office of international programs
Going abroad is a big change from life at Boston College. Students learn new things about the world and about themselves by studying, volunteering, conducting research, and/or interning in another country. Many students say going abroad was one of their defining experiences at Boston College. Before you choose a program, there are many considerations, and the Office of International Programs encourages you to think deliberately and intentionally regarding your abroad choice.
While the OIP is here to help, please keep in mind that the abroad process is ultimately your responsibility -- it is up to you to research program choices, turn in study abroad materials on time, keep in contact with OIP, and make your experience meaningful. What you get out of your time abroad depends on what you put into it. This is YOUR experience, not your friend’s, roommate’s, parent’s, sibling’s or anyone else's.
Choose where you want to spend an academic year/semester or summer and choose for the reasons that make the most sense for you. You should weigh the pros and cons of each location. For example, if you do not like living in a big city, consider locations that may not be quite as big. If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture, choose a location that has fewer BC students.
Keep in mind that academics are a critical component of your experience abroad, and it is important that you choose a school that will best complement your coursework at BC. Pay attention to what departments are open to you, what differences there may be in classroom style, and if the subject matter at the school is of interest to you. Learn about the different academic cultures abroad. Most institutions abroad operate very differently from BC or other US colleges and universities.
You may feel more comfortable sticking close to other students from BC or other US college students that you meet on your program. However, going abroad is about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Meeting students from other cultures is part of the unique experience of spending time in another country!
It is easy to catch the travel bug and spend every weekend in a different place, but remember: you are choosing to live in a new city for a reason. Traveling is only a small part of your time abroad. Take time to explore the local areas: get to know the neighborhoods, the food, the people, and the rest of your host country. Anyone can be a tourist and travel to dozens of cities, but very few have an opportunity to live in a different country for an extended period of time.
Also, traveling to different places every weekend takes time, energy and money. How much will you get to see in 36 hours? As you select a program, we recommend that you focus less on whether it is a convenient place for traveling to other locations, and instead make sure it is a place where you will truly enjoy living and immersing yourself in the local culture.
With all of this in mind, the prospect of going abroad can make you feel both excited and anxious. Selecting a program may seem daunting. However, you should not be too concerned with choosing the one “right” program, as there are a variety of options that will fit your academic goals, personal needs, and interests. All BC and external programs have their merits. Instead, you can begin by determining your goals for going abroad and we at OIP can help you find a program that will help you achieve them.
The next step is to take a look at 'Questions to Ask Yourself'