So you’re doing a Transfer Credit study abroad program? Looks like you need to find a company! I’m sorry to break this to you, but it’s extremely hard to narrow it down because each company is very similar in what they offer and the price. When I first started trying to choose my company, I was overwhelmed.
My study abroad advisor suggested making a spreadsheet with information about each. So I sat down and began building a spreadsheet. I included price, classes, excursions, and everything else I could gather from the website. I quickly realized that I was just hitting copy and paste over and over and over again. I’m not kidding when I say every company is very similar! While my advisor’s advice was well intended and I would suggest it, it did not work for me in this case!
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My next thought was to look up reviews on each company. You know what I found? Five-star reviews for every company! I couldn’t find a bad review. Needless to say, this didn’t help me make my decision either.
I wanted to talk to someone about this. So, I emailed all of the study abroad companies I was currently looking at to see if they had anyone I could talk to. I was able to talk to a few on the phone, but API had someone I could talk to in person. Her name was Chelsea, she was from around the area, and agreed to meet with me at a coffee shop.
I absolutely loved getting to talk with someone about studying abroad. When I mentioned that I was looking to study abroad in France, but I was still debating which city to go to, she helped me make my decision. She had studied abroad in Grenoble, France and told me all about the city and her time abroad. Her excitement about her experiences sold me on Grenoble.
Along with telling me about the city, she described the host families and the resident directors. It was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to know as much as I could about where I was going before I went. She never pushed me to pick API, she just told me about her experiences and how API helped make those experiences the best they could be.
I would definitely recommend talking to someone from the study abroad company, whether it is an advisor or someone who recently went on a study abroad trip with that company. When looking at the companies online, here are a few tips for narrowing down your options.
As I have mentioned before, most companies offer the same countries. They sometimes differ in the cities that are available. If you know you want to be in a specific location, you can use that to narrow down your study abroad company options.
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When I study abroad, I want to travel as much as I can. While I have traveled quite a bit, I’ve always been with my family and had everything planned out for me. Trying to plan a weekend getaway to Nice is not something I see myself doing easily. Thankfully, API has planned it for me and will be taking me with them. They also have other excursions planned throughout France. If excursions are important to you, make sure that your study abroad company has excursions that interest you!
Most programs are around the same price, with only a little difference between them. When looking at the price, it’s important to see what is included. Are your housing, meals, and laundry included? Do you get excursions? Do they provide international insurance or access to international phone plans? If these expenses and others are not included in the price, they can add up quickly. A cheaper program fee could end up being more expensive in the long run since you will have to pay for more things on your own.
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Scholarships and Discount Options
To go along with price, scholarship and discount options can help you choose your study abroad company. Many offer scholarships so it’s a good idea to look at how many they offer and how many you are eligible for. As I have mentioned before, many study abroad companies partner with schools and give discounts to students from those schools. While it usually isn’t a huge amount, every little bit counts.
I hope these tips help you narrow down and choose which study abroad company to travel with. It can be a daunting task, but I promise you can do it! I haven’t heard a bad thing or read a bad review about any program, so there really is no wrong answer! If you have any other questions feel free to contact me or comment them below.
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