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Peer Adviser Post: Things to Consider while Studying Abroad

Things to consider while studying abroad:
By Amanda Suarez CC '14

One of the most exciting endeavors pursued by Columbia students occurs not on Low Steps, but in dusty cities, crowded cafes, and exotic landscapes around the globe as students join the ranks of their international peers via the Columbia Office of Global Programs.  Immersing themselves in the dynamic culture, language, and vibrant traditions of the host country they choose to inhabit, legions of Columbians eagerly await their sophomore or junior year (or perhaps the promise of summer months!) with a mixture of glee and indecision at the idea of taking advantage of the incredible opportunities of studying abroad. As I am currently myself in the midst of stamping and signing the final documents that comprise my application to study abroad this spring in Sevilla, Spain, I feel that I should highlight a few considerations students should ponder before addressing their luggage tags:

  1. How does my selected country’s university calendar coincides or conflict with my internship/job prospects and can I work around scheduling difficulties?
  2. What are the prime destinations I want to visit while in my host country and how should I map out my time spent in my host city and traveling to other countries/regions?
  3. Am I more interested in making an effort to befriend locals or fellow American students enrolled in my study abroad program, and am I willing to put my pride on the line if I want to fully engage with native speakers in conversations and social situations?
  4. Are all my financial aid arrangements, recommendation letters, medical approval forms, and student visa application submitted? (Make sure to make an appointment with the consulate in NYC months beforehand so that you will surely have your visa processed before departure!)
  5. What am I most excited about pursuing while studying abroad—taking dance classes, embarking on outdoor adventures, getting comfortable around my host city, pursuing an internship/job during my abroad semester, or simply soaking up time with the locals?

Make sure to check out the OGP website at http://www.ogp.columbia.edu/, for more information on Columbia’s Global Centers and approved study abroad programs list.  Bon voyage!

If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at: csapeeradvising@columbia.edu



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