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One of the most exciting opportunities that college has to offer is studying abroad. The idea of spending a couple of months in a foreign country sounds like a dream to me. But deciding where to study abroad is the first step in the journey. I’m planning on studying abroad in Rome this summer – here are my tips on how to decide where to study abroad!

Be Open-Minded

First, don’t rule out any places right off the bat just because you automatically assume you won’t like it there. Consider what’s making you think that. Have you heard stereotypes about that place? Do you have misconceptions about the people from there? Set your unconscious biases aside and look at these places’ programs with an open mind. The point of studying abroad is to learn about different cultures and broaden your horizons to new perspectives and people – you can’t do that if you’re close-minded.

Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Second, when you’re looking for a country to study in, you’ll get the most out of your experience if you step outside of your comfort zone! For example, I am Vietnamese so I knew I personally did not want to study abroad in any Asian countries because I have been to Asia in the past and plan on returning at some point in the future, and I already know a lot about Asian culture because I have grown up in it. Of course if I chose to study abroad in Asia I would probably feel the most comfortable and “fit in” because I am already familiar with the food and customs, but I would not be learning anything new – or at least not as much as I could be in a different country like Italy.

Look at the Program Details

Third, an obviously important part of studying abroad are the program details. Where will you be living? What is the academic culture like? What is the overall culture like? Are locals xenophobic, or are they welcoming towards tourists? How much free time will you have? What excursions will you be going on? These are all things to consider and they often have to align with your personal interests.

Consider Your Courses

Finally, you must look at the courses that are being offered in your country of interest before you decide to study abroad there. It’s best to save your unrestricted electives for studying abroad, but credits will usually be accepted as long as the class is academic in nature and has a final exam. However, you want to make sure you are not taking a course abroad that is too similar to one that you already took in the past, but this is unlikely since courses abroad are usually specific to the country’s culture and history.

Where do you want to study abroad?

Hi everyone! My name is Banmai Huynh and I am from Chelmsford, MA. I'm a Corporate Finance and Accounting major at Bentley University in Waltham, MA and I’m the Co-Editor for our HerCampus Chapter. Some of my interests are reading, exercising, and dancing. I also like to go shopping with friends, go to the beach, and play with my dog! I joined HerCampus because I think it's a great creative outlet for college students. I like writing about my personal experiences, reviews, and recommendations! Thanks for reading!
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