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How to Arrange Your Own Study Abroad Program (2/5)

15 April, 2009 18:16  EasyExpat EasyExpat

This is the second article of a series of 5, explaining how to arrange your own study abroad program.

StarFirst article: Decide Where to Go

Determine When to Go

If you are arranging your own study abroad program, scheduling is an important consideration. Especially if you are working, your work schedule will be a major factor in deciding when you can go and how long you can stay. While workers in many countries enjoy holidays of several weeks or longer, the standard vacation in America is no more than two weeks and often as short as one week. While it is possible to plan a study abroad program for such a brief period of time, it will require even more planning than a longer program.

Summer is a logical time to plan a shorter study abroad program, and there are several to choose from. However, be careful if you decide to study abroad during the summer and select a program which is not specifically geared toward summer students. Especially in Europe,  many cities and even some countries are effectively shut down for long periods during the summer holiday season. On the other hand, if you are seeking a co-op or internship abroad, you may be able to temporarily replace a worker on holiday if you have the right background. This can be valuable experience. If you do manage an arrangement like this, you may be able to develop an independent study program which will be recognized by a host university or a university in your own country. Again, this will require substantial lead time, so don't leave this task until the last minute.

Overseas volunteer programs are another possibility if you have an extremely limited period where you can go abroad. They are usually available all year round. Such programs often also have the advantage of arranging accommodations for their workers. However, most volunteer programs require workers to pay their own expenses, especially travel expenses, and financial aid is limited.

Some professionals may be able to arrange a sabbatical or leave in order to arrange a longer study abroad program. Depending on the employer, this leave may be paid or unpaid. It goes without saying that you should try to obtain a guarantee that your job will be held open upon your return, unless you are seeking a change in career.

If you have a family, you have to make the decision about whether to bring your family with you. If you travel during the summer and your spouse or partner also has time off, this will be less complicated than traveling during the academic year. If you have school age children and you decide to travel with your family during the academic year, you may have to arrange for a temporary school or home school for your children so that they don't fall too far behind, depending on the length of your stay.

No matter when you decide you want to go, you should allow at least several months lead time in order to plan all the necessary details. In fact, it is not unreasonable to begin planning a year in advance. The list below is just a brief selection of summer school, internship and volunteer programs. Much more information can be found on the Internet.

Useful Resources




Next Steps

You have completed two major steps! The next step is to determine what language you will use during your study abroad program - your native language or a new language. That subject will be covered in the next article.

Audrey Henderson
Freelance writer based in Chicago


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Professors and Study Abroad [Reply]

Very nice article which helps expats arrange their own study abroad program. Another very helpful resource is is an informational website for facutly and portal for various study abroad directories(programs, scholarships, customized program providers, group facilities, etc.). Its goal is to support and empower faculty-led programs (international study-travel courses developed and/or taught by
college professors).

  Faculty-led Study Abroad     23 Apr 2009, 20:37