In 2000, I had an opportunity to study abroad for the summer through my university. I wound up reapplying for financial aid and stretched my 10 week journey into 11 months in 3 different countries. The admission process, the classes, the extra studying, and the battle with financial aid were all worth it.
With my experience, I learned a lot about the real hangups of a summer abroad experience. This article was written so that you can save yourself the headache I went through when I studied abroad.
Why You Need A Little Bit Of Spending Money For Your Summer Abroad
Although it is not the sole focus of this article, it is important to think about money and having an emergency stash with you at all times. For example, I suddenly became ill during my year abroad and needed to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, I did not have hospital visits covered by any of the programs I was participating in.
How To Get Admitted To A Summer Abroad Program
Even if you aren’t currently a university student, you can still go on a summer abroad. Most universities will have a program designed to send students overseas independently or with a professor and a group. If you are sent through a program overseas alone, most likely you are going to a language school or admission to some other upscale type university affiliated program.
Admissions To Summer Abroad Programs That Are Accredited
When traveling to Yemen, I started at the YLC (The Yemen Language Center). YLC is now known as The Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies (YCMES). However, I decided that I liked a class, the housing, and the staff better at another language school. I eventually switched to CALES (Center for Arabic Language and Eastern Studies) once my first program ended.
I managed, after doing everything wrong, to get financial aid for the second time to continue my studies. Naturally, I was able to get more money while I was still overseas due to both schools being affiliated with accredited universities.
Affiliation with an accredited university is all the financial aid department needs to hear in order to sign off on your change of schools. Getting university course credit for any vigilante learning, however, will need to be approved by a professor.
Summer Abroad Final Tips
When you affiliate yourself with a program through a university, you save yourself a lot of hassle. For example, they help you to prevent your money from being stolen by a shady and scam summer abroad programs. One of the main things I always remind people when they travel overseas on a summer abroad is to not panic.
As long as you are university affiliated, your chances of being injured, swindled, or taken advantage of are low. If there is a problem while you are on a summer abroad, call your university immediately. When in doubt, go to the US Embassy in that country and seek safety from them.
Advice On Summer Abroad And Culture Shock
When you are around a lot of new things, you can become very homesick. I watched several students go through this experience while studying Arabic in Yemen over the course of 5 months in 2 different schools. In general, this can be brought on by the food you eat, the shifts in sleep patterns, and an awkwardness that everyone feels when they travel. The most important thing you can remember is to give it a chance. See if you can wait two weeks before bailing.
Most students in summer abroad programs find that this intense feeling of homesickness will go away on it’s own. Once it resides, you can relax, learn, and have a once in a lifetime opportunity to live in another country for more than two vacation weeks per year.
The Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies (Yemen Language Center)
Center For Arabic Language and Eastern Studies