Study abroad programs were once considered a luxury for many college students. Today, they a staple in creating a rich and diverse college experience. Although it is recommended to study abroad for any student interested in getting a master’s degree in international relations, diplomacy, or foreign language, study abroad programs are a way for all students to expand their personal worldview.
With hundreds of programs to choose from, how can you decide which one is the best for you or your degree? Below are some of the best abroad programs offered to undergraduate students and how to get started in them.
Council on International Educational Exchange
CIEE is America’s oldest study abroad program and was originally founded after WWII in order to promote international exchange and peace. With over 280 individual programs in 45 countries, CIEE offers a variety of options with all-inclusive cultural exchange activities.
The best part about is the vast alumni and professional development network that is offered to students who choose this program. If you’re considering a career in international affairs, this program will connect you with like-minded individuals who can support you through career resources, events, and local chapters.
Semester at Sea
This is one of the most interesting study abroad programs out there and is designed for the intrepid traveller who wants to experience the world quickly. Through this program, students are able to earn college credit while sailing across the world. Think of a cruise, but for college students. Semester at Sea will allow you to visit the most amount of countries in the shortest amount of time while also providing a quality education.
International Partnership for Service Learning
If you’re looking for a study abroad program that not only allows a rich educational experience and deep cultural exchange but also promotes service learning, IPSL is the program for you. IPSL was created to give students hands-on experience volunteering in a host country.
With academic programs in South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, students can pick a location that corresponds to where they feel called to serve in the world. IPSL also offers a graduate program in International Development and Service, which would be a great transfer for students interested in other foreign studies.
College Year in Athens
There are many programs available if you’d like to learn about cultures around the world. College Year in Athens is one such program, during which you can travel to Greece and visit both historic and contemporary monuments and sites in Greece and Europe. Your field trips will be coupled with courses during the week, and on weekends you can explore Greece independently. This is a great chance for you to learn about a different culture in a safe, educational environment.
If you’re serious about learning international relations and want to improve your skill in speaking a foreign language, there’s no better way than to immerse yourself in the culture. Linguistic Horizons offers not only the chance to study and practice Spanish in Peru, but also to have an internship there and experience foreign work first hand. You’ll work directly with local people in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in whatever form of participation fits with your major, from farming and irrigation for agriculture majors to teaching children and preserving cultural heritage.
If teaching is more of your forté, why not go to China and teach English? While travelling around the province of Jiangxi, you’ll teach children English while learning Mandarin yourself. Not only will you be paid for your work, but accommodation will be also provided. If you’re curious about Asian cultures, love to work with kids, and want some experience abroad, this is a perfect choice for you. The duration of this program can be from one month to three months, making it a flexible choice if you want some experience over a summer or a single season.
Choosing a study abroad program can be a daunting task. The experience will transform your life and is important for your resume and graduation. These three programs are a great place to start looking for the perfect program for your personal and academic goals.
Special thanks to Dixie Somers for providing us with this article. Dixie is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. You can contact Dixie on Facebook.