There are many different types of programs. Finding the program that is right for you involves asking yourself what you hope to attain out of the study abroad experience. What are your learning goals? Language proficiency? Second language acquisition? Cultural Immersion? Intercultural competency? Academic enhancement of a major or minor? Research and fieldwork in preparation for your thesis? To find out more about each program option, read the program descriptions.
Do you want to take courses only with students from the host country and immerse yourself fully into the culture?
You can study abroad through direct enrollment in a host institution or on a program that enrolls you in courses at the local universities. Most of the direct enrollment programs are in English speaking countries such as the programs in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and The University of West Indies in Barbados. Some direct-programs are in non-English speaking countries but courses are offered in English with host nationals, such as the exchanges with Lund University and Al Akhawayn University.
Do you want to enroll directly in a foreign university and take courses with host nationals but would appreciate extra assistance with navigating the different style of university system?
Facilitated Direct Enrollment
You can directly enroll in a local university but have an American-style support system available on-site. In these facilitated direct enrollment programs, you are a full university student at the local university but also have an American third-party provider that helps you register for courses, provides on-site academic assistance, and arranges for other local cultural enrichment (e.g., city tours, holiday parties, etc.). However, if you are going to a non-English speaking country, some of these programs may require a high level of language proficiency, such as the Middlebury programs in Chile, IFSA Butler in Argentina, and BCA in Mexico. Examples of these programs (taught in English) include CIEE Hyderabad at the University of Hyderabad, CIEE Cape Town at the University of Cape Town, CIEE Botswana at the University of Botswana, CIEE Istanbul at Koç University, IFSA Sharjah at the American University of Sharjah, and IFSA Jerusalem at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Are you interested in an intensive language experience where you gain the cross-cultural competence that speaking only in the host language for a semester can bring?
Intensive Language Study
Some study abroad programs offer the opportunity to develop speaking, reading, and writing confidence in the host language through intensive language study. Some of these programs require no previous language study, such as CET Intensive Chinese Language in Beijing. Other programs are designed to bring intermediate speakers to near-fluency throughout the semester, such as the CET Intensive Chinese Language in Harbin and IFSA Buenos Aires Intermediate.
Do you want to improve your language proficiency or learn a new language while still taking area courses for your major?
There are also options where students can take courses both at an academic center with American students on the program and also at a local university. These students have access to the academic enrichment of experiencing academic life in their host country through their university coursework, but they also have access to more American-style services and field trips. Some of these hybrid programs offer courses taught in English( by local university faculty members ) at the academic center and courses at the local university which are taught both in the host language or in English. Some examples are IES Granada, IES Rome, IES Milan, IES Siena, and CIEE Prague. On other hybrid programs, students take both academic center and regular university courses only in the host language, such as IFSA Buenos Aires and Mendoza, Sweet Briar Paris and Nice, and Sweet Briar Seville.
Do you want to attend a specialized academic program taught in English?
Academic Center Programs
Academic center programs are specifically designed for American students abroad because students are not fluent in the language of the country. Some examples of these programs are College Year in Athens, the Denmark Institute for Study Abroad, Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, and the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. Students on these programs take classes that are created and taught for American students in an academic center on a program that provides American-style services and programs for students. These types of programs usually offer some type of global engagement outside the classroom, such as through field study, study tours with faculty,internships and volunteer opportunities, and housing with families or in dorms with host nationals.