Study Abroad After You Graduate

You might be a recent high school graduate, or you might be a recent college graduate. In both cases there are many study abroad options available to you – options which will broaden your horizons, increase your competitiveness in the job market, augment your language fluency and cultural competency – all just to name a few!

Study Abroad After You Graduate College

Why study abroad after college?

Maybe you missed out on study abroad while you were in college. You might have had a heavy course load participated in sports and didn’t want to miss a season. Maybe you didn’t have the funds for a study abroad experience. Perhaps you did a study abroad program and, having recognized the benefit, you want to solidify your ability in a foreign language and cultural competency as key factors in your future professional life. Study abroad gives you the opporunity to truly acquire competency in a foreign language. It expands your horizons, enbales you to see your own culture from points of view found only beyond your borders, and exposes you to other cultures, value systems, and beliefs. It short, it helps to cultivate you into a global citizen. And in today’s increasingly gloabalized world, the skills and experiences you gain abroad will serve you well as attractive assets to employers. Foreign language competency, in particular, is a skill set that is increasingly desired throughout the world. If you studied abroad, but didn’t focus on aquiring a level that you could really use in a work setting, or if you didn’t study abroad – now’s your chance!

Why study abroad after high school?

If you study abroad after high school, you will reap all the benefits that you will should you study abroad during college – language fluency, cultural competence, and a greater sense of independence, exposure to other cultures, values, beliefs, ways of living… the list goes on. Study abroad opens your eyes. If you study abroad before you go to college, you are more likely to have a set of clear goals when you do start college. It not uncommon for young people who have studied abroad to return home with an enthusiasm for and a focus on a particular field of study. In addition, an experience abroad can enhance so much of your college study at home, whether it be history, business, politics, art, sociology or other courses. Having an international, eye-opening experience under your belt will enable you to approach courses, topics, issues, and discussions from multiple points of view. You’ll be able to see things from a point of view that others may not, if they have not studied abroad.

Where Can You Study Abroad? Two Popular Options:

(The short answer is: In many of the same places you studied abroad in (or will study abroad in) during college.)

Foreign Universities

Many foreign universities throughout the world, and especially in Europe, offer international courses for foreigners. Minimum ages for participation are 17 or 18 to 19, depending on the university. At the University of Salamanca (Spain), for example,  the minimum age for participation is 17, while at the Sorbonne (Paris) the minimum age for participation is 19. The only other requirement is that you have a copy of your high school diploma. For most pre-university students the main focus of study (especially for European and Asian students) is language and culture, with the critical goal of attaining as much fluency as possible. Many foreign university programs for international students focus on the language and culture of their country (French in France, German in Germany, Spanish in Spain, etc.) At intermediate levels and above, students can add to their language studies. The can choose elective courses in history, art, art history, current events, economics, and others. Some foreign universities offer housing arrangements for their students, while others offer only some form of assistance in your housing search.

In-Country Foreign Language Schools

Foreign language schools are a very popular alternative to university langauge programs. Minimum ages for participation range from 16 – 17. These schools offer effective language learning programs (most using the same methods as the university courses), culture courses, housing arrangements, and some activities. Classes are smaller than in university settings and the environment is a bit cozier. The fact that quite a few US universities use foreign language schools to host their study abroad programs (instead of universities) confirms validates in-country langauge schools as an effective study abroad option. Language schools abrod really focus on moving their students towards the greatest level of fluency they can achieve in the time they have. To illustrate, in 6 months at a language school abroad, you will cover all the material you would cover in two years at your university at home. Most language schools will arrange housing for their students (usually shared student apartments and homestays, along with other options.)