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The ABCs of Study Abroad

There's a lot of information out there about study abroad. Where should I go? Should I try to go with a friend? When's the right time to go? Your head is probably swimming with questions and what-ifs. Take the time to set aside your iPhone or Android, shut the door to your room, and read through the ABCs of study abroad. You'll see that if you approach your decision with the right mindset, you'll be well on your way to enjoying an experience that will shape the way you see the world – and live in it.

Accept that international education is no longer a nice to have. In today's increasingly connected and diverse workplace, global competence and awareness are a necessity. Once you decide to treat study abroad as an educational opportunity as well as one for personal growth, you're well on your way to the head of the class.

Become your own advocate. Don't fall victim to peer pressure and go where your friends are going. Education today is not one size fits all. There are many, unique choices out there, and it's up to you to do your homework and talk to the people who can help you choose the best possible program for your academic needs and goals.

Consider cost, culture, language and comfort level. Some international cities are more expensive to live in than others. Have you researched the culture you're interested in? Do you want to further your foreign language studies? Space is a luxury in many European cities. Could you handle living in a tiny apartment with roommates? These are questions you need to honestly ask yourself now.

Dial up someone who's been there. Talk to an admissions counselor who is knowledgeable about the options available to you personally. All of our CEA Admissions Counselors have studied abroad and been in your shoes. They're also well-traveled and very familiar with our programs, cities and what to ask students to help them find their ideal study abroad program.

Expect a foreign experience when you visit a foreign country. Duh, right? Yet, invariably, some students go abroad expecting someone to pick up after them, observe the same rules of politeness we do (did you know blowing your nose in public is considered taboo in some cultures?), and clearly labeled street signs (if there are any) in English. When you decide to study abroad, you should make a conscious effort to learn how they do things over there. Not the other way around.

Find us on Facebook. Learn even more about your host city by connecting with current students studying abroad and alumni, along with international faculty and staff.

Go. When else in life are you going to have an opportunity like this one? This may come as a shock to some of you, but life happens after college. Fast. One day you'll be tossing your graduation cap in the air, and the next day you'll be paying for a mortgage, daycare and more. Don't forget to take advantage of those moments to breathe in and truly enjoy a new experience, landscapes and people.

Who knows? You may discover you.

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