Whether you are traveling the world to a remote island, or heading over to the nearest town, studying abroad can be a big adventure. One of the biggest tasks you need to accomplish before your semester abroad will surely be to choose the adequate university that will host you – let’s not forget getting accepted by it. Thousands of students hop around campuses every semester so it makes sense to polish up your resume before starting to send out the letters (or emails – it is 2018 after all). There are a few methods that help with this process:
- The „Tinder Method“: applying to every university out there that vaguely looks attractive and hope that one replies back
- The „Bar Method“: taking a good look at your options and then specifically asking a university out … erm I mean apply to it
- The „Wingman Method“: using an international network program that helps to increase your chances for your dream university
If you are the third type of person, then here are the three options for you to chose your perfect wingman:
One of the easiest ways to find the best options for studying abroad is stopping by your local study abroad office. Almost every university has a department or at least an individual who is well versed with the institutions that your campus partners with. You can recognize your study abroad officer by their constant companion: coffee. These amazing individuals have the digits for the offices in other locations and can usually get you into a program with one call and an email. Partner universities are the MVPs amongst the study abroad options as they are more than willing to take students in and have a lot of experience with similar cases.
Should your university not have a direct contact to other universities or no interesting options, then don’t worry! International student networks are highly popular and can get you a foot in the door even at Harvard University (depending on your grades though ;) ). One of the most popular networks to date is Erasmus+ which offers destinations all around the world. To check if your university is part of this international network visit their website or ask the before mentioned study abroad office. Similar smaller networks are for example CENTRAL, INU and ACU who all serve different areas around the globe. While the application process for studying abroad through an international network are still rough, the benefits outweigh the hassles. Usually, these networks provide students with reduced study abroad costs, room and board and even a certain amount of pocket money – sounds pretty sweet huh?
Last but not least is probably the most comfortable solution to study abroad: international campuses. Some universities are adamant about the concept of global citizenship and realize that the age in which university students are at is the best time in someone’s life to travel the world. So why not extend campuses across the globe? Students then have the chance to just „campus-hop“ without a worrying about transfer credits, applying for a new program, the language of instruction or accreditation. This option sounds so obvious that people sometimes simply forget about it. Some universities even extend their own international campus network to other institutions that make it simple to attend. Kind of a perfect blend between Partner Universities and International Networks – cue Hannah Montana’s „best of both worlds“ here ;).
My own university, for example, offers the WINS program next to their other campuses. These Webster International Network Schools are all over the United States and offer the same courses as my own campus – so no loss of credits or time. A WIN WINS situations as to say (I minor in terrible puns). Plus, the campuses are GORGEOUS – I’ve took a look at St. Louis University and my jaw dropped.
Of course it is totally up to you, which level of difficulty you want to choose for your very own time abroad. I myself once started randomly applying to universities from Canada, over Kazakhstan even New Zealand and Tunisia. And let me tell you, you might end up discovering some hidden gems that you would have never thought about applying to.