College Talk: Taking Classes Abroad 101 – How and Why Should I Take Classes Abroad?

By FPL_Jenni

Taking classes and studying abroad is exactly what it sounds like: taking a semester (sometimes two!) in a country that is not in the United States. These programs are super popular among university students because it gives students the opportunity to gain a higher-quality education and experience immersion in a new culture. There are four main ways that students could access these study abroad programs: University-led programs, Third-Party Programs, Direct Enrollment, and through Unique Experiences. 


University-Led Programs are going to be the easiest and most straightforward program that a student wanting to get their degree within the United States is going to have. Universities often offer study-abroad programs to a wide variety of students; sometimes it is limited to students in a specific department (archeology or Spanish, for example). It is always important to check your department’s website to see what they offer! 


There are tons of third-party organizations that offer study-abroad programs for students, so if you have been interested in going to specific places, be sure to research them! Programs like IES Abroad, opens a new window, CIEE, opens a new windowCISabroad,, opens a new window and AIFS, opens a new window are just a couple of third-party study-abroad programs. Many of these programs offer scholarship opportunities and grants in order to make them more accessible as well. 


The last two ways of studying abroad include Direct Enrollment at a university in a foreign country. This option is one that requires a lot of planning and research as it is entirely on the student to figure out their financial and living situation since they are getting their entire degree at that university (think out-of-state, but more like out-of-country). Lastly, students can intern, work, or research abroad in order to gain the “abroad experience”. These are normally done through third-party programs and often do not count as credit towards a student’s degree (but one could always argue with their registrar’s office in order to make it count!). 


There you have it! Four different ways to study abroad and gain that experience! Studying abroad can be challenging for many, especially if you do not know the language, but it opens up so many opportunities and gives you experiences that you would not be able to attain otherwise. Even if studying abroad sets you back a semester, it might be entirely worth is in order to expand your horizons! Good luck!