Study abroad in Europe?


Oct 9th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Study abroad in Europe?

I'm researching studying abroad in Europe and was wondering if anyone has any advice on how you chose where to study? or recommendations, advice, etc. on anything related. Thanks!
HillaryS is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2012, 10:06 AM
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You really need to provide more info.

Typically this is arranged through the university one is already attending.

If you're not in university and want to attend one in europe - you will need to do a lot of research -since the educational systems are very different - including qualifying requirements.


What type of course do you want to take?
What languages do you speak - or are you limited to English-language universities?
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Oct 9th, 2012, 10:32 AM
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If you are not a student, start with CIEE - private corp that arranges study abroad. Goggle CIEE.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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THE crucial question is what are you seeking to achieve?

Do you:
- believe there are universities that offer an insight into your discipline, or academic courses, you can't get at home?
- want a backdoor way into getting an international job on graduation you'd have to do your time as a grunt at Citibank or Exxon to get if you stayed in your home country?
- want the kind of exposure to Europe's next generation of movers and shakers you think Rhodes Scholars get?
- want a year off in a pretty city?
- fancy your chances with Italians or Frenchpeople of the relevant sex?

You don't need to be honest with us about this, and none of those answers are necessarily wrong. But unless you're honest with yourself, you may well be wasting your time and money, and putting your cv onto a track it will take some energy to correct in the future.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 01:29 PM
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I am sorry but the previous posting makes no sense. Don't know if someone thinks they are being cute or just stupid. There are a whole host of reasons to participate in a study abroad program and students are better for it.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 02:04 PM
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I don't agree with that at all, I think that post makes a lot of sense and one should be asking these types of questions to decide where to go, and what the purpose and goals are of such study. None of those reasons are stupid, I think a lot of people do it just for fun, actually (item 3), but there certainly are people who do it because they have a career goal in mind that such international study might help. But without any idea what the purpose is, who can suggest? Also, language skills are definitely an issue in where you can go.

I don't think every student is the better for it any more than any student is the better for any type of experience in a year. It probably can't hurt a lot (I can think of cases where it possibly could, if the student could not explain the purpose or their goal in doing so to potential interviewers and it was chosen instead of something that could have enhanced their CV), except in opportunity costs and $$$$ of course.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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fmpden: "I am sorry but the previous posting makes no sense. Don't know if someone thinks they are being cute or just stupid. There are a whole host of reasons to participate in a study abroad program and students are better for it."

I believe flanner was simply stating the obvious - there are lots of reasons to study abroad but one needs to be honest w/ him/herself as to what they hope to accomplish and why they want to do it.

Since the OP didn't give us much to go on - her course of study/major, whether is it grad school or undergraduate . . . or even high school. Or anything else.

How can anyone give any useful advice w/o knowing at least something of what the OP has in mind.

flanners's questions are on point IMO
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Oct 10th, 2012, 06:03 AM
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Hi Hillary,

Many moons ago I did a year long study abroad program in England. The options from my University weren't huge at the time and I have no regrets to my choice. A European lady I know poo-pooed my when I told her I went to England. She stuck her nose up in the air and said, "well, they speak English there so it couldn't have been too different." (seeing as I am a native English speaker). The program and year opened my eyes to the world and culture outside of my own.
I would suggest that if you are studying or know a second language, perhaps you would study in a country that speaks to improve your knowledge.
I had a program where all of the foreign students were housed in the same dorms. There are pros and cons to that set up. I was a brave person for trying but not brave enough to live with a family. Depends how much immersion you want and what type of experience you are looking for.
Really, the only downside was the weather. We would walk to the University in the pouring rain. Backpacks soaked and body chilled to the bone. Maybe a Spain experience would have been nicer as we travelled there anyway to escape the dreary English winter. )
Last bit of advice- go for a year! With a semester you are just getting into your culture and then have to turn around and come home. A year will give you a chance to meet more people, have more experiences, maybe do some traveling.

Good luck!

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Oct 10th, 2012, 06:34 AM
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I'm going to back-up what cheapbox of wine says (and not just because I fancy a drink).

I also spent a year studying abroad (in France) just over ten years ago and it was without a doubt the single, most enjoyable year (as a whole) of my life. I wouldn't change the experience I had for anything and in my opinion, it doesn't matter what reasons you're doing it for, just go ahead and do it.

If your options are completely open, find a country or city that you're interested in and go there. Don't think about the course, the practicalities of living abroad or feeling lonely. In my experience, these things take care of themselves and at the end of it, the life experience (I hate that phrase, but sometimes it just fits) will be more valuable to the nth degree than any one-year course certification you might get at the end of it.

If you do re-surface and want some practical tips or ideas, just shout and I'll be happy to help. Things that seemed like world-ending problems at the time raised little more than a rueful smile a year later and now make good pub conversation.

I thankfully now have the chance to talk regularly to school age kids about the importance of learning foreign languages (in England, describing this as an uphill battle is something of an understatement) and I always recommend - in the strongest terms possible - spending a year abroad.

Go for it. Move heaven and earth so you can. Don't put yourself in a position where in twenty years time you'll be looking back wishing you'd gone.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 08:19 AM
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First thing to do is talk with your own college advisor about the programs that are accepted by your school. You want to get credits that are easily transferred to your own program, and count toward your degree.

You will probably get a long list of acceptable programs overseas. Start there.

Our DD studied in Florence one semester, and she had a great experience. She chose to live with a family and she learned to speak Italian. She was there during the Winter Olympics, saw two skiing events, and traveled to Greece over her spring break.

It was crucial for DD to carefully plan her study abroad, because she had to get her science credits for pre-med covered before thinking of going to Florence where only social studies were offered. She did it, with a lot of hard work, summer classes, and planning.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 08:59 AM
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I am writing as a mother who had both of my kids study abroad in Europe.Quite honestly, our family found that the college counselors were basically worthless in suggestions for overseas experiences. They were not well versed as to how many opportunities there were out there besides the basic study abroad that each of their schools offered.Researching on the internet,calling and writing for info proved to be invaluable.There were two similar programs in Sicily but one was wayyyyy more money-when compared it turned out that the weekend side trips were what was running up the bill. My daughter organized her own weekend trips with friends and saw and did some really interesting things as opposed to the "organized bus trips".

My son went on his own to chose a program in Torino Italy for the first semester of junior year and then in Prague the second semester because of his major in Economics and History. His university in Canada actually had a castle in England for a study abroad but most of the courses were geared to theatre,English/literature,etc.and he was not interested.He searched for programs that would be applicable to his major and in cities where he was interested in living.He enjoyed switching his semesters as he had a chance to take Italian and basic Czech language among his courses.

My daughter was majoring in marine science so her study abroad was difficult to find as she needed a program with upper level science courses.Her university had a place in London which again was more English theatre and literature so she was not interested going there.She found a program in Ortigia/Siracusa Sicily and found heaven on Earth!Her program included Volcanology(Mt. Etna trips!) and Anthropology courses which satisfied her minor. She lived in a private apartment with two other girls but loved loved her daily trips to the market with her "bread man,cheese guy,etc."She took Italian and also took evening cooking courses which have made her an amazing cook!

Both kids made sure before we sent money that all credits would be able to be transfered and credited which takes some time and effort on the part of the student and mentor.

Personally, I think that one should figure out after you know where you are going what you are going to do while there-travel to other cities,countries,etc. and plan accordingly.My daughter traveled to Malta,spent her 21st birthday in Tunisia,etc. My son traveled alot to Poland,Hungary,Riga,etc.

As a result of these overseas experiences, both of my kids live and work overseas-its addictive! Good luck!
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Oct 15th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Thanks to everyone for your answers! I realize now that my question was a little broad I'm actually a high school student looking to study abroad for a semester or maybe summer. I'd just started my research when I posted, so didn't have too much to go on yet - other than knowing I wanted to go to Europe.

I've taken French in school and know the basics, so in terms of places in Europe I'm thinking a French speaking country may be best. That way I can use what I've learned - I've also heard the larger cities speak a little English (although I'm sure they appreciate it when you speak french),

I guess my main question now is if anyone knows any good programs that can help out with organizing everything. I've talked to my counselor and they gave me a few programs to look into, but I was wondering if anyone had any experience going though programs that help.

Thanks again for any advice and for the advice everyone has already given!
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Oct 15th, 2012, 02:35 PM
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Many universities have programs and they do handled arrangements for their students, so you might choose a university that does that. Otherwise, I do know about France, and a summer is nothing, anyone can do that. Lots of schools hvae programs for that, but there are agencies that will handled the arrangements for you. Just be aware that this will cost a lot more as they take the basic fee the university or program would charge someone who applied on their own, and then they tack on a large markup.

And I don't think there is a good reason to do this at the beginning of your college experience, most students who do this do this later on, Jr or Sr year.

I'm not clear on what you expect to study, if it's somethign related to your college degree, your college will pretty much have to arrange that as they will have to give you credit. Many schools have such programs.

If you just want to take a language abroad for the summer, there are tons of schools you can do that in France and it's easy to apply on your own. But for starters, you can look at Shaw Guides online, they have a very good section on study abroad programs. Look in the section on study tours or language vacations

I did do a program through an agency/company that handles these things and everything went okay, I have no complaints. I learned from that how much they marked things up and later went on my own applying directly, but I had no complaints about when they handled things. this is it
They've been doing this a lot of years and are reliable and know what they are doing.
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Oct 17th, 2012, 02:39 PM
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I'm actually looking to study abroad during high school - I may do it again in college depending on how it goes. I'm still on the fence on if I want to do it over the summer or during the year. I did some research and found a couple places that seem to have programs - and Does anyone know/have recommendations for others? I'll take a look at - looks like they have high school programs.
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Oct 17th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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There are also programs listed for GAP years.I have had friends and friends' children do the AFS program, a wonderful experience for all of them. Does your high school have any exchange students from abroad? My high school and my kids' schools always had several international exchange students through AFS.
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Oct 17th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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Our DD studied in Paris for a term. She went through API. She did this while in college, but there was one girl in her program who had just graduated from high school, so I am not sure just what their requirements are. Anyway, through API she had the option of studying at the Sorbonne or the ICP (Institute d'Catholic) and chose the ICP and was very pleased.
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Oct 18th, 2012, 12:27 PM
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Thanks everyone! This has been really helpful!
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