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Choosing a Program

choosing a programIdentifying your goals can help you choose a program that fits your needs.  It is important to reflect on what you hope to get our of your program and consider the following factors:

Budget - It is important to create a budget and talk with advisors to accurately estimate how much a program will cost and determine what is feasible for you financially.  You can meet with a financial aid advisor to discuss what aid will be available to you.  Be aware that semester-length programs are almost always more cost-effective than summer or break programs, because you aren't adding the cost of an additional term to what you're already paying at VCU - you're just replacing the cost of a semester at VCU with a semester abroad!

City Size - Do you prefer a small town or are you interested in experiencing a large city?

Cost of Living - The cost of living can vary greatly from city to city.  When calculating your budget, it is important to factor this in.  To use the United Kingdom as an example, a program in London may be comparable in-tuition but the cost of living will be higher; more off-the-beaten-track locations, such a Plymouth or Ulster, are more affordable.  

Housing - Would you like to participate in a homestay, live independently, or in a student residence hall?

Language - Are you interested in taking courses in a foreign language, English, or both?  English courses are often available in countries where English is not the official language.

Length - How long would you like to go abroad?  Program lengths can vary from a spring break, summer, semester, or year.  It can be intimidating to go abroad for a semester or year - but students' #1 regret from studying abroad is that they didn't go for longer!

Location - What country or region are you interested in, and is there a program there that fits your needs?

Program type - There are many ways to go abroad at VCU, allowing you to choose the best fit for you: direct-enroll, faculty-led, or program provider.  Some programs will offer a highly supportive environment with pre-planned weekend excursions and a lot of structure; others will be more hands-off, giving you the opportunity to experience life just like a college student in your host university.