So You Want to Study Abroad: Asking the Right Questions

If you’re considering study abroad, the first questions you should be asking are Where do I want to go? and What do I want to do?

You may want to take a month-long tour of Europe, see the highlights of classical civilizations, or immerse yourself in a new culture by living with a Costa Rican host family for the summer.

Do you just want to travel or do you want to attend classes while you’re away?

Many college students go abroad during summer or winter breaks in their undergraduate years, but not all decide to actually study. If you go backpacking across France, you might learn a lot about the world — but it might not technically be a study abroad venture. Whereas, if you spent a semester at a university in Spain, you’d be studying in between practicing your salsa moves.

If you’re not sure what you want to do or where you want to travel, UCA Study Abroad can help explore your options. They offer several different types of trips.

Faculty often lead month-long study abroad opportunities during the summer. These trips are mostly UCA students, the itineraries are planned and you can get course credit. I highly recommend the UCA in Florence trip, during which I took a course on Dante. English classes aren’t the only ones offered on these types of trips; other students took classes centered on interior design and psychology while in Italy. Most faculty-led trips will have a variety of classes you can take.

In a language immersion program, you can live in a place where people speak the language you’re studying. UCA has programs for students to learn Mandarin in China and Spanish in Costa Rica or Argentina.

Another option is to spend a semester at one of UCA’s sister schools in another country. At these schools, you can attend college in another part of the world, but still pay the same tuition rates that you would pay in Conway. For a personal view on this type of study abroad, you can check out Echo alumna Peyton Olsen’s series ‘The English Channel.’

For more information on UCA’s study abroad opportunities, go to the UCA Study Abroad website.

Feeling like a rebel? Want to plan your own study abroad instead of buying a pre-packaged one? I’ll cover that, too, in columns to come. Stay tuned.

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