Study Abroad Programs? Need recommendations!

pecanpieSeptember 27, 2006

DH wants to go abroad next semester and with an application deadline looming, we realize we know next to nothing about the various programs.

ISA (International Studies Abroad) and CEA (Cultural Experiences Abroad) reps were at a foreign studies fair he attended and he has their literature. His university accepts credits earned from these programs and they each offer several opportunities in Latin America and Spain. He is double-minoring in Spanish and history and course offerings in these areas are plentiful.

Any experience with either of these? I am concerned about support on campus. Class snafus, scheduling problems, etc. are hard enough to deal with in the US.


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DH? Do you mean your husband? Or daughter? Or son? Wow! I didn't even know that you could study abroad with an independent program. That's cool. Also, have you checked into programs offered at Catholic colleges in these countries? I'm thinking of an exchange student... but maybe that's an old-fashioned term. And lastly, the only programs that I'm familiar with are the ones that are a part of the school's curriculum, like a Rome Program during sophmore year. I'm sorry that I can't be of more help.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 11:14AM
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Ooh, freudian slip, maybe? Of course I mean DS.

Yes, these are independent programs. Instead of every university arranging classes, logistics, orientation, housing, etc., these programs do it all. Much more efficient.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 12:01PM
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My nephew did the Semester at Sea program two years ago. He goes to the University of Colorado at Boulder, but I think the program's main sponsor is the University of Pittsburg. This program is on a cruise ship that sails around the world for a semester. It was an awesome experience for him. The link to my nephew's program is below. My co-worker's son is on a sailing semester at sea program this semester that starts in Alaska (I think) and spends a semester sailing down the west coast and ends up in Mexico). This program is more of a science based program than the one my nephew was on, and has more sea time and less onland time.

Here is a link that might be useful: semester at sea

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 2:16PM
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My daughter did a semester abroad in London during her junior year. The program was through another university. Apparently, the kids don't want to go through their own universities because the grade will transfer. With a different university only the credits transfer, not the grade. This allows them to take the courses, but not worry about the grades- they just have to pass!

Most major universities have programs in the major cities in Europe. My daughter went with a few friends and they traveled a lot and had a BALL! Great experience!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 5:19PM
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I'm afraid I can't be of help about those specific programs. However, since your son is majoring in Spanish, I think he would benefit greatly by choosing a program that houses him with a Spanish family.

I heard a senior at my DD's school discuss her experience living with a host family in Granada. It was much more culturally enriching than the experience shared by a young man on the panel who had studied in London, living in a huge dorm with tons of other Americans. Oh sure, he could jet off every weekend to other countries, but he never really assimilated. Also, the girl took classes taught in Spanish, which is probably something else you want to look for. Don't know about you, but I really don't feel like sending my kid on a semester long vacation!

Yer another consideration is whether your child's financial aid or scholarships will be accepted to pay fees at the foreign university.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 6:02PM
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You all have brought up some great points.

His school counts CLEPs as pass/fail and he can't use any more P/F. We need to make sure his grades are accepted- I think that's the advantage of the independent 'go-between' programs. I hope I hope I hope. He's in trouble if he can only earn pass/fail.

Also good point about his scholarship. We can only ask.

Most of these programs do have students living with a host family. One does offer the option of a residencia, but as his goal is fluency, I agree that living with a family would be the best option. He won't have a semester-long vacation but he seems to find a good time no matter where he is.

Thank you all for your insight!!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 10:43PM
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A million years ago, (actually, 21), I spent a semester in Ireland through Temple University. I was a student at a small, liberal arts school in upstate NY. Most of the kids in the program were either from Temple, or small schools like mine and all the schools accepted the grades issued through Temple. (All of our classes were at Trinity College in Dublin). I lived with an Irish family and it was an awesome experience. It was even worth the weight gain--Guiness + potatoes at every meal= about 10 extra pounds.
I hope he can find a program. (I also did a summer program in Spain through AIFS. It was mainly in Salamanca and we stayed in dorms. I was 16 at the time and loved it.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 5:14PM
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A million and a half years ago, (actually, 32) I transfered from a small liberal art college in Indiana to the University of San Francisco to take advantage of their exchange program in Valencia, Spain. I lived with a Spanish widow and 2 other American students. We traveled extensively. It was one of the best things I've ever done.
Don't worry about the snafus - that's what will increase his fluency!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 11:56PM
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Living near UNC-Chapel Hill, I know quite a few students who have studied abroad. It's a culturally rich experience, but it is P/F. It's more of a life lesson thing than a necessary school decision. The kids seem love it, but as our dear friend just said this weekend "our daughter doesn't have a trust fund" so she can't take all these semesters to study abroad. Her daughter has done one study abroad semester in Mexico and is wanting to do another in Spain! It's slowing down her degree.

The girlfriend of one son (he's in pharmacy school) is going to Spain in the spring.

Our other son is in graduate school earning a degree in archaeology in London. That's a whole different thing from study abroad programs.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 11:01AM
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Patrice, I agree that the 'unexpected' stretches the kids. Makes great memories, too!

wonbyherwits (love your user name!) he will be in Spain by mid-January and will be at a medium-sized private university living with another student or two with a family. His classes will be in Spanish and he's been told they will transfer.

We hope to visit him during DD2's spring break.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 11:55AM
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Pecanpie -- Won By Her Wits (aka Charm) is the registered name of our adopted retired racing greyhound.

There will be lots of American students in Spain next semester. Our son's girlfriend will be in Seville.

Where will your son be? I've been to Spain and there is so much to see and do there. You'll really enjoy the country. The Alhambra is gorgeous. Seville and Toledo are my favorite cities. I think I tried gazpacho in every place we went! It was my standard lunch comparison cuisine. They eat dinner very late, so eat a good lunch to make it until the restaurants open at night.

The people are friendly, but watch out for pick-pockets and never park a rented car on the street overnight. You'll always want secured parking.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 1:15PM
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He will be in Seville also- his program is CEA. Wouldn't it be too odd if they were at the same university?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 1:22PM
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