Why should students study abroad?
If you are wondering why The College of Idaho strongly encourages all students to pursue study abroad opportunities, the most meaningful answers are those offered by students who have undertaken the adventure. They will tell you that leaving the comforts and familiarity of home, friends, and campus life is challenging, but tremendously rewarding and unlike any other experience.
Their personal stories tell of how they dealt with a new environment, experiencing the good, the bad, the bizarre, the mundane; of their exhilaration in meeting new friends, seeing new places, and studying with scholars from a different intellectual tradition.
As unique and varied as each student's experience are, there is almost universal agreement regarding the personal growth, increased self-confidence, and new coping skills arising out of a semester or year long immersion experience. In stepping outside of one's own culture and into another a perspective impossible to attain from within results. We begin to understand that "other" culture in a different light, and perhaps more importantly, we gain valuable insights into our own culture, how others perceive us, and the common humanity that binds all of us together.
As globalization proceeds, with its daunting challenges to harmonize our diverse, interdependent world, understanding of a different culture is essential to developing future leaders in our society and is highly valued by business leaders, governmental organizations, educators, scientists and a host of others who recognize the competitive edge studying abroad affords to graduates.
Where can I study abroad?
Study Abroad Program Database [LINK]
Before choosing a program ask yourself these important questions:
- What do I want to accomplish abroad (e.g. continue with a foreign language, conduct research, experience a new culture)?
- What regions of the world interest me?
- What type of program fits my interests and needs (e.g. large university or small, independent program)?
To receive answers to questions such as “How do I pay for study abroad?" "What is the deadline for submitting the application?" and "Can I use financial aid for study abroad?" please meet with the College of Idaho Study Abroad Advisor. Since this position changes every few years, ask the Chair of the Modern Foreign Language Department who will tell you the appropriate faculty member with whom to meet.
Completing the Study Abroad Process
Once you have chosen a program follow these 5 steps to complete the process for study abroad:
Step 1: Explore Your Options
Attend any Study Abroad Fairs that are held every on the C of I campus, which will be widely publicized when the time comes. At some of these fairs various program representatives return to our campus to inform you about their program.
Make an appointment with your academic adviser to discuss how studying abroad relates to your domestic course work and requirements for the major.
Consider the following questions:
- Do you prefer small towns or the big city life?
- Do you want to be able to have outdoor activities, e.g. hiking and biking, easily available?
- Do you want to live with a host family or independently?
- Do you mind commuting to work or do you prefer a residential academic experience?
- Do you have particular health needs that need to be met while you are abroad?
Consult the College of Idaho Approved Program List.
Consult with the Financial Aid Office to discuss financing your study abroad experience. Study abroad tends not to be cost prohibitive, however, each student's financial circumstances are different and it is important you begin this research early. Your financial aid package will automatically transfer to an approved study abroad program; if you are not on financial aid, you pay the program fees as advertised by the program. See Money Matters for more information.
International students should consult with the relevant government agency in countries they are considering studying abroad, since advice may be different than that for U.S. citizens.
Step 2: Submit the Declaration of Intent to Study Abroad
Submit the Declaration of Intent to Study Abroad Form to your faculty advisor, then to the study abroad advisor, and then to the Registrar.
Step 3: Apply to Programs
Apply to the program(s) you have chosen. Your application(s) will normally have to be accompanied by, and preferably submitted well in advance of the application deadlines:
Complete the required forms, then obtain the required signatures.
Step 4: Confirm Your Plans to Study Abroad
As soon as you know for certain which study abroad program you will be attending, print out and take to your advisor the Confirmation of Study Abroad Plans and the Waiver of Liability, read them carefully and submit them both together to the Registrar.
Any major changes in your plans, especially if you intend to receive credit in your major, should be discussed with your academic advisor.
Step 5: Prepare to Depart
Use information provided by the advisor at the institution that sponsors your study abroad program or the to receive a variety of pre-departure materials, give you advice on passports, visas, travel, accommodations, and the like.