Areas of Consideration
When selecting a study away program, it is important to evaluate your options from several angles. Consider location(s) of interest, academic offerings, extracurricular opportunities, your lifestyle, housing needs, your financial situation, access to health and wellness, and your identities. Review some or all of the following questions to evaluate your needs/wants in a study away program.
Keep in mind, many of these questions and statements may not be applicable for short-term faculty-led programs.
- What discipline(s) do you want to study while you’re away?
- When are you able to study away? Consider course sequencing, extracurricular activities, etc.
- Create a draft four year plan with your academic advisor.
- How much flexibility do you have in your four year plan? Can you move classes to different semesters to best utilize your time on-campus and during study away?
- Which programs best align with the academic courses you should take?
- Which locations would have the greatest access for your academic interests?
- Are you looking for a language learning/immersion program?
- Are there any PLU requirements that you can only take the semester you’re away?
- Are there any prerequisite or required sequential courses that affect when you can participate in study away?
- How many semester hours do you need to complete the semester you’re away in order to graduate on time?
- Do you have room to take any general elective courses?
- What prerequisites will you need to take at PLU before your program?
- Do you want to participate in an internship or service learning abroad?
- Do you want to participate in field research while away?
- Do you want to engage in study tours in your program?
- What career-related goals do you have for study away? (i.e. internships; service learning; knowledget, skills, attitude acquisition, etc.)
- Consider your learning styles/preferences.
- Are you independent in your study habits?
- Do you need deadlines in order to stick to a study schedule?
- Different programs have different assessment formats; some have several assessments through the term, while others may only have one or two exams/papers to determine your overall grade. What assessment format would best help you to succeed?
- How important is the location to you?
- Why do certain areas of the world interest you more than others?
- Which locations/programs would have the greatest access for your extracurricular/personal interests?
- What do you personally want to get out of my study away experience?
- What sort of housing would you prefer? Options can include: residential halls, apartments, homestays
- Would you like to study in a rural environment? Urban environment?
- Do you want to go with a group of other PLU students? Would you like to be more independent?
- Would you like to take courses at a foreign university? Would you like to take courses at a program study center with other American or foreign students?
- How will your family feel about you studying away? How can you include them in your experience?
- Would you like to have study tours included in your program?
- What is the cost of living in the location(s) you’re interested in?
- Create a projected personal budget to find out what your additional expenses will likely be; this can help determine which location is best for your financial situation.
- How much does it cost to fly to the location?
- Do you want to travel to other locations before, during, or after your program? How much will you need?
- Can/will you work in your host country? (check laws to find out if you’re able to work)
- Which scholarships might you be eligible for? What’s the application timeline?
- Consider if a visa/residence permit is required. Do you need to travel domestically prior to the program start date to apply for a visa/residence permit? What is the visa processing fee? What is the cost of travel to the nearest consulate?
- Do you utilize any accommodation services at PLU? If so, start a conversation with the Office of Accommodation and Accessibility to create a plan for your time abroad.
- Do you have mobility limitations? Consider the physical surrounding of your location when choosing a location. How will the physical surroundings either enhance or add challenges to your study away experience?
- What are the program’s physical expectations? If you’re unable to participate in some activities, are there alternatives that you could do?
- Do you have a pre-existing condition that requires ongoing care? Would you be able to access care while abroad? How much would it cost? (PLU international health insurance only covers unexpected emergencies)
- Have you had any illnesses, injuries, or medical/mental health conditions within the past year for which you have received or are presently receiving professional medical treatment? If yes, how likely is it that this condition will continue or reappear? Can you access care for it while abroad?
- Do you have allergies? If so, how common is the substance you’re allergic to? Can you avoid it easily while abroad?
- Do you have dietary restrictions? Think about the local diet and how easily you can avoid certain foods.
- Consider medications that you take. Can you take them abroad? Can you get enough for your entire study away experience? Can you get access to the medications in-country? How much will it cost? Certain medications may not be legal or accessible in certain countries. (Visit https://www.cdc.gov/features/travel-medicine/index.html for more detials)
- What are your current self care strategies? Which locations would provide the best opportunities to continue with your current strategies and/or explore new strategies?
Visit the Study Away Identity Resource Page
Consider your different identities and how they may be perceived in the host community. How will you adapt to different perceptions of your identity?
How might your identities change when away?
What might your identities feel like during your day to day life?
Students of Color
- How might you be perceived in your host country? Will it be similar or very different from living at home?
- What would it feel like on a daily basis? How will you cope if you expect it to be more challenging than you’re accustomed to?
- Are there multicultural student support services available?
Gender & Sexual Orientation
- Consider your gender identity. How is it perceived at home? How might it be perceived in your host country?
- Will you make behavioral changes based on gender norms to integrate and/or stay safe?
- What would you like to learn about gender when you study away? What program would allow you to do that?
- Are there safety concerns for LGBTQ+ individuals in this country?
- Are there laws surrounding LGBTQ+ individuals in this country?
- Is there a supportive LGBTQ+ network in this country?
Students with Disabilities
- What are the physical environments like in your locations of interest?
- Do classes primarily utilize lectures, readings, independent research, etc?
- How are the assignments different?
- What housing options exist?
- Do you need to do your own cooking? Laundry?
- Is transportation available and accessible?
- How tolerant is the host country of other religions? What about atheists and agnostics?
- Is it safe for you to wear religious symbols or clothing?
- How might your religious identity be different or the same where you’re going?
- You may go from majority to minority, or vice versa. What would that be like? How might you adjust to a transition like this?
- Are there any requirements you must meet to maintain your status as a PLU athlete? Would study away interfere with that?
- Consider which term you participate in your sport. When would be the best time to study away?
- Can you participate in your sport while you study away?
- If you wish to continue training, what facilities do you need while away?
- What sort of visa will you need? How much does it cost? Do you need to go to your home country to apply for the visa?
- Do you have any requirements that would bar you from studying in another country?