How to Choose a Program

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UW-Platteville Education Abroad Students in Jamaica
JCU Townsville, Australia
UW-Platteville Education Abroad Student in Belize
Galway, Ireland

Each student has their own wants, needs, and goals to consider when choosing an education abroad program.  The UW-Platteville Education Abroad staff suggests that students ask themselves the following questions, in no particular order, to help find a program that is the perfect fit:

Country

  • What country or region am I most interested in?  Why do I want to study abroad in this country or region in particular?
  • Is the country's location geographically significant for my major?
  • Is the culture and current political situation of the country safe?

The Institution Abroad

  • What is the size of the institution abroad? Is this too big or small for me?
  • What do I want from the student body make-up of the institution? Are there many international students? Are there many U.S. study abroad students?
  • Is there public transportation available to help me get around?

Academics

  • Are there classes that will be offered in my major and/or minor?
  • Are there classes that will be offered to fulfill my elective or general education requirements?
  • Who do I want to take classes with?  Other Americans?  With international students?  With local students?  
  • UW-Platteville students: check out the Education Abroad by Major webpages.

Time

  • How much time do I feel comfortable spending abroad?
  • How much time can I afford to spend abroad?  Think academically, personally, and economically.

Student Support

  • How much structure and guidance do I need? How much tolerance do I have for ambiguity?
  • Am I personally ready and mature enough to be on my own?  Do I want or need to be with a group?
  • Will I be met at the airport?  Is there on-site orientation offered?
  • Is there an on-site coordinator or an international office?

Cost

  • How much can I afford?  Analyze what is included in the program cost.  More importantly, consider what is not included, considering: tuition, program fees, housing, food, airfare, and personal expenses.
  • How much is the cost of living?
  • Is the dollar strong or weak compared to the currency of the country I am considering?
  • Are there program specific scholarships?

Accommodation and Meals

  • Is there pre-arranged accommodation with the program?  If there is pre-arranged accommodation, is it close to the institution I’m studying at?  The city center?  Public transportation?
  • Do I need to arrange my own accommodation with the program?  Am I comfortable arranging my own accommodation if needed?
  • Who do I want to live with?  A local host family?  Other U.S. students?  International students?  Local students?
  • Would I like to live on-campus or off-campus?
  • Is there a meal plan included in the program cost or available if I pay out-of-pocket?  If I need to provide my own meals, is there a kitchen available?

Foreign Language

  • Would I like to learn or improve my proficiency in another language while abroad?
  • Am I already fluent enough in a foreign language to take classes in it, or will it be necessary to take some or all of my coursework in English?
  • Are the people in the country or city able to speak English?  How well?

Documentation   

  • Is a visa required?
  • How difficult is it to obtain a visa for this country?

Independent Travel and Excursions

  • Are there pre-arranged excursions or activities built into the program?
  • Are these pre-arranged excursions part of the program cost?
  • If there are not pre-arranged excursions, is there on-site staff available to help me with my independent travel plans?

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