How to Choose a Study Abroad Program
1. Understand your needs and characteristics before choosing a program
2. Explore several options and compare program characteristics
3. Choose a program that fits your needs and characteristics
a) What type of courses do you need to take (major requirements, major electives, general education requirements or lower-division courses, electives)?
b) What academic topics do you need (and want) to study (only your major, or a mix of academic disciplines)?
c) Does your home institution approve experiential courses (ie, internships, field study, independent study, independent research, service-learning, touring)?
d) Can you take courses in another language / are you sufficiently fluent?
e) Do you have beginning or intermediate foreign language skills?
f) Does your home institution have requirements about the number of weeks and/or contact hours the courses must fulfill to transfer credit?
g) Would you feel comfortable living in a fast-paced, urban city where it is difficult to make friends and interact with locals living in a capital city?
h) Do you feel comfortable using public transportation (buses, taxis, trains)?
i) Would you prefer to live in a community where you can easily navigate your way, and meet local people?
j) Does the weather bother you? Have you experienced the type of climate common to the host country you are considering?
k) Are you a self-starter, outgoing, and self-motivated, experienced in exploring new/different situations?
l) Do you prefer functioning in a group with leaders and/or guides making decisions for you and being surrounded by others much like yourself?
m) Do you have any dietary, medical or mental health needs?
n) Do you want to become a "specialist" in one location (language and culture and history and current events) or do you want a comparative perspective of several different places and perspectives?
o) Have your friends or family ever called you "high maintenance"? Do you have a high level of attention to conveniences, personal appearance, the newest fads or specific activities?
p) Do you enjoy camping, hiking, backpacking, "roughing it"?
q) Do you have a good sense of how (and if) you will use alcohol in a mature setting? Have you ever been disruptive of others or put your well-being at risk with alcohol?
r) Have you ever traveled before? Outside the
s) How long have you ever been away from "home" before, away from family and friends?
t) What type of leisure activities do you enjoy? What do you do with your "free-time"?
Participate in a Shepherd program that is taught by a Shepherd
Department of English and Modern Languages
Each odd year during spring break travel with English professors in conjunction with ENGL 430: British
Literature and Prominence of Place. Past trips included Great Britain, Italy and Switzerland.
For details visit http://www.shepherd.edu/englweb/travel.htm .
Modern Languages: Spanish
Learn Spanish in Latin America for three weeks during this annual summer trip. Previous destinations
include Costa Rica, Peru, and Argentina.
Contact Dr. Denis Berenschot at email@example.com .
Modern Languages: French
Travel to Quebec, Canada or France to study French language and culture during the summer for
three weeks. Contact Dr. Rachel Ritterbusch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of History
HIST 175 First World War Practicum (Odd Years): Visit battlefields and other historical sites in Europe
as part of HIST 375. Contact Dr. Anders Henriksson at email@example.com .
HIST 318 United States in World War II (Even Years): Tour historic sites and battlefields in England,
France, Luxembourg, and Belgium during spring break. Contact Dr. Mark Snell at firstname.lastname@example.org .
HIST 360 and PSCI 499 Evolution of European Government and Society
Travel to several European countries for this three-week summer course to study the development of
European government and society from antiquity to the European Union. Earn three credits each for
History 360 and Political Science 499. Contact Dr. Sally Brasher at email@example.com.
Department of Art
Take part in the annual spring break trip and/ or the occasional three-week summer trip focused
on art. Participating art students may receive three credit hours by enrolling in ART 304. General studies
students may receive credit for ART 103. Visit European, Asian or African cities and sites.
Contact Professor Rhonda Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Department of Music
Travel and perform in several European countries in the summer (odd years). Contact Dr. Scott Beard at email@example.com
Department of Business Administration
Experience global markets in action during this annual spring break program to such destinations as China,
Japan, Russia, or Brazil. Contact Dr. Gordon DeMeritt at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Department of Education
Participate in a teacher practicum in a Jamaican school for 10 days every other year (even years).
Contact Dr. Virginia Hicks at email@example.com .
- Exchange Programs
The ISEP International Student Exchange Program offers affordable study abroad experiences around the world. The PROMISE scholarship can be used for ISEP programs. Shepherd accesses ISEP through WVU.
APPLICATION DEADLINES FOR ISEP: Fall programs - January 15; Spring programs - April 15
- Affiliate Programs
Location, geography, language, population, economic/industrial development, cost of living, food, health and safety conditions, climate, ease of transportation, etc.
Do you have beginner, intermediate, or advanced language skills in the host country primary language? What is the English language fluency of the local population?
- Community / City size
Cosmopolitan city, industrial city, suburban city, town, or rural community. Consider cost of living.
- Host institution
Enrollment size, percentage of local students and international students, urban campus or enclosed campus, facilities available, teaching style, language of instruction, grading/assessment style, academic options, academic rigor, distance from housing,
Options may include homestay, residence hall, apartment, house, or hotel, with all Americans, with local and/or international students.Will you share housing? Where will you eat meals? Consider distance to shopping, entertainment, school, and transportation options and costs.