Picking one study abroad location can be really hard! Not to be dramatic or anything, but I am probably the most indecisive person in the world. It took me FOREVER to figure out where to study abroad. Not only was I indecisive, but my degree plan allowed me to study abroad practically anywhere and study practically anything. So, that didn’t help at all! In the end, I didn’t even decide. I met someone from API who had studied in Grenoble, France and so I let her make my decision: I would just follow in her footsteps! It was really hard having to choose only one location, so I came up with a few tips to make it easier for you to decide.
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The language that is spoken in your host country can be very important. I chose France because I am currently learning French. If you are currently learning a language, or even took a language in high school and still remember some of it, study abroad in a country that speaks that language. If having teachers or roommates or a host family that speak a different language seems intimidating, try studying abroad somewhere that speaks English. Ireland, England, and Australia are all great options!
If you are studying abroad in the hopes of learning or mastering a new language, think about how much English you want to be speaking while abroad. In Paris, for example, a lot of people can speak English. If I went into a store or a restaurant and was struggling with my French, the salesperson or waiter will start speaking English to me. This is not going to help me improve my French! In Grenoble, fewer people speak English and exchange students are common so the locals are a little more patient with our broken French. Talk to a study abroad advisor from your school or from a study abroad company to figure out which city will meet your language needs best!
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but Texas is hot. Like hot year round. Like so hot the pools get too hot to get in. Yeah, I’m a little bitter about it. So, it makes sense that I wanted to go anywhere that wasn’t hot. In Grenoble, I will be surrounded by snowy mountains – a huge (and very welcome) change from Texas. When trying to pick your study abroad location, think of your favorite seasons and weather, then try to find somewhere that matches your favorites. If you like summertime and visiting the beach, pick a town on the coast. If you’re like me and would rather drink hot chocolate on cold, snowy days, try to find some mountains. There are so many options available and I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that fits your weather needs!
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City or Town?
If you could live anywhere, where would it be? A big city like New York, or a small, quiet town out in the country? Or maybe somewhere in between? Whatever size city you choose, there is a study abroad option for you! Deciding to go with a big city or a small town can be an excellent way to narrow down your locations. You’ll get a different experience in each, but I have no doubt that both will be spectacular.
The program you choose can help you narrow down your location options! If you’re doing a Faculty-led program, you might only have one location option. This isn’t a bad thing, it makes the whole application process a lot easier! If you’re doing an Exchange program or Transfer Credit program, you are going to have a lot of options! As in you could study practically anywhere! For Exchange program students, check out your school’s study abroad website to see what locations they offer.
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If you’re doing a Transfer Credit Program, check out your school’s study abroad website to see which study abroad companies they are partners with. Then, use those companies to search for a location. This way, you have an idea of what your options are and you don’t have to start from scratch. Plus, you can often get a discount when you choose a study abroad company that is partners with your school.
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