Studying abroad can be done by any age of student whether they need college credit for the classes attended or not. The act of studying abroad itself is when a student pursues an education in a foreign country for a length of time ranging from a single week, usually during a break in their homeland's studies, up to a full academic year. Reasons for deciding to study abroad may vary, but more often than not the reason involves getting a more hands on approach to the topic being learnt.
A Short History
The concept of studying abroad first came about in 1923 when Professor Raymond W. Kirkbride of the University of Delaware sent 8 of his students to Paris, France. Back then the idea of students studying in a country other than their homeland was highly unheard of and initially it was used as an option mainly for studying and learning foreign languages.
More recently it has become acceptable to study abroad for a variety of reasons and the scope of subjects available for study has increased significantly. For instance, it is now more acceptable for someone studying medicine to attend a Caribbean medical school during a study abroad program in order to immerse themselves in a different culture and get a feel for what it might be like for an aspiring doctor to get started in a developing country.
Some Necessary Steps to Take
The exact requirements will vary between scholastic institutions, but several steps must usually be taken in order to join a study abroad program. In addition to deciding which program holds the most interest and applying for it, you will also need to make sure you have all the necessary travel documents. These documents include a valid passport, visa, and, more often than not, various medical releases. Many times it can be a very time consuming process to obtain all the appropriate paperwork, so you'll want to make sure you get a head start on it well in advance just to avoid any delays.
Another thing to consider is where you will be staying, as accommodations are not always provided. Some schools do maintain dormitories or other forms of residence in foreign areas for students to dwell in for the duration of the program, such as a “host family" that has agreed to provide lodging to one or more students for a time. Oftentimes participants in study abroad programs will have to arrange for their own accommodations ahead of time, whether permanent for the duration of the trip or temporarily until more stable lodging can be found.
Studying a topic you're interested in can be a fabulous thing, but studying it in an exotic location that lets you immerse yourself in the lessons even more can be absolutely thrilling. If learning a foreign language via study abroad programs, the chances to put your new-found knowledge into effect will be invaluable to the learning process. If given the chance, everyone should one of these programs at least once.
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