Early Planning for Off-Campus Study

Wondering when and how to start planning your study abroad experience? Check out this video by the Center for Global Engagement that highlights the importance of planning ahead and connecting with academic advisors.

A successful and fulfilling study abroad experience requires early planning. With over 300 programs in over 60 countries, there are lots of programs to explore, and planning early is key to finding the right one for you!

Department Cooperation- Regardless of your major, by working simultaneously with the Center for Global Engagement and your academic advisor, you will be able to find the optimal semester and location for you. The Center for Global Engagement will help you with the where, and your academic advisor can help you with the when. Together, they help you find the how.

Course fulfillment- Make the tricky scheduling of classes seamless by planning ahead early! Students on the pre-med track or majoring in engineering, education, or nursing should speak with their academic advisor or the head of their department as early as freshman year. This allows students to find the ideal semester to smoothly fit off-campus coursework into a four-year plan. Some classes are required to be taken on Hope’s campus, but if you plan ahead, you can schedule a semester that is available to take classes anywhere in the world.

Not sure what you are majoring in yet? No problem! There are lots of general education requirements that can be saved for and fulfilled during your semester abroad. If you have an inclination towards any majors, talking with the department head of that field of study would be a great place to start. They will know which classes to take abroad that have worked out well in the past.

Personal Experience- In Spring 2020, I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and planning helped me to get the most out of my abroad academic experience. I took 16 credits (credit equivalent to 4-5 Hope classes) and fulfilled 3 classes for my Spanish major, 2 general education requirements, 1 class for my sociology major, and 1 class for my ministry minor. By saving those classes for my semester abroad, I was able to get the most academic credit fulfillment. I am a huge fan of Excel, so I created a spreadsheet to organize my thoughts and classes, and to keep track of the advice I received. Planning also helped lower my stress. Especially now, with so many unknowns about the future, planning ahead can help create options and plans B, C, and D for the optimal semester and courses.

Peer Advisors- Peer advisors, like myself, are students who have studied abroad in past semesters and are here to help brainstorm goals and navigate the challenge of picking a program. There is always someone to talk to in the Off-Campus Study Library in MMC 109 from 10:30am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Please feel free to come ask us questions or to just think out loud! Stop in and say hello, or email us at offcampusstudy@hope.edu to start planning your off-campus study experience!

-Grace McConaghie, Off-Campus Study Peer Advisor

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