Making the most of your summer overseas involves a balance of spontaneity and planning. Study abroad programs should focus on the synergy between learning and adventure. There are many reasons to plan your summer abroad in advance, but the key is making the most of your time while you are travelling.
In this article, we discuss why it is important to plan your trip and provide some helpful ways to optimize your experience.
Planning Your Study-Abroad Program
It’s paramount to find an overseas study program that is compatible with your goals. Whether you’re from Ontario or any other part of the world, planning your study abroad program starts with identifying a company that offers both study and travel. An ideal study abroad curriculum involves cultural, academic, and interpersonal experiences curated to the participants. To reap these benefits, planning ahead with these main focuses is key:
Know Your Intentions
Understanding what you stand to gain from the experience helps you focus your intentions and direct your summer abroad. Do you want to use this experience to prepare for your university courses? Is your plan to expand linguistic skills or gain cultural knowledge? Priorities will differ based on whether you are in secondary or post-secondary school.
Choose a path that is most compatible with your goals, whether that’s landing the perfect internship in Ontario or anywhere else or giving your university application a special edge. Depending on how you plan to approach your future, you can use the experience to make your resume more unique or set yourself apart for award applications. By arranging things ahead of time, you can find a study abroad program that fits with your goals, whether they lead to the sciences, humanities, or international affairs.
Plan Your Finances
A summer abroad is accessible to most—with the proper financial planning. Travelling overseas has a lot of value (and that comes with a price tag). You can mitigate these expenses by pursuing academic awards and competitions. The key is to apply to everything for which you could qualify, including programs through universities and local organizations.
Scheduling your trip ahead of time gives you ample opportunities to seek out scholarships and bursaries. The year before you plan to travel, identify the opportunities available to you. Track those deadlines and submit customized applications to each of them. If you plan ahead, you can ensure that you are in a good financial position to complete your summer abroad.
Arrange Your Classes
Study abroad programs can offer high school credit for those attending between grades 9 and 12. Similarly, the university prep summer abroad programs coordinate with different academic institutions to offer credit. By arranging your high school or university course load ahead of time, you can use your summer abroad towards your overall academic goals.
If you plan on pursuing geology, for example, then going canyoning in Costa Rica fits well, while an anthropology student may gain more from travel to Rome. Each summer program has a different set of included and optional excursions, each offering a unique experience that can work in synergy with your academic plans. By planning ahead of time, your courses at home can match your classes abroad.
Improve Your Resume
A compelling resume tells a story—and your study abroad program should complement the overall narrative. Worldly experience adds a lot of value to any resume, thus helping you to stand out from other candidates. Typically, participants gain language and communication skills, along with the ability to function independently. Being able to responsibly complete a study abroad summer program tells universities and employers that you are capable.
There are many courses of study, possible excursions, and potential destinations. By planning your trip ahead of time, you can consciously choose which destination and program suit you best. Upon your return, in addition to plenty of wonderful memories and invaluable experience, you’ll have a resume that aligns with your life goals.
Immersion in overseas culture offers a whole host of experiential learning benefits, many of which are best absorbed if you have a grasp of the language. Planning your trip lets you balance discovery with knowledge. If you’re fluent in French, for instance, you may understand more and be better able to converse in France. This can help you gain a deeper appreciation of the culture and solidify your language abilities.
By planning ahead, even if you don’t have the skills at the time of booking, you have several opportunities to learn them. Whether you plan to go to Portugal and Spain or travel to Italy, prepping with a phrasebook (and maybe some language classes) can truly optimize your experience. When you train in the language ahead of time, then interact with it overseas, you are much more likely to hold onto those linguistic abilities.
Preparing for the Unknown
When you plan ahead, you can avoid unforeseen complications. Cancellation insurance isn’t mandatory, but it has many benefits. The pandemic starting in 2020 called attention to the importance of planning ahead. By opting for a study abroad program that has a flexible cancellation policy, you can avoid the risk of grounded planes or international travel bans.
Other benefits of preparing for the unknown are learning essential phrases, memorizing important phone numbers, and knowing the rules and regulations of the destination country. Study abroad programs have supervision, though it is prudent to plan ahead so you can safely embrace the independent side of the experience.
Final Thoughts: Study and Travel
The opportunity to see the world while studying has unparalleled benefits. Not only does it integrate learning information with tangible reality, but it offers insight into other cultures. Program availability ranges from grade 9 to university prep, each with a unique set of chances to explore and learn. Planning your travel ahead of time helps ensure that you gain the most benefit from the trip, both during your journey and long into the future.
For more information about study abroad opportunities and Ontario travel education in general, call Global Summers Academy at 1-844-357-2621 or send us a message here. Happy travels!