The chance to study abroad is an eye-opening, once-in-a-lifetime experience for American students. More and more schools are offering programs that allow students to take advantage of these opportunities as evidenced by the increasing number of students who are traveling abroad to study.
It’s natural to have questions about studying abroad, however—as do plenty of other prospective students. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions.
5. Will I Have to Study in an English-Speaking Country If I Only Speak English?
This is a common concern for students who are planning to study abroad, especially those who only speak one language fluently. It’s not a problem, however; in fact, many students opt to study abroad for the specific purpose of learning a second language.
Just because you only speak English does not mean you’ll be limited to picking an English-speaking country such as Australia or England (although both of these are pretty good choices). The choice is yours: If you’re interested in learning another language, then picking a non-English-speaking country will be your best bet!
4. How Expensive Is Studying Abroad?
The expense of your program is dependent upon a number of factors, such as the program you pick, support offered by your school, the institution you’ll be attending, abroad travel costs to your destination, and of course the exchange rate of currency and costs of goods and services in-country.
In many cases, studying abroad is very affordable. Financial support programs can help students, and many institutions offer special rates for students applying through joint programs. Of course, you should also research the cost of living in your country of choice, as study abroad programs may not offer financial aid for day-to-day expenses. Many programs do have residence assistance, however, so you should be able to find affordable housing.
3. Do I Need Health and Travel Insurance?
Yes! Any student going abroad should invest in health and travel insurance before they leave US soil. Many students mistakenly think the plans that cover them in the US will be sufficient in other countries, but this is not usually true.
Even in the cases where the policy may extend overseas, you will find that the coverage is not adequate. In the case of a medical emergency, it’s better to invest in study abroad insurance before you go. Do plenty of research and pick a plan that suits your needs. Some programs already have mandated plans in place; others will require you to purchase a plan before you leave, but will leave the choice of plan up to you. Do not just google “cheap study abroad insurance!” Ask your study abroad office for help.
2. Can I Still Graduate on Time?
This will depend on your program, but typically the answer is yes. Most study abroad programs allow students to earn credits that count toward their degrees while they study at foreign institutions. Always be sure to check with your program advisor, as there may be restrictions; you may need to take certain courses or attain a certain grade in order to have your credits count.
Also be aware that other countries and institutions may have different academic requirements; for example, in England, a pass is considered a 70, not a 60. In most cases, you’ll still be able to earn credits and graduate on time. Even if you must delay graduation by a semester or two, however, the global perspective you’ll gain from studying abroad is more than worth it—it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll never forget!
1. Will I Need a Visa?
This depends on the country you’ll be studying in and the length of time you’ll be staying. Some countries have agreements with the US, which means you don’t need to apply for a visa if your stay will be under a certain length. Other countries will require you to apply for a student visa no matter what, and many countries may require proof of adequate health and travel insurance!
Check with your program advisor to determine the documentation requirements for your program.
Author: Erin Caswell
Erin is Assistant Vice President of LewerMark Student Insurance division. Erin has a degree in Education and worked as an instructor before joining LewerMark more than six years ago.