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You Want to Study Abroad, but Where?

Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity offered to Elizabethtown College students, where you get the chance to travel to a location you otherwise might never get to visit. Studying abroad can help you learn about other cultures and people, and you can learn things for your chapter that no one else can teach you outside of this experience. It’s sometimes expensive and takes a lot of planning, but it will change your college experience and you won’t ever forget it. With all this considered, there’s a lot of decisions to be made before signing up to study abroad, and obviously the most major one is where should you go. Here’s a list of things to consider for anyone who wants to travel, but can’t narrow it down to one location.

What will benefit your major?

Different majors focus on different learning subjects, so someone who is a social work major may want to be involved in traveling to schools or volunteering centers, or someone who is a business major will visit economic infrastructures. Make sure the place you want to visit has the ways you want to get involved, and you want to be involved in something that will help your resume and eventual future.

What can you afford?

Some programs are easy to get scholarships and funding for, but others are not. The farther your location is, as well as the length of time you will be spending there, all affect the cost. If you think taking an airplane to Scotland and staying in a castle is right for you, consider the cost.

Details!

Obviously your lifestyle will have to face some changes while you’re abroad, so consider which changes you can handle. Some locations do not have Wi-Fi coverage, hence technology usage will be more difficult. Of course there’s ways to work around that, but not everyone likes those ways. Of course, there is a language barrier in some countries, although if you stay at a college or university in a non-English speaking area, you may have some English speakers with you but not everywhere. If you’ve been in a foreign language class or have family that knows the language, use it to your benefit. Other factors to consider are temperature difference because some places will be much warmer or colder, and you must be able to adjust.

What are you looking to learn?

Different from just choosing a place that coincides with your major, consider what you want to get out of traveling abroad. Do you want to develop a new worldview, do you want to understand social justice issues, do you want to study technology in other nations, et cetera? Make a list of things you look forward to, then consider which locations can get that achieved.

Sightseeing and events to do

Some locations are very scenic with mountains, landscapes, historical infrastructures, and the like, and others are not. What do you favor? This also connects to the events you want to participate in. If observing someone at work is what you want to do, or volunteering, or going to lectures, or going on tours, certain places do certain things.

Family relation or somewhere new

Almost everyone can trace their loved ones somewhere out of America, and it’s common for you to want to visit those areas. I know as someone who’s predominantly Italian, Italy is an ideal place to visit before I even consider other places. Make yourself familiar with what can benefit you from visiting a place that you already know the culture of, versus a place that you’ve never affiliated with. Maybe you want to visit Japan when you’re not Japanese, because you’re interested in the culture and want to take on a challenge.

Make sure they offer it

Unfortunately, we cannot pick anywhere in the seven continents because the college has to offer it. Certain majors are encouraged to visit locations that others may not be, and sometimes there may not be the room for you to join the visit to your location of choice. Make sure you glance over all the offerings from the study abroad office before you start committing to your decision. Good luck to you, and happy traveling!

Jennifer Davenport

Elizabethtown '21

Campus Correspondent for the Her Campus club at Elizabethtown College. Jennifer is part of the Class of 2021, and she's a middle level English education major, with a creative writing minor. Her hobbies include volunteering, watching YouTube for way too many hours, and posting memes on her Instagram. She was raised in New Jersey, lives in New York, and goes to college in Pennsylvania, so she's ruined 3 of America's 50 states. She's an advocate for mental health, LGBT+ rights, and educational reform.
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