’re not really going to get to know anyone if you’re hanging out in this one clique of Americans,” he observed. The students also didn’t have a lot of time to integrate themselves into the culture when they only stayed for 10 weeks.

Arnold will be studying abroad again in the upcoming semester, but he will not go through the study abroad office. Instead, he will enroll at a private Catholic school in Pamplona, Spain, and pay $300 less than he did for his quarter in Cuernavaca. He says that people limit their options by only checking into college-sponsored programs.

“There’s a world of opportunities out there if you just want to go out and look for it,” he said, “Doing it on your own takes a little footwork and persistence but it’s possible.”

Surveying the Spectrum

Jamie Clark works at the International Study and Travel Center, an advising and referral service at the Univ. of Minnesota for students who are about to work, study, or travel abroad. She says that the circumstances of study abroad are not as important as individual preferences and what a student hopes to get out of the experience. Jamie has spent 2½ years in Germany. She didn’t go on a study abroad program; she received a scholarship and enrolled directly. She didn’t spend much time with other Americans, although it would have been easy for her to do.

What Clark has seen at the International Study and Travel Center is that people have different things that they want to accomplish from study abroad. Language majors are more likely to take their time abroad seriously, she says; so are students who have a previous interest in the host culture. Students who are looking for a new place to party may not care so much about trying to assimilate, but priorities change over time.

Is There a Wrong Way to Study Abroad?

I spent a year in Costa Rica and noticed the changes in my own attitude and approach toward the experience. Some people who left after a semester didn’t get much more than a superficial vacation experience, and I didn’t either until having the time to realize just how much I was missing out on by living the American lifestyle in another country. Some people knew this already and acted accordingly, separating themselves from the group. Clark says that whether a person separates themselves or not depends on several factors, including maturity levels and whether or not they have studied abroad before. She says that even an initial study abroad experience in which the person avoids getting to know the host culture can be good–because it means that the next time they study abroad they may do it differently.

It’s natural to want to spend time with people who are like you, and even more natural when you are under stress. When it is as easy as it was made for the members of Ertl’s, Arnold’s, or my exchange group, it’s natural that the people within the group will spend time together. Lopresti’s advice for this dilemma is the following: “Try to talk to as few Americans as possible; your first month will be awful, but it will be worth it.”

Clark’s approach is less strict. She says that people are going to do what they want to do. Maybe the people who are creating a miniature U.S. for themselves will realize that they’re missing something and maybe they won’t. Being by yourself and getting to know the culture immediately is the most intense way of going about it. But not everyone likes intensity, myself included. Sometimes the administrative dollars are worth the support system that they provide to you as a member of a group.

I went back to Costa Rica because I wanted to learn more Spanish, learn about Costa Rican culture, hang out on the beach, and meet some people. I did all of that on a program that I enjoyed and where I felt secure; it just took longer.

Study Abroad Programs

Grupo de Kansas at the Univ. of Costa Rica. Offers one-month orientation session worth three semester credits at beginning which include a culture, history, and writing class. Twelve to 15 credits each semester. Cost for semester: $5,470; academic year: $9,470. Includes tuition, fees, housing, meals, and field trips. Living arrangements: host family. For more information contact: Univ. of Kansas, Office of Study Abroad, 108 Lippincott Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045-1731; 785-864-3742, fax 785-864-5040; osa@ukans.edu, www.ku.edu/~osa/.

Semester at Sea through the Univ. of Pittsburgh. Offers 12-15 credits each semester. The cost is $13,650-$15,550. Adult rates: $15,550-$18,550. Includes tuition, passage fare, room and board. (Adults may go on the excursions and audit courses or receive credit.) Rates vary depending on cabin size. Living arrangements are on the ship with an option to stay in port cities. For more information contact: Institute for Shipboard Education, Semester at Sea, 811 William Pitt Union, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; 800-854-0195 or 412-648-7490, fax 412-648-2298; shipboard@sas.ise.pitt.edu, www.semesteratsea.com.

Cursos Internacionales through the Univ. of Salamanca. Offers Spanish language and culture courses for undergraduate and graduate Spanish students. Usually transferable credit. Cost depends on length of time spent studying: from one week to one trimester. Molly Lopresti estimated the cost as $2,100 per trimester for room and board, and tuition. Housing arrangements are up to the participant. For more information contact: Cursos Internacionales, Universidad de Salamanca, Patio de Escuelas Menores s/n. 37008, Salamanca, España; 011-34-923-294-418, fax 011-34-923-294-504, www.usal.es.

Spanish in Cuernavaca through the Univ. of Minnesota. Offers 14-15 credits of Spanish language requisites. Cost for fall semester: $4,450; spring: $4,650. Includes tuition, administrative fees, room and board, and one field trip. Living arrangements with host family. For more information contact: The Global Campus, Univ. of Minnesota, 102 Nicholson Hall, 216 Pillsbury Dr., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0138; 612-626-9000, fax 612-626- 8009; cls@cuernavacalanguageschool.com, www.cuernavacalanguageschool.com.

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There are few more exciting experiences in college than studying abroad. Often though, the study opportunity, like going to college in general, can be fraught with financial burdens. But just as with college in general, students can apply for and receive scholarships allowing them to study abroad. Here are some ways you can track down that money and pursue a semester that may change your life. 

  1. Check with your college financial aid office. Just because you’re studying abroad for a semester, or a year, or even longer, doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t still eligible for scholarships from your home college or university. You may be excluded, but you won’t know unless you ask. So if you’re looking for a scholarship to help you study abroad, make one of your first calls to your home school’s financial aid department – see what funds may transfer to study abroad programs. They may also be a source of information on other options. 
  2. Check with your study abroad program. Whether you’re going abroad through your home college or through another university or program, talk to those running the program to see what scholarships may be available. Many programs have money set aside to help students in financial need. Others may have merit-based scholarships. Sometimes, the money won’t pay for your tuition or room and board, but it may defray the costs of air travel or other “start up expenses.” Check with your program for financial aid opportunities.
  3. Think locally. Many town and city organizations have money set aside each year for scholarships for local college students. Look into these organizations; some may have money specifically for students who want to travel. Some may even have their own small-scale study abroad programs.

    Also consider contacting local organizations that relate to your study abroad plans. Are you going to Italy to study art history? Consider contacting the local art society or the local Italian-American club and asking what scholarships they may offer. You never know until you ask. They may be glad to help. And you may be able to repay their generosity by doing a presentation for their group once you return home.

  4. Think locally. Many town and city organizations have money set aside each year for scholarships for local college students. Look into these organizations; some may have money specifically for students who want to travel. Some may even have their own small-scale study abroad programs.

    Also consider contacting local organizations that relate to your study abroad plans. Are you going to Italy to study art history? Consider contacting the local art society or the local Italian-American club and asking what scholarships they may offer. You never know until you ask. They may be glad to help. And you may be able to repay their generosity by doing a presentation for their group once you return home.

  5. Check with your host school. Another option for scholarship money may exist in the school where you will be studying. If possible, contact the financial aid department at that college or university and ask if they have any money available for foreign students. It may well be that they don’t, but, it could also easily be that they have a fund set up to encourage students to travel to their school. Your study abroad adviser may be able to help you with this level of search and advise you about how to contact the school or seek financial aid from them.

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some reasons why students want to study abroadAre you one of those students craving to study abroad? If so, then don’t waste time research for all the necessary information that you want to know and start your plan as soon as possible. As we noticed nowadays, various students from all over the world wanted to spend their education abroad. Why do you think these students are aiming to flock abroad for their education? Even high school students are also planning to venture their study in the other countries?

It is because; studying abroad is a unique experience. For both personal and academic reason, studying abroad is advantageous. Aside from that, being in the international country could nurture student’s abilities and personalities. It would help them grow into a better person. Being with different culture is one way of molding one’s personality and way of living. Making them learn how to live independently and learn how to make their own decision. Aside from that studying abroad could broaden student’s minds, could help them accept the challenges and could give them the opportunities to explore and see incredible sceneries that they have not seen yet in their own county.

But for students who don’t have enough money to study abroad, they can apply for the study abroad programs. Perhaps you were dreaming to apply for a foreign exchange students program but don’t have any idea where to begin. The best thing that you can do is to do a self research. You can read magazines, newspapers and for the best and reliable resources, research it through the internet. After choosing the right student exchange program for you, organize all the necessary requirements that they need. You can also do it during summer season. There are summer study abroad programs intended for students who want to spend their summer in other countries to study. For more details about this program, consistent research in reliable resources is best recommended.

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MBA Courses Abroad


With the increasing demand for management professionals by the best of International organizations many students are now opting for MBA abroad courses. Doing your management studies from a reputed institute abroad enhances your job prospects to large extent. An M.B.A. from a top-rung B-school abroad will certainly help you to be better qualified to compete in the global job market and subsequently climb the corporate ladder. There are several young MBA aspirants who have plans of settling abroad. For such individuals pursuing MBA Studies Abroad could be a good option. Many students are also opting for online MBA degrees offered by some of the best B-Schools abroad.

Eligibility Criteria for MBA Abroad

Students who aspire to do their MBA abroad must find out about the eligibility criteria for admissions to the different B-Schools. Most universities in the United Kingdom accept the 3 year bachelor’s degree as an eligibility criterion for admission to a MBA course. Top B-Schools in the UK and US accept GMAT scores for short listing of students for their MBA Program. Work experience is another pre-requisite for admissions to B-Schools abroad. Finally a good academic record is an important eligibility criterion for admission to the MBA courses abroad.

Post Graduate 1 Year Full Time Management Course

Post graduate 1 year courses are ideal for people who already have experience in their field and wish to gain some more edge in a short span of time. In the 1 year management program, the time spent in classes is limited and more importance is given to the intensity of performance and improvement of skills.

Institutes offering MBA Studies Abroad

When it comes to choosing a B-School for MBA Studies Abroad there are plenty to choose from. Some of the best institutes offering MBA studies abroad are located in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia as well as other places worldwide. Here is a list of some of the top B-Schools abroad:

  1. London Business School- London UK
  2. Manchester Business School-Manchester UK
  3. Warwick Business School- University of Warwick- Coventry, UK
  4. Harvard Business School-Boston, Massachusetts
  5. Stanford University Graduate School of Business- California
  6. Wharton University of Pennsylvania-US

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A recent study found that nearly twice as many women as men study abroad every year. Ellen Wernecke, assistant editor of Jaunted and lady, might just have an opinion on that.

Aaron Hotfelder of Gadling should have checked the label on the can of worms he opened up by reporting on a study of gender imbalance in study abroad programs. The Institute of International Education found that female students study abroad at nearly twice the rate of male students, a fact that given my study abroad experience (which was even more imbalanced, at about 20 percent male) I find completely unsurprising.

Somewhat more surprising? The first theory Inside Higher Ed advanced in reporting on this story.

IHE puts forth the idea that women go abroad during college because they want to hurry up and make babies. They quote a study-abroad associate director as saying that women “can’t imagine being able to travel abroad and also be a mom. So if they’re going to have an overseas experience, they’re going to do it before they become mothers.”

While women are trying to hurry up and procreate, men are all about the FUN parts of study abroad–like drinking and sports! Inside Higher Ed leads its coverage of the study with this priceless comment from a supposedly real study abroad director from Austin College about promoting study abroad for men:

Of course, if you’re a guy who doesn’t do languages, Australia and New Zealand are attractive and you can do guy things like kayaking and bungee jumping and so forth, pub crawling.

How smooth and subtle, Truett Cates! This reading does as much disservice to men–many of whom have better reasons for studying abroad than boozing it up and having some totally rad nights out–as women.

Then Gadling goes on to suggest that women study abroad more because they’re dumb with money:

Study abroad can be expensive, and men are often, shall we say, “more frugal” than women.

Silly girls, spending their money on experiences they’ll remember forever! My trips abroad have been priceless, and I’m sure men and women out there would say the same. Besides, the declining dollar affects travelers equally, does it not?

Now that I’ve alienated you all, here are my suggestions for why women study abroad more than men do:

1. Our superior communication skills make us less apprehensive about adapting to new places. Even though those “Women use twice as many words per day!” studies have been debunked, good interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence help any traveler adjust to the social norms of a new culture. And women consistently score higher on tests of relationship management and social awareness.

2. To spin the “ticking clock” argument in a positive way, we’re multitasking. Back in my college days, the biggest excuse I heard from my friends on why they didn’t study abroad was that they couldn’t find a way to manage major requirements, on-campus responsibilities and time away. Perhaps female students are more apt to grasp the possibilities that accompany the complications of enrolling in a study abroad program and see that opportunity as a way to “do it all” in college. I exploited my six months abroad to the hilt in all areas and still graduated on time.

3. Because we can. Maybe it doesn’t come up on most applications, but the weight of history is a factor here. For so long women were discouraged from traveling alone anywhere, let alone to a foreign country where they might be exposed to less than ideal conditions or lecherous men. It was unthinkable for my grandmother, who got a journalism degree but married immediately after graduation; travel-wise, she’s making up for it now, but there’s no reason to wait that long. Our freedom to go to places like Egypt or Madagascar or Chile (to name a few) without a chaperon was hard won, so why should we give it up easily?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of the imbalance; the opportunity to study abroad should be available to everyone. But must we be blamed for that ratio, too? The onus is on overseas study providers and college deans to encourage more men to take advantage of these incredible opportunities, not to dissuade women at the same time.

Source http://www.jaunted.com/story/2008/12/5/133846/146/travel/So+Why+Do+Women+REALLY+Study+Abroad%3F

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One great way to use your college summer breaks for learning, enrichment, and fun is to spend it studying abroad. A summer study abroad session gives you a chance at experiencing culture, language, independence, and a slate of classes you might not be able to get at home. If you use your summer to study abroad, you might get to take the fall off for a change, or get back to class in the autumn ahead of yourself in the credit chase. There are plenty of things you can do to make your summer study abroad session a time for learning and fun.

  1. Find the “best fit” program. So much depends on the program when it comes to having a great time studying abroad. Before you sign up for any certain program, consider a few things. Of course, consider where you want to study- first the country, than the specific locale: famous city, quiet countryside? If you’re not sure what’s located where in your country of choice, by all means, ask the program advisor or a student who’s been there (or better yet, a native of the area…). Consider what you need to study – do you need certain courses for your major or do you have some leeway? Not all study abroad programs offer the same courses, so it’s important to check what you need against the available classes. You also might want to look into work and internship opportunities. Of course you will also want to consider how much the program costs and whether it will fit your budget. You might want to look into what sort of financial aid is available. Consider the amount of independence you want. Some programs offer a lot of support, while others will let you alone. Some put you in an English-speaking environment, and others will let you try your luck in the native tongue. These are a lot of things to mull over before you pick your summer program, but the right program, again, is key to the overall experience.
  2. Remember the virtues of prior planning. Sometimes a summer abroad session will replace a fall one. For example, when I went to Australia, they started in early July. Other times, people study abroad and then continue with their regular school year. Either way, your time is limited, and probably your money is too, so you want to seriously plan for your experience. This means considering how much time classes or internships will take up and how much time you’ll have to travel. You’ll also want to budget your money. What will the overall experience cost? What about special trips and other recreational activities? What will you do if you need emergency funds? Also, think about other practical matters like how much you are allowed to pack, what season you’ll be experiencing (hemispheres make a difference) and what you can buy over there rather than cart or ship there. Thinking about these things before you go will keep them from being a problem when you are in the middle of your summer abroad session.Also, remember you’re about to go some place where culture and probably language are different from what you’re used to. In fact, that’s the main reason you’re probably taking this trip: to experience something different. So, as part of the planning process, check up on social customs of your destination. This is a good way to arrive somewhat prepared and also avoid any social faux pas. And needless to say, if you’re going to a country where the language is different, you’ll want to have at least some common phrases handy when you leave. Try taking a class in the language the semester before you leave or even find a short course somewhere a few weeks before you go. A little knowledge can go a long way.
  3. Play by the rules. One big way to keep your summer study abroad session on an even keel is to play by the rules of your program and school and the laws of the land. Anyone who’s seen one of those movies where an American gets sentenced to 100 years for carrying contraband knows that some countries really don’t fool around with foreigners who break the law. So don’t be one of them. Likewise, just as breaking policies of your home college or university can cause you to get the boot, so can doing the same abroad. So, stick to the straight and narrow while abroad.
  4. Learn outside the classroom. While your classes in a foreign country can be anything from very interesting to downright eye-opening, don’t forget much of the best parts of the study abroad experience come from what happens outside the classroom. Don’t forget to meet people from your host country and fellow travelers who are often just as interesting. Experience the native arts and culture and cuisine. Get off the beaten path (if safety allows) and see things you’d never find in the guide books. In other words, make your own learning experiences everyday by exploring the world around you.

    Study for a summer can change your life’s outlook for a lifetime by providing you with memories, new friends, increased self-confidence, and maybe even some college credits. Maximize the opportunity by being smart and safe and by following the sense of adventure that brought you there to begin with. Bon voyage!

Source : http://www.howtodothings.com/education/a3472-how-to-make-the-most-of-summer-study-abroad-sessions.html

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Most students study abroad with the intent of making new friends and immersing themselves in a new culture and new community. However, many students end up forming a group with other students from their home country and not making the most of the brilliant opportunity they have. The first thing to do when you decide to study abroad is to work on gaining self confidence, and read some news reports on the country you are going too. Give yourself some background knowledge and something to talk about. Then, make sure you know enough of the language to have conversations with others.

When you reach your destination country, remember that you are going to have to put effort into making friends. Local students may seem standoffish, but are probably just waiting for you to break the ice. The first group of students to start with is other international students studying with you. These are students in your situation, and will want to make friends too. You can make a variety of friends from different countries in this way, and find people to socialise with and practise the country’s language with.

Next, don’t presume that orientation seminars or ice breaker events are pointless, as they are there to help you make friends. Activities such as sticking your name to your head or talking about yourself for two minutes may seem daunting, but will help you make global friendships. Attend a few, and you’ll make many friends in a very easy way. Universities hold these events to encourage everyone to make friends, and they are usually tried and tested methods.

If you want to make friends with locals, you will then need to arrange social gatherings outside of university time. Make sure you are always safe and that somebody knows where you are; make sure you aren’t wandering alone, and take money and a map. Go to different surroundings, and see who you’ll meet there. You might meet friends in malls or clubs, or less obvious places such as coffee shops. Remember that as long as you are friendly and polite most people will respond positively to you, and try talking to different groups of people. Local teenagers will know the best places to hang out, but local adults will know where to get cheap or fresh food, and where student deals are available. However, make sure that you know the customs of the local area, and try not to offend anyone. Watch what you wear and say, and if you are somewhere with strong beliefs, then you should adhere to them. Cover yourself up if necessary, or take off your jewellery. If you meet a special someone, keep public displays to a minimum and research the local laws for your area. In some countries, kissing outside can gain you a caution! Your university should have information on the area if you need some, or try googling it. You will struggle to make friends if you don’t appear to respect the country’s boundaries.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with becoming friends with other people from your home country, but don’t limit yourself. While you will probably become best friends with someone who is at your Uni, you will miss out on a lot of the pleasures of being a student studying abroad if you don’t make the most of the social opportunities it gives you. Remember to use your language skills, take photos and make friends, and you’ll have a brilliant time.

Source : http://www.onlineuniversitycolleges.com/career-advice/how-to-make-friends-while-studying-abroad/

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