Things to Consider When Choosing a Study Abroad Program

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a program: how much does it cost? Where do you want to go? What kind of credit will you get? For some students, deciding on a program is the easiest decision they make during the study abroad progress, but for others, there’s no clear choice and deciding on one program can be daunting. And with so many choices, it’s easy to see why it can be a challenge! When planning your study abroad experience it’s important to ask yourself: “What do I want out of this?” If your goal is to become fluent in a foreign language, then you know your number one priority should be studying in a country where that language is spoken. It may also play into your decision on the length of program you decide on and the kind of credit you’ll earn. All of these factors play an important role in choosing a program and prioritizing these factors will help you find the best program for you and your needs:

Maybe you’re keen to explore your family’s heritage while studying abroad or you’ve always been fascinated by the history and culture of Argentina. Whatever ever the reason is, a lot of students often have pretty clear ideas about where they’d like to study. Keep in mind: a lot of scholarships (including the IEF & GES) give major bonus points to students who study in non-traditional locations, like Asia, Africa & South America.
Cost is undeniably high on the list of concerns and limiting factors when it comes to study abroad. Here at GSU we strive to make study abroad an affordable and accessible opportunity for all students! Please make sure to take a look at our scholarship & financial aid page to learn more about financing your study abroad.While short-term faculty-led programs present an up-front cost in the form of a program fee, in addition to GSU tuition & fees, they’re typically short enough in length that students are able to get time off from work to participate. Exchange programs, on the other hand, are a most cost-effective form of study abroad because the cost can be roughly equivalent to your cost of living here at GSU. But keep in mind you may not be able to work while studying abroad, depending on the specifics of your student visa, so you may not be able to replace or supplement the income you typically earn here in the U.S.
Historically, study abroad has been the junior year abroad model. However, we here at Georgia State University recognize the need for short-term options that cater to students’ work schedules and demanding academic programs. Both short-term and longer-term study abroad are valuable experiences, but the length of time abroad definitely impacts your ability to gain foreign language fluency and immerse yourself in your host country’s culture. If those are your main priorities, you’ll want to weigh them against the feasibility of studying abroad for a semester or year in terms of family commitments, finances, and your job.
While certain programs may look more appealing based on cost or location alone, keep in mind the credit you’ll be earning abroad. Depending on where you are in your degree plan, you may need to look for programs that offer upper-level major credit to stay on track for graduation (short-term faculty-led programs are a good place to start). If you have a little more flexibility in terms of the courses you have left, studying abroad outside your major could be a way to explore new interests, while still working towards graduation by earning elective credit. Make an appointment to speak with your Academic Advisor if you’re unsure what classes you still need to graduate.
Georgia State University requires every student who receives an undergraduate degree to meet the GSU residency requirement. You must have at least 39 semester hours of 3000 or 4000 level GSU credit (taken on campus in Atlanta or abroad on a GSU credit-earning program). Any GSU course at the 3000 or 4000 level will count toward residency no matter if it falls in your major, minor, or electives area. Please check with your Academic Adviser to ensure that you will meet residency requirements within your planned graduation timeframe. Please note: Robinson College of Business requires that students pursuing a B.B.A. earn at least 50% of their business credit hours in residence at Georgia State University. Faculty-led programs at GSU provide institutional credit, whereas exchange programs and non-GSU programs only offer transfer credit.

A Study Abroad Advisor can help you think through these considerations and suggest programs that best fit your needs. In order to meet with a Study Abroad Advisor you must first attend a Study Abroad 101 info session in our office and then you are eligible to come in for individual advising.