How to Choose a Study Abroad Program
1. Understand your needs and characteristics before choosing a program.
2. Explore several options and compare programs.
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) Can you take courses in another language / are you sufficiently fluent?
d) 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?
e) Do you feel comfortable using public transportation (buses, taxis, trains)?
f) Would you prefer to live in a community where you can easily navigate your way, and meet local people?
g) Does the weather bother you? Have you experienced the type of climate common to the host country you are considering?
h) Are you a self-starter, outgoing, and self-motivated, experienced in exploring new/different situations?
i) Do you prefer functioning in a group with leaders and/or guides making decisions for you and being surrounded by others much like yourself?
j) Do you have any dietary, medical or mental health needs?
k) 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?
l) 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?
m) Do you enjoy camping, hiking, backpacking, "roughing it"?
n) 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?
o) Have you ever traveled before? Outside the
p) How long have you ever been away from "home" before, away from family and friends?
q) 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
- 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's 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, 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 make and/or eat meals at your residence? Consider distance to shopping, entertainment, school, and transportation options and costs.