Studying abroad is the act of a student pursuing educational opportunities in a foreign country. Typically classes taken while studying abroad award credits transferable to higher education institutions in the home country; however, students may pursue these opportunities at any age and may not require college credit.
Students studying abroad may live in a dormitory or apartment with other students or with a host family, a group of people who live in that country and agree to provide student lodging. Length of study can range from one week, usually during a domestic break, to an academic year. Topics of study can vary.
Some students choose to study abroad in order to learn a language from native speakers. Others may take classes in their academic major in a place that allows them to expand their hands on experience (e.g. someone who studying marine biology studying abroad in Jamaica or a student of sustainable development living and studying in a remote village in Senegal).
Still other students may study abroad in order to explore topics within the framework of a different educational system (e.g. a student of English who goes to the United States to study American literature). In the USA, the act of studying abroad originated at the University of Delaware. In 1923, Professor Raymond W. Kirkbride sent a group of eight students to Paris, France.
At the time, the concept of students studying in a different country was incredibly unconventional. Kirkbride's program was originally named the Foreign Study Plan. For a period of time, study abroad was seen as an option primarily for foreign language students. Recently this has changed, and the scope of study abroad programs has increased greatly.
Federal law also states that financial aid can cover all reasonable costs for a study abroad program, including: Round trip transportation for the approved program, Tuition and fees for the program, Living costs incurred during the program, Passport and visa fees, Health insurance etc
Amendments made in 1992 to the Higher Education Act of 1965, TITLE VI, SEC. 601-604 in the U.S. ruled that students can receive financial aid for study abroad if they are enrolled in a program that is approved by their home institution and would be eligible to receive government funding without regard to whether the study abroad program is required as a part of the student's degree.
One of the most common reasons students study abroad is language immersion. Students wanting to learn a language will go to school in a country where that language is spoken, the theory being that immersion into an environment where a particular language is spoken is the best way to learn the language.
However, this theory is disputed as result of various surveys. Indeed, many schools require that students majoring in a foreign language study abroad. However, this is more often done through an exchange program (see below). It could be as simple as students choosing to study abroad due to a feeling of wanderlust. For many, college is the ideal time to travel, because they do not have full adult responsibilities yet, and they can take advantage of the option of studying in a different country.
In this sense, many see one's early twenties as formative years in one's life, and being immersed in the unfamiliar society and culture of another country can prove rewarding to young adults. Many students study abroad in an effort to expand their opportunities beyond those their home university offers. Strategically, study abroad offers many exciting benefits from high school students hoping to get into a prestigious university, to college learners pursuing reputable post graduate schools or professions.
It may lead to scholarships, grants, and job opportunities to leading institutions or employment. Recent survey's in the Nordic countries did however show that studying abroad can heavily damage the career in the years afterward because a stay in foreign countries often result in exams that are rendered unusable in the supervior education systems in these countries.