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How Do I Choose My Study Abroad Program?

It is important to do some upfront thinking about your personal, academic and professional goals while planning a semester or a year abroad. You might start by asking, why do you want to study abroad? Do you want to enhance your language skills or improve your intercultural communications skills? Are you interested in exploring a different pedagogical system to foster your intellectual growth? Do you want to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar culture to gain perspective in a world that is becoming more connected economically, politically, and socially? 

In choosing a location to study, you should consider whether you want to be in a dense urban area or another type of environment. While cities like Rome and London have a broad appeal for many students, sometimes choosing a less obvious education abroad destination will lead you to a different kind of experience. Large cities can offer many exciting cultural opportunities but they may also be more expensive and impersonal. A smaller urban center or rural location may offer more contact with local residents and the opportunity to experience a way of life found only in that particular country. While fewer than ten percent of U.S. students go abroad to Asian, African, or Latin American countries, an increasing number of Vassar students elect to study in these locations. Vassar has an extensive list of approved programs around the globe.

Vassar offers a number of its own education abroad programs that we encourage you to consider, in addition to over one hundred other approved programs. Please navigate to our Global Learning Portal in order to research the many program opportunities. On that site, you may browse the list of all programs, or search for programs by location, area of study, term and more. Once you have determined the program that is the best fit for your learning goals, you will apply for permission for study abroad via the page of that program.

Interested students should attend one of the General Information Sessions held in September to learn about the procedures and application for permission to study abroad. The office also organizes an Education Abroad Fair that takes place in the fall semester before the break that gives students an opportunity to engage with representatives from over 20 frequently used program providers. Additional program information sessions take place throughout the semester and are announced on our website.