How To Decide Where To Study Abroad

How-To-Decide-Where-To-Study-Abroad

Juan SalmoralJesus SánchezFrank Kehren

You hear the term ‘make or break’ thrown around a lot. I won’t go as far as to say that a good relationship will either make or break your study abroad experience. But what I will say, is that a solid relationship with your advisor will open up little doors that you otherwise may not have known about. They’ll go the extra mile for you.

We talk about this in Study Abroad 201. Your advisors deal with multiple students who are trying to travel all over the world on a daily basis. Here is an example:

I first met with my advisor after the spring semester of my junior year. I had no clue what to expect when I went and I’ll admit it, I came out a little overwhelmed. My first task was to decide where I wanted to go. We had decided that it would be best to go the spring semester of my senior year so I could stay a little longer into the summer.

So the research began. Again, we reference this in other parts of the blog, but doing research for studying abroad is like shopping for something on Ebay, you really don’t mind doing it, and it is fascinating. I narrowed my choices down to three cities: Dublin, Dubai, and Buenos Aires, and planned another meeting with my advisor so he could help me make a decision.

Here was the logic behind each choice:

Dublin

Studying abroad anywhere in Europe is exciting because you get to experience so many different countries and cultures while you’re over there. The reason I considered Dublin is because my school had an exchange program set up with the top business school in Ireland at the time. My major was management, and minor was marketing, so it seemed like a good idea.

Dubai

I have been infatuated with Dubai ever since I read Rigged by Ben Mezrich. The fastest growing desert city on the planet, Dubai was nothing but sand 40 years ago. I was so bull on the city I even gave speeches on it in school, even though I have never been. I thought Dubai would be a unique choice and something that would distinguish me from other study abroad students.

Buenos Aires

I had read about the favorable exchange rate in Buenos Aires, which made it appealing. What happened was in 2001 the IMF (International Monetary Fund) stopped $1.3 billion in aid so a lot of the banks shut down. A year later, Argentina defaulted on an $800 million debt repayment to the World Bank. The result? Buenos Aires went from the most expensive city in South America to arguably the least. This meant luxurious restaurants, entertainment, and night life that was available for about 1/3 of what it cost anywhere else in the world.

What happened? I chose Buenos Aires. Here’s why:

Dublin would have been too expensive, and too regimented in my opinion. If you look at the graph we have on the homepage, going through a 3rd party program is exactly what I would have had to do. I could have gone for a summer, but no way, I wanted to go for an entire semester. Here is what I missed out on:

‣ The opportunity to hop on a bullet train and explore the rest of Europe
‣ Access to one of the top business schools and faculty in the world
‣ St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, I would have been in Dublin for St. Patrick’s day had I chosen Ireland.

Dubai would have been amazing, but after doing the research, the school did not have enough infrastructure at the time. This was when I was in school. Studying abroad in Dubai wasn’t as practical and the schools weren’t equipped to handle the students. I checked, and now they’re pretty well stacked. If I were you I’d definitely consider studying abroad in Dubai. Read Rigged, and tell me that’s not a good idea now. Here is what I missed:

‣ Ski Dubai which is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters of indoor ski area
‣ The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the most luxurious hotel in the world
‣ Drag racing Ferraris and Lamborghinis in the desert (read Rigged)

So why Buenos Aires? Honestly, a friend of mine studied abroad there the semester before, and said he had a ball. So that is why I chose Buenos Aires. My experiences in South America were phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.

Now, on to you, the eager young mind of tomorrow. Do you honestly want to know where I think is the best place for you to study abroad?

Anywhere. Anywhere on the planet. You’re never going to be able to have an experience like this again. So do the research, ask your friends and family, and make a decision that you think best suits your passion, major, and wallet.

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