We frequently encounter individuals who know they want to do some kind of program abroad, but they aren’t sure how choose a program that’s right for them. Hopefully as you are taking a long break and beginning to consider a program for 2017, this list of questions can help narrow the search.
- WHEN DO YOU HOPE TO TRAVEL? – Most people have some kind of timeline in mind due to the constraints of degree requirements. And while your schedule might be more flexible and forgiving than you think, some windows of time make more sense than others. We usually suggest that if there is an impulse to go, that you follow through with a plan as soon as you reasonably can. There will never be a more affordable, more feasible time to go, so don’t procrastinate! Waiting around for the perfect time might ultimately derail your plans. Our program advisors might nudge your dates a bit to accommodate events like summer vacation in Europe certain holiday seasons in other locations. But if you ask us, there is no wrong time to travel abroad!
- IS LANGUAGE LEARNING A GOAL? – Do you plan on dusting off your Spanish and making a real effort to take it to the next level or are you certain you need to speak English? Maybe language is a non-issue altogether and you want to visit a country where you will be a complete novice! Regardless of the language situation, there are numerous programs that will work splendidly, so don’t fear. If you love having a structured plan for learning a language, take a closer look at which programs offer daily or weekly language sessions.
- WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET? -Budgets are helpful and will inform you about the type of program that makes sense. Budget constraints might point to a shorter program duration. For example, spring and summer volunteer programs can be accomplished in a relatively short time (2-4 weeks) and internships can vary in duration, too. Communicating early with staff may also help guide you toward programs that allow for school credit and use financial aid. Regardless of what you decide about what your finances allow, make sure you focus on the program value instead of the cost. Each program has immeasurable value when you consider that it opens your mind to new cultures and gives you experiences that will shape your character for a lifetime.
- WHERE WOULD YOU LOVE TO GO? – Finally, the best criteria is saved for last. This passion is the spark that lit the fire of curiosity for each of us. There has to be a desire to explore that gets us out of our comfort zone and often it is attached to a specific location. Have you had an inexplicable draw to a certain region since you were a kid? Are you curious about your family roots? Does your heart rate increase whenever you see a certain landscape in magazines? Pay attention to these feelings and check out the reality with a program advisor. They can confirm or redirect your interest based on their own experiences and will most certainly respect this magnetic pull toward a locale! It can be a wonderful experience to have something that lived in your imagination, become a reality!
There are many more questions to consider, but this is a solid start. Have fun! Dream a little (or a lot). Travel is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in your life, so enjoy the sweet experience of researching and choosing your next great adventure!
Posted by World Endeavors on December 23, 2016
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.