Everyone always talks about how college is the time to discover who you really are, as well as the time to take advantage of experiences you may not have easily accessible to you after your time at college. Study abroad is one of those many experiences. I am beyond excited to study communications abroad in Florence, Italy this summer with FSU. After going through this process personally, I hope I am able to offer you some guidance to help you along in the process of finding and applying to the right study abroad program for you.
The first place I would highly recommend you start your study abroad program search is right at your own university (or perspective university). Most universities either have some programs run directly through the university, or in partnership with a university abroad. If you are able to go through a program you university runs itself or endorses, I highly recommend this option. This option allows you more peace of mind in the sense that the university knows what it's doing in regards to studying abroad and can help you along in your journey. Going directly through a university approved program also makes it much easier to transfer your credits over for the classes you took abroad. Talking to an advisor is a great way to discover what programs may be a good fit for you and your major or if there are general education classes abroad that you still need. Don’t forget to utilize google! A simple search of “FSU study abroad programs” (or any university) will bring up their website with tons of information including the classes offered, dates, and costs.
There are also third-party ways of studying abroad. Different companies offer programs abroad and many universities abroad offer exchange programs. The most important detail of going through a third-party is to make sure it’s reliable. Look for reviews of the program online, or ask an advisor if they know of anyone at your school who has done the program. You also want to check with an advisor that you will receive credit for the classes you take abroad and how that will transfer over.
I recommend researching study abroad programs as soon as possible. The sooner you know the details of the program, the sooner you can decide when you want to do it and apply. Just like applying to college, I HIGHLY recommend applying early! Spots for the programs are usually first come first serve which can go fast.
Of course with the topic of studying abroad comes the usually high cost of studying abroad. Make sure when you see the sticker price for your program that you check to see what’s included in the costs. For example, my program includes multiple meal vouchers every week, fully-furnished housing, some program group trips, and of course my tuition for classes. More often than not, airfare is NOT included in the cost, which is another big expense to factor into the overall cost. Also look into scholarships within your university, academic departments, and online to help with the overall cost!
Overall, when looking for study abroad programs it’s important to be informed in the process - Google is your friend! Make sure you apply early and know all the deadlines involved with study abroad. Just remember once it’s all said and done to enjoy your time abroad!