Studying Abroad?: A Questionnaire and Resource Guide to Considering Study Abroad

Welcome back to campus, everyone!

Today’s post for you is another joint article, written by Lori Roth and Kelsey Ryan. Lori is the Coordinator of International Academic Programs on campus, and Kelsey is a student assistant with the Office of Global Affairs (and a regular blogger here!). Both of us are study abroad success stories: Lori has studied abroad at Oxford and in Italy, and Kelsey studied abroad in Fall 2012 in Leuven, Belgium.

Lori and her new best friend take on the town in London!
Lori (left… if you couldn’t guess) and her new best friend take on the town in London!

As it’s a week before the annual February 5th deadline to declare your intention to study abroad for Fall Semester/Academic Year 2014, we wanted to bring up study abroad again as an important thing to consider. With the snow and campus closings last week, the deadline will be extended to February 10th, but get your applications in early if you can! (If you’d rather study abroad second semester of next year, your deadline will be Oct. 5th of this year.)

If you had the chance to check out the TYA blog last semester, you may have seen Kelsey’s post on her study abroad experience. (If not, you can read it here.) In it, Kelsey covered the first steps in figuring out if study abroad is right for you, from a student’s perspective.

Kelsey is a big fan of the Belgian coast... and Belgian frites, and chocolate, and waffles...
Kelsey is a big fan of the Belgian coast… and Belgian frites, and Belgian chocolate, and Belgian waffles…

What we’ve compiled for you here, however, is a list of questions about studying abroad you can start asking yourself, your advisors, and your family. In addition to the questions, we have some resources for you to help answer these questions for yourself. You should also always consider the Study Abroad Office as a resource– email Lori at any time to schedule an appointment with Dean Mancini.



1. When would I go, if I did study abroad? (Fall/Spring? Full year program?)
One of the keys to studying abroad involves figuring out the best time during the school year for you to go. Sometimes, majors, minors, or concentrations involve a particularly crucial course that is available in one semester, and students are encouraged to plan their study abroad experience around this course. This is also true for sports (with active seasons), committees, and other clubs/jobs on campus. Talk to your advisor, your coach (if you play a sport), or other students with similar commitments to see how they consider study abroad. Chances are, you can study abroad if you’re interested, but planning ahead will help you choose when to go.

Other things to factor in are family commitments during the academic year, like weddings or important graduations to attend. You should also check out the academic calendar year of the country where you are considering studying. For example, in Germany, the fall semester runs through February. Check out our Program Descriptions to ascertain the program start and end dates for each program.
2. What do I want to gain by going abroad, that I couldn’t gain at Haverford?
Consider why you’d want to be traveling abroad, and what you want your goals to be. Can you accomplish your goals in the same way at Haverford as you would while abroad?

Here are some ways that study abroad can transform and positively impact your college career. Which of these are important to you?

  • Language immersion
  • Fulfill language requirement in one semester (at some of the programs)
  • Specific courses (i.e. Nordic studies in Sweden)
  • Practice independence
  • Take a break from the routine, while still furthering your academic studies
  • International work/abroad experience
  • Something interesting to talk about during interviews

3. What kind of experience do I want?

The abroad programs available to Haverford students are diverse, and the kind of program that is best for you will not necessarily be the same as your friends’. Explore the Factors to Consider section of our FAQ to learn more about the different kinds, and also consider what each individual program may bring to the table– our Program Descriptions will include that information. Some programs may involve an international internship component that is integrated into the curriculum (so you’re going to school and interning at a company/organization), others promise a fully immersive language component where you can test your language skills every day. Still others involve an intense single-course of study, for students who are interested in delving into a single academic interest, or fulfill your language requirement with courses in the host culture’s language.

Kelsey was very impressed by how multilingual her milk was in Dutch-speaking Belgium.
Kelsey was very impressed by how multilingual her milk was in Dutch-speaking Belgium. (She also completed her language requirement while abroad!)

4. How can I finance study abroad?

Just under 50% of all Haverford students who studied abroad last year are on financial aid. (Kelsey is one of them– she specifically planned her study abroad opportunity to maximize her experience and minimize cost.) Studying abroad can be expensive, but there are always resources available to make the trip more affordable, and remember that your Haverford financial aid travels with you, as you go. Some students are even eligible to receive an airfare refund for purchasing plane tickets, through their financial aid package with Haverford.

Sometimes study abroad can be intimidating…

For students who are worried about making ends meet while abroad, there are some programs that allow you to hold a job while abroad. Explore NAFSA’s Financial Aid for Study Abroad Resource, read more on our website, or schedule a meeting with Dean Mancini if you’re concerned.

As always, you should feel comfortable visiting the Office of Study Abroad (in Chase 213) whenever you have a question. Studying abroad is exciting and fun, and all who want to go should be able to!

*** Update: The new Study Abroad website just went live! Check us out!

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