Santa Clara University

Study Abroad

Self-Assessment Guide to Planning a Successful Global Educational Experience

 

It has been a long held conviction in higher education that contact with other cultures and nations held inherent value. From the Grand Tour to the Junior Year Abroad, scholars agreed that getting to know other people would promote understanding, knowledge, and a peaceful world. With this idealism as a starting point,  Santa Clara has added more overseas opportunities assuming that more was better and that good things were bound to happen for the student and society even in programs that were only generally linked to a student’s specific academic goals. With approximately 600 students going overseas each year it is safe to say that “we have built it and they have come.” The crucial question for students and faculty now is “where do we go from here?”

The simple answer is--going abroad is not enough! Studying abroad is a big decision that requires careful assessment of your readiness academically, financially, emotionally, linguistically, and maturity. Preparation for this life-changing academic pursuit is YOUR responsibility with the help of your academic adviser and the approval of the Director of Study Abroad, Barbara Colyar. The International Programs Office encourages you to take advantage of one-on-one advising appointments with the staff, informal talk with Peer Advisers and the International Ambassadors, participate in the various events & workshops throughout the year. The Self-Assessment questions below are meant to alert you to a variety of things you need to think about before petitioning to study abroad.


Personal Goals

  1. Why do I want to study abroad?
  2. What personal, academic, and career goals do I hope to fulfill on a study abroad program?
  3. What cultural experience do I want to have overseas?
  4. Are there countries that seem to draw my attention, but am too afraid to visit?

Academic Preparedness 

  1. How will study abroad program complement my academic goals?
  2. Do I want to take courses abroad that fulfill my major, minor, or core requirements?
  3. Do I have elective credits at my disposal?
  4. Have I discussed with my academic adviser how study abroad can fit into my academic plans at SCU?
  5. Do I or will I meet the minimum GPA requirements to study abroad?
  6. What courses (cultural, language, etc) should I take at Santa  Clara or abroad to make my cultural experience all the more enjoyable and meaningful?
  7. Do I have the language  proficiency to take courses abroad in the vernacular or in English? Should I fulfill my SCU language requirements here or abroad?
  8. Am I in good standing (academically, disciplinary, and financially) at the University? Will I have achieved Junior status (88 units) before my program starts and declared major before petitioning to study abroad?
  9. If so, will I be able to maintain that to maintain my study abroad eligibility?
  10. If not, what am I doing to be in good standing with the university?

Cultural Immersion

  1. How familiar am I with my own cultural heritage?
  2. What degree of cultural immersion am I ready for?
  3. Do I have the language skills and openness to learn from a different culture?
  4. Do I want to attend classes with students from the host country, or with other Americans?
  5. Do I want the classes to be on the American model, or another model (which may involve more independent work)?
  6. Do I want to live with a family or students from the host country, or would I prefer living with American students?
  7. Am I prepared to deal with the frustrations and disappointments associated with bureaucratic red  tapes, gender discrimination, and racial comments against citizens of the United States or whatever country of which I am a citizen)?


Financial Planning

  1. How much money can I or my family afford to spend? 
  2. Do I have any financial aid that I can use towards study abroad tuition and housing?
  3. Do I know my financial aid options?
  4. Have I reviewed the Cost & Aid page on the Study Abroad website to determine if I can afford  the cost of studying abroad?

Health & Safety


  1. Do I have special needs (physically, mentally, academically, learning disabled) for which or will I need other accommodations while abroad?
  2. Am I being honest about my medical conditions which may affect my ability to experience the program fully or may be risky to myself and others?
  3. Have I discussed with my  family that studying in a foreign culture comes with some sense of responsibility on my part to be safe?
  4. Do I have prescription drugs that may not be readily available in a foreign country for which I may need to take with me?
  5. Am I aware of the fact that breaking the law in a foreign country can lead to imprisonment?

 

Also see, “Why Study Abroad?”

 
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