When featuring our students who are spending time abroad, we tend to focus on the actual experience - the immersions, the adventures, the unforgettable opportunities - but we often fail to mention one crucial step - the preparation process. Many students underestimate just how much time and thought goes into selecting the ideal experience, location, and timeframe for them, much less the energy required to work through finances, legal paperwork, and the application process itself. Thankfully, here at SNC we have an office of professionals dedicated to making your experience a great one, and articles like this one to guide you through this exciting time!
Full disclosure: this information reflects my personal experience and thoughts surrounding the study abroad process and ways to approach it, and does not necessarily reflect the complete advice that a study abroad advisor is much more qualified to give.
Without further ado, here are my five steps to success, study abroad preparation edition:
Set aside time to solidify what you want out of this experience. What are your goals for expanding your academic and cultural horizons? Do you want to spend a few weeks abroad, a semester, or an entire year? Would you prefer courses taught in English or in a foreign language? Would your ideal placement be in a large city or a more rural location? The list goes on and on (so check it out on the www.snc.edu/studyabroad/process website)! All of this requires a great deal of soul-searching, so pull out a map (or even better, the SNC study abroad map!) and start exploring the possibilities.
Meet with your academic adviser. Discuss the optimal timeframe for going abroad, depending on your major(s), minor(s), and any other important events that would need to be taken into consideration. Draw up possible schedules for your time here at SNC, to ensure that you will be able to have the most enjoyable (and productive!) semester away from campus. Determine which major/minor/core classes should (or shouldn’t) be taken abroad. Consider internships and research possibilities, and any other advantages a certain area could bring for you and your interests! It’s very likely that your advisor knows students with your same academic focus who have gone abroad, so they can put the two of you in contact.
Now it’s time to meet with the study abroad office! Schedule a time with either Alaina Morales or Dr. Jeremy Doughty, who each offer valuable insight into different programs and possibilities. If you’re unsure of your direction yet or just want to meet on a walk-in basis, attend Open Advising which is offered every Thursday from 2-3pm in the Study Abroad Office (Bemis International Center, third floor).
Now it’s getting real. Review the FAQs (http://www.snc.edu/cge/studyabroad/process/faq.html), keep an eye on deadlines, and start applying for any foreign paperwork you need! Once your application has been approved and the program solidified, attend the “Pack and Prep” Workshops, which give insight into health, safety, security, and well-being, and additional information literacy and orientation processes. Mentally prepare for your journey, and find the ways that would best help you to share and reflect on your experience. Create a blog or designate a social media account for these purposes. And then share that with us at the Honors Office, of course!
HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE ABROAD! We are so excited to showcase your adventures in order to encourage and inspire the next generation of students to broaden their horizons.
Please consult the SNC Study Abroad office at email@example.com for further, more detailed information.