Study abroad can be difficult for majors that do not have obvious international components, however there are number of ways to incorporate study abroad into even the most challenging major.
Planning ahead is a great tool to help students capitalize on study abroad opportunities. Speak with your home institution's study abroad office to discuss your options as early as possible, and speak with an academic counselor to understand which semesters or classes you can complete at a foreign institution. Remember that different programs offer different coursework and topics. Study abroad can be done through your university, but it can also be done through an external organization, or independently.
Choose Short-Term Programs
If your major is coursework heavy, like pre-med fields such as Biology for example, you may want to consider doing study abroad during summer, winter, or spring break. If you have little time to study abroad because your major requires you to take specific classes in the Fall and Spring, this is a great alternative! Summer programs are a great option for students who cannot afford to take time off, and for students with major-specific classes, uncommon in foreign institutions.
Consider a Gap Year
For high school seniors, taking a gap year before starting college can give you time, flexibility, and additional experience. For college students, taking time off during your college career can offer similar advantages. Time spent studying abroad offers benefits and life experience that can not be gained in a classroom setting. More and more, colleges, jobs, and professional employers are looking for the type of life experience and skills provided by study abroad. Traditional educational paths work well for some, but don't be afraid to take a risk and be different!
Do Research Abroad
International research is another great way to add study abroad to unconventional or challenging majors. Students can conduct specific research abroad that aligns with their field of study, and write grants to fund their research. Conducting research on a specific topic that aligns with your major can make study abroad a highly relevant, unique experience.
Take Relevant Courses Abroad
Topic specific programs can be found for just about any type of major. STEM majors often worry that they will not be able to pursue study in their major abroad, but this is false! Study abroad programs offer diversity not only in their length of duration, but in the projects and focuses of the program.
Learn a Foreign Language
Most colleges require two years of language study no matter the major, so use study abroad as a way to fulfill your language requirements in an immersive environment.
Study abroad is an educational, fun, and skill developing experience that can be incorporated into even the most challenging major. If you were unsure if you could study abroad with your major, I hope these comprehensive tips help you begin planning an adventure of a lifetime!