Life goals and aspirations. What do you personally want to get out of your study abroad experience? Do you want to incorporate service or experiential learning? Internships or work? Fluency in another language? Field research?
Duration and term. Programs can be short-term (a few weeks), a quarter, a semester, or a year. Academic calendars vary greatly around the world—what time of year will you go?
Eligibility. Do you meet the program’s pre-requisites? Programs may specify that applicants must have a certain minimum GPA, have a specific major, or have already completed specific coursework. Programs’ prerequisites are listed in the “Eligibility” section of the DU Program Summary.
Environment. Do you prefer a big or small city, or perhaps something off the beaten path? What hobbies or activities would you pursue overseas? Do you prefer a traditional study abroad location, or something more exotic?
Level of immersion. Do you want to be in a classroom with other Americans, other international students, or local students? Are there language requirements for the program? Do you want to live in an apartment, on-campus housing, or with a host family?
Level of support. Will you enroll directly in a foreign institution (and be mostly on your own), or would you prefer to go through a service-oriented program that will assist you the whole time? Can the program accommodate any special needs you may have?
Health and safety. If you have any specific medical needs during your time abroad, does the program location offer all of the services that you may need?
Living expenses. What will the cost of everyday living be in your host city? Make sure you understand what is and is not included in your program (Internet? Local transportation? Meals; if so, how many? Gym membership?) – additional items can add up!
Structure and flexibility. Some programs are very organized and regimented (you know exactly what classes you’ll take before you go, you’ll know where you’ll be living months in advance, etc.), while other programs require much more flexibility and the ability to adjust. What type of program will you be comfortable with? Here are some general structural models for study abroad:
- Direct Enrollment Programs offer the opportunity to enroll in regular host university courses alongside degree-seeking local students. Classes are typically taught in the host country language, and require a high level of proficiency in the host country language. In general, you should anticipate a more independent experience when directly enrolling in a university abroad. You will work directly with your host university's international office rather than a program provider. While lists of specific classes may or may not be available prior to departure, these programs typically offer a wide variety of courses.
- Our exchange programs usually fall into the direct enrollment category. Exchange programs are ones in which partner institutions send and receive equal numbers of students. Students pay their home university tuition and most fees. The funds paid by the outgoing student are used to pay for the tuition and some fees of the incoming student. International students interested in studying at DU through an exchange program should apply through their home university international office. Independent applications are not accepted; exchange students must fall under an existing agreement with a partner institution or consortium.
- DU Faculty-Led Programs are exclusively for DU students (usually fewer than 20), led by a DU professor teaching a DU class or classes. Other courses may be taught by local faculty, but students take most or all classes with DU students.
- Integrated University Study Programs are typically facilitated by a study abroad provider. Most of the courses on these types of programs are taken alongside degree-seeking students at the host institution, but students may be required to take a language or other course designed for foreign students.
- Study Abroad Center Programs are those offering special classes for foreign students. These programs may be based at a host country university or at an independent study center. Your classmates will be U.S. and possibly other international students rather than degree-seeking host country students. Classes are typically taught by faculty from the host university/country. The language of instruction may be English, the host language, or a combination of both. A list of classes is typically available months in advance.