by Jon Sender | Back to Guide
Beginning of Part 1, tasks you should complete quite some time before your trip
If you already know where you want to go, great. If not, take some time to think about it. Assuming you’re only in your first or second year of college, you’ve probably got some time to mull it over.
Is there a particular country that attracts you? Maybe one you’ve visited before but would like to spend more time in? Is there a language you’re dying to learn or are already learning? Do you have a desire to return to your family’s roots? Figure out what’s right for you. I settled on Israel after finding the desire to become fully fluent in modern Hebrew, which I had started learning as a child in day school.
Next, run a basic cost analysis to see how much you can expect to pay for a semester abroad. You might be surprised to know that chances are, it’ll cost less than staying at home, even after accounting for flights, travel expenses, etc. That’s because education is one of few commodities that is relatively expensive in America, with respect to the rest of the world. Most colleges here have tuition exchange programs through which you’ll continue to pay them your regular tuition, and only pay room and board directly to the overseas institution. That’s how mine worked, and it made things simple. However, I advise you to check the price of tuition where you’re going and see how it compares to the one you’re paying now, taking into account any current scholarships. If it makes sense, see if there’s a way you can pay tuition directly to the university abroad. Think about it: if you’ll be at a European university, would you rather pay the cheap European price or the costly American one you’re used to? Good call.
See if your university’s study abroad office offers some sample pricing guides. As an example, here’s the one Case Western Reserve University prepared for me (it excludes tuition).