We know it’s only March and that you probably have your mind on spring break, but it’s also time to start thinking about your 2022 study abroad plans. If you’re short on time, budget, or wiggle room in your academic calendar, consider a summer program. Fortunately, USAC offers summer programs in more than 15 countries, giving you lots of programs to choose from. If you’re unsure how to fit a summer abroad into your calendar or are trying to decide if a short term program the right move for you, keep on reading to learn about the benefits of a summer program and how to make it happen.
The Benefits of a Summer Study Abroad
To start things off, let’s cover why a summer study abroad could be a good idea. There are lots of benefits to opting for a shorter program, including:
- Affordability: It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that less time abroad equals lower cost, but you’d be surprised at how affordable summer programs can be. For example, a single summer session in San Sebastián, Spain costs almost half as much as a semester. But don’t let the lower price tag fool you; you’ll still have plenty of activities, courses, and field trips offered to help you dig deep into your host community.
- Less time away from other commitments: We understand that study abroad is a big commitment, and you’re likely going to miss out on something no matter when you choose to go. While we always like to preach that once you’re abroad things like football games, birthday parties, and other social events will be the last thing on your mind, we get it. If your fear of missing out is holding you back from study abroad, a shorter program is a great way to get abroad without missing too much.
- Staying on track for graduation: Whether you’re deciding to study abroad later in your academic career, you have a rigorous academic schedule, or you’re tackling a heavy course load (hello double majors!), we know that finding the perfect time for study abroad can be tricky. Fortunately, USAC offers a variety of programs for all majors, and our advisors can help you find the right fit. But for some students, a summer abroad just makes the most sense academically, and a shorter program is the right choice to ensure they stay on track for graduation.
- Dipping your toes into the world of international education and travel: For many students study abroad is the first time they have traveled internationally or have left home for an extended period of time. If you’re apprehensive about international travel for any reason, study abroad is a great way to get a taste without uprooting your life permanently. With the support of our staff, you’ll be guided through the pre-departure process, life abroad, and returning home. By the time your program is over, you’ll be a travel expert ready for your next international education experience.
- Less preparation: A shorter program means less to prepare for. For many summer programs you won’t even be required to apply for a student visa. From academics with your home university to saving money to acquiring travel documents, the process can often be easier for summer students, which makes it an appealing option for many.
Consider Your Priorities
Before hitting “submit” on your summer application, consider your goals and study abroad priorities. The truth is that our summer programs are designed to offer almost everything our summer programs offer, just in a shorter time frame. You will still have the chance to learn a second language, take field trips and explore your host country, immerse in a new culture, earn credit towards your degree, and everything else that is offered on a longer-term program. But it’s important to consider whether you can truly meet your goals with a summer study abroad. If the points above are all important to you, then great! If you’re unsure, speak with a USAC representative to weigh your options. Keep in mind that many of our summer programs are offered in four or five week sessions, but you can always combine both sessions for a longer summer abroad.
Make a Plan of Action
If you’ve decided that a summer study abroad is the right choice for you, the next step is to make a game plan. Here are a few action items to get you going:
- Select your program: Obviously you have to decide where you want to go, so take a look at our Summer 2022 programs and find your dream program. If you’re unsure about which program to choose, we recommend speaking with a USAC advisor, someone from your home university’s study abroad office, and even your academic advisor to find the right fit.
- Research key dates and deadlines: Once you’ve found your program, head to the “Fees and Deadlines” page on the USAC website. From here, write down any important program dates such as the application deadline, balance due deadline, and start and end date. Heads up: Don’t procrastinate. Some Summer 2022 program deadlines are as early as April 1!
- Submit your application: You can’t study abroad without enrolling in the program, and you have to complete our online application first. Here are some tips for writing your application essay.
- Pay attention to your Student Gateway account: once you have applied for your program, you will gain access to our Student Gateway portal which contains important information about your program and the rest of the preparation process. It’s crucial to tackle any tasks such as scholarship applications, vaccine requirements, and passport acquisition, in a timely matter. And again, when in doubt, reach out to your Program Advisor with questions.
- Enjoy: Last but not least is to have fun! Remember that study abroad is a life changing experience, no matter how long or how short your program is. A summer abroad can transform your perspectives, language skills, and education. Enjoy it!