Sunday, October 16, 2011

Directory of International Schools and Study Abroad Programs

The world is a very different place than it was only a decade ago, and as we continue to march towards full globalization, international schools—schools that offer courses different from the normal school curriculum of the host country—are becoming more and more common as an educational option. Also becoming increasingly popular are the many study abroad programs being offered throughout the world—opportunities for students to study for a semester or an academic year in a foreign country. While international schools and study abroad programs are not the same thing, recently many international schools have begun offering study abroad opportunities for students desiring to live and study abroad for a few months in another country. In fact, there are so many of these opportunities available that there now several websites that offer a directory of international schools and study abroad programs—catalogs listing each international school that is participating, with a full description of the study abroad program as well.

How to Use a Directory of International Schools and Study Abroad Programs

When using an online directory of international schools and study abroad programs, the main page, or home page, will usually include some general instructions on how to use the directory. Most directories will allow you to narrow your search using certain criteria, including searching by country, language spoken, type of study abroad program and duration of the program. For example, if you’re looking for a 4-week summer study abroad program in France, you would first search for French international schools, and then narrow those results down to the 4-week summer programs.

Once you’ve decided how you will begin your search, the second page will usually include a list of schools, with a brief description about the program. For example, if you searched for programs in China, one of these listings might say:

“Academy of Chinese Language and Culture - offers year round study abroad programs and learning immersion courses to foreigners interested in the Chinese language and culture.”

There will normally be many listings just like the one above, and although this description is admittedly very basic, once you click on the hyperlink (usually the name of the school), you will be taken to a page that offers a more complete program description, as well as information about the institution that is offering it. Some of the information this page will contain includes:

Location of the school and nearby places to visit
Program description, including dates and important program features
Candidacy requirements for the program (GPA requirement, etc.)
Program duration—semester, academic year, summer program
Daily schedule, including classroom and recreational hours
Program cost
Financial assistance and scholarship opportunities (most study abroad programs offer scholarship opportunities)
Living arrangements—on-campus housing, off campus housing, host families, etc.
How to apply, including application deadlines

The primary advantage to using a directory of international schools and study abroad programs is that once you reach the website you can usually locate all the program information and details about the school all in one place. This is also a great type of site to bookmark, as you may want to come back to it several times for reference purposes.

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