If you are planning to spend a semester or two studying abroad, the first thing you should do is to set up a meeting with an academic adviser at your local institution. The adviser would be able to inform you if your school is affiliated to any international study programmes or foreign education institutions. You would also get the chance to learn about the application process: how to write a resume, a cover letter, whether you need to pass an interview or any specific exams, and so on. Even if you have already found a study programme on your own, it is still better to first clear this with the administrative department of your school, so as to ensure that everything is in order.
An important aspect you will have to consider is whether your programme of choice coincides with the curriculum you would follow at your home institution. While finding a programme that matches 100% would be a virtually impossible feat, you still have to make sure that studying abroad will not cause you to fall behind on your studies. Once again, this is an area your adviser could help with. You could also manually compare the curriculum of your home institution with that of the host university, but this is more time consuming.
While studying abroad can be a very enriching experience, often times it is quite an expensive venture. Nonetheless, there are several options through which you could finance your programme. Various international programmes offer students scholarship that will cover basic expenses such as tuition and lodging. You could also apply for a scholarship directly at the institution you plan on attending. In addition, depending on your home country’s regulation, you might be granted a student loan that could fund your abroad experience. As a last resort, you could also attempt finding employment in your host country if your study programme schedule can accommodate this. If you’ve decided on the latter option, make sure you also check the requirements for a work permit.
Study abroad programmes do not limit themselves to just university or higher education studies. If you are interested in learning a foreign language, you should definitely consider studying it in another country. For example, you could learn Spanish in Argentina, Cuba, or Spain, or French in Belgium, France, or Canada. One option you should take into account is attending a language summer immersion programme, which combines classes with various fun activities. Classes are held for both beginners and advanced and they are open to people of all ages.
If you would prefer learning a new skill or sport, you should know that you can also do this through study abroad programmes. Teaching institutions around the world hold classes during which tourists and foreigners can learn something specific to the host country. For example, you could enrol in a samba class in Brazil, learn how to cook in Italy, or join a whitewater rafting class in New Zealand. The possibilities are virtually endless.