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Has Anybody Gone On A Study Abroad Program?  
User currently offlineGOwithCO332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2449 times:

I am probably going to live in another country when I grow up but I would love to study abroad in high school. I have studied abroad for a summer in Argentina and it was the best experience of my life, but my school denied my semester study abroad program request to Spain. They say I have to wait to next year but it will be very hard to do it then. Do any of you have an experience like mine and have tricks of the trade to convince the school to allow me to go this year?

Also, if you can share your experiences, I would love that. If you have any suggestions or feedback on what you thought, please express! Also, could you state if your program was during college or high school? Gracias!

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSmithAir747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1751 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2433 times:

I studied in London for 3 years. However, it was not a "study abroad" program as you would think of it; I actually applied to King's College London through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), the UK university application portal for all the major universities there. I found it through my own searching of the Web and the literature, not through an American university.

At King's College London, I studied biomedical sciences (concentrating on craniofacial embryology) for 3 years (2004-2007). The first 2 years were like the first 2 years of medical school in America--lots of anatomy and basic science modules (in the UK, individual courses are called modules) as well as seminars and tutorials. I had 2 anatomy courses, one for the body below the head and the other for the head and neck; both involved dissection of cadavers. I really loved it! In fact, I kept a sketchbook of my drawings from the cadavers I was dissecting--and my professors at King's asked for copies of them for their own use in teaching!

But the best of it came for me in the summer of my 2nd year and my whole 3rd year. That's when I started doing actual laboratory research on mouse and chick embryos, studying craniofacial development under certain condition--doing embryo whole-mount in situ hybridisation (using an RNA probe to locate where a gene is expressed in an embryo; it shows up as a neat color reaction in that area) as well as other techniques involving embryos and DNA. My summer 2006 project netted a paper, which I published in a journal soon after. My spring 2007 project was my thesis.

Then in 2007 I applied in the UK and USA for PhD programmes in craniofacial development, and got accepted by both UCSF and USC; I chose to go to UCSF--where I've been since 2007.

I went into this field because of my own experiences with Treacher Collins syndrome.

Besides my academics at King's College London, I was involved in art and music there. I played the piano in the GKT Music Society; I played in some of their concerts--and I did a lot of solo piano performances in the Guy's Hospital chapel, as well as at Southwark Cathedral and other places.

In London I took up violin--after finding a green violin in Hobgoblin Music Shop. I still use this emerald green violin to this day! (I'm self-taught.)

Outside of school, I met many wonderful people in London--many of them ladies!  Wink These ladies took me under their wing, like mothers.

I also enjoyed "antiquing" along Portobello Road, where I found many Soviet items and several antique medical instruments (and glass syringes) for my collection.

I spent many a Saturday at LHR, spotting and photographing 747s, 777s, and Russian planes, and even the first A380 landing at LHR.

It was hard to leave London at the end of my 3rd year (I came back home in June 2007, in order to move to San Francisco to start at UCSF). I left behind a large "family" of people who had come to know and love me. My church even held a "requiem" service for me...

I left a bit of my heart in London, it could be said! I so badly want to go back there just to visit my old friends and catch them up on how I'm doing here. Who knows, maybe there might be an opportunity to continue my craniofacial research there someday--if so, I'd love to go back to King's College London if the opportunity ever arises again!


I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
User currently offlineGOwithCO332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2422 times:

Wow so you actually went to college in the UK! I would like to look at colleges outside the United States but the college department in my school seems to think that colleges do not exist outside the United States, even though I know so many other westernized countries are just trailing our education system by so much!

But, it sounds like you had a really good time. Living must have been expensive though... I have been to London and I do love it, however I always tell people who ask that I would much rather live there than visit there. I think it is such a living city and although it is nice to visit, there are better places in Europe. However it is a spectacular city and I love some of the suburbs too.

User currently offlineAdam T. From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 957 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2396 times:

I studied abroad for a semester in Wellington, New Zealand in 2005 through an organization called Australearn which specalizes in study abroad programs in Australia and New Zealand. It was a really great experience and I highly recommend studying abroad! I did this when I was a Junior in my undergrad.

I also did a summer study abroad tour of France, Germany, and Austria when last year during the end of my senior year in undergrad.

Really there are so many programs out there, from organizations and also through respective universities and even in your local community. I'm not too familiar on high school programs but I do know they are out there, you just have to search for them. High school requirements usually are much more strict because of No Child Left Behind but in college you have more flexibility which is why study abroad is so popular at the undergraduate level.

Where in particular are you thinking of studying in? That can narrow it down and you can find organizations that focus on that particular area. That's what I did when I went to New Zealand.

Also, when you say college department at your school, I assume you mean Guidance Office. I had the same problem and thought of applying to schools outside of the USA and they would just glaze over the issue. My advice is to just take the initiative yourself and if you choose to apply to a school outside of the country just stand up for your decision, it's not like they can say no. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.


User currently offlineCgnnrw From Germany, joined May 2005, 1206 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2356 times:

I did a summer program in high school and spent a year at the University Vienna in Austria. It was the best thing I have ever done!

Try the foreign language dept or the political science dept at your university. A lot times there are posters from other universities' study abroad programms.

If there really isn't anything on offer ask friends at other colleges about programs abroad. Usaully they'll accept you even if you're not studying there. Then check with your university if they will accept the credits.

Good luck and don't give up, where there's a will there's a way.

A330 man.
User currently offlineFlpuck6 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2123 posts, RR: 27
Reply 5, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2354 times:


I did my junior year of college in Toulouse, France.

Best 9 months of my life.

Bonjour Chef!
User currently offlinePDXtriple7 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 695 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2338 times:

In high school, I spent three weeks living with a host family and studying Spanish in both Tarragona, Spain and Heredia, Costa Rica my rising junior and senior year summers. My Spanish improved immensely, and I had a great time in both countries. I recommend living with a host family if you want to improve your language skills, since you are forced to rely on what you know to have conversations about anything from what you like to do to politics. Both programs were through International Summerstays, based in Portland, OR. I think they may have changed names. The actual programs were International House in Spain and COSI (Costa Rica Spanish Institute).

After my freshman year of college, I spent two sessions (six weeks) studying at the London School of Economics. I absolutely loved my classes on international relations with students from all over the world. Plus, living in London makes every day a unique and exciting experience.

Tomorrow, I'm leaving for Madrid, Spain to spend the next four months living with a host family, traveling throughout the country and Europe, and taking classes. I can't wait! The program is through my university, so the grades transfer (although it's supposed to be really, really easy), but we take one class through the Universidad de San Pablo. There are so many programs that are available to college students, especially in popular places like Europe and South America. Most universities are flexible about which program you chose. Most of my friends from high school are studying abroad this year in places like Finland, Chile, Argentina, Spain, and England.

Let me know if you have any specific questions!

Back to packing...

User currently offlineJCS17 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 8065 posts, RR: 36
Reply 7, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2323 times:

I came within hours of booking my flights to Australia to study for the summer at the University of Newcastle. Unfortunately, I found out that the classes I would've taken there wouldn't have transfered back to my university properly. I look back on it as something I really wish I had taken advantage of.

America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
User currently offlineSDLSimme From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 475 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2320 times:

I did one year in US high school in '03-'04. I spent the year in Winterset, IA and it was a great experience! I went with the organization AFS, one that I can highly recommend. In fact, I just started a new thread to look for AFS people on this site. You can find it here.

For anyone thinking about doing a foreign exchange program, I have just one advice for you. DO IT!!! In fact, I just got back from the arrival camp for the AFS exchange students coming to Sweden this year and it is an awesome experience, just hearing so many languages around you and seeing people from different cultures meet, knowing that they have one thing in common. They are all going to spend the next year in a different country with a family that they (in most cases) have never met. It takes some balls to do it, but from my experience, it's almost always worth it  Smile

A319-A321, A332-A333, RJ85, B733-B738, B743-B744, B752, B762-B764, B772-B773, CRJ200-CRJ700, Dash 8 Q300-Q400, ERJ 145,
User currently offlinePhotopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 3159 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2306 times:

When I was younger, I did a semester studying at Sterling University in Scotland. Actually living in a country while you study gives you such an incredible experience and "feel" for the people. So much better than the 7 or 14 day tourist experience.

Study abroad for a semester or a year or more...... absolutely highly recommend it.

User currently offlineGOwithCO332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2286 times:

Thanks for all of the great feedback.

I went with Intrax Study Abroad to Buenos Aires and it was amazing. Very well organized program and it really catered to my specifications and I just liked the whole attitude of the company.

I really am pretty familiar with all of the programs as studying abroad is a great interest of mine, so I know a lot about AFS. I really like the way their programs are set up however, my school gives me the OK. I think my best bet is to shoot for the acceptance of the CIEE Spain Semester program rather than AFS, even though it is a completely credible and good program.

I really would love to hear about your experiences but I am in total agreement with all of what you say and I stayed with a host family in Buenos Aires, which I think really seals the deal to a great program and I was just talking with my grandmother a little while ago about how studying abroad gives you a much richer experience than going as a tourist. However, some of the people from the USA on my program did not make much of the experience but I valued every moment. I could actually go into my experiences for fifteen hours strait, but I won't ahora!

The most important thing is, do any of you have advice on how to get a program approved? Have any of you had to go through it with your school? My school only has this one program approved called School Year Abroad, and I am really not that fond of it. Basically, I am in another country but in a school with other Americans and the school is run by Americans. So, I really do not want to do that as I think it will still carry this "America is better but I am in Spain for some reason" mentality which I want to avoid.

Also, I completely agree with the fact that going as a tourist does not give you the "real" experience. However, it depends on the person as I have spent five days in a location before and have a richer and deeper knowledge of it than people who have spent months. It depends on your interest and your passion I guess. But I definitely have a passion for Argentina factually and emotionally. I think I talk about Buenos Aires for at least two hours a day!

User currently offlineLuckyone From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 2777 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2258 times:

I did a seven week stint based in Koeningswinter, Germany in 2007. I studied The History of German chemists, ridiculously easy course, but it was an excuse to travel  Smile Also explored Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, as well as many places in Germany.

I also did a five week project in Armenia where I worked on porphyrin systems. You can read about that adventure in the TR forum.

User currently offlineAA7295 From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 637 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2235 times:

Quoting GOwithCO332 (Reply 2):
Wow so you actually went to college in the UK! I would like to look at colleges outside the United States but the college department in my school seems to think that colleges do not exist outside the United States, even though I know so many other westernized countries are just trailing our education system by so much!

In my second year of university (we call college university over here in Australia) I did 2 semesters overseas, one at UTexas at Austin and one at University of Westminster in London. While I thoroughly enjoyed both. I had the best time of my life at UTexas. I really wish I was able to complete my degree there. While university is great in England and Australia, I don't particularly like being analysed by metal detectors everytime I walk onto campus in England, and the lack of college life in Australia.

But it will be the best thing you do, and you will make amazing friends. It will be really scary and hard at first, but after the first 2 weeks you will never want to go home.

User currently offlineConnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 2221 times:

Quoting GOwithCO332 (Thread starter):
Also, if you can share your experiences, I would love that. If you have any suggestions or feedback on what you thought, please express! Also, could you state if your program was during college or high school? Gracias!

I did my Master's @ Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, England.

Tremendous school and faculty (for me, at least) and located in what can only be described as an exotic place (yes, London exotic, but this was 1973-75). Didn't actually know anyone there when I arrived, but my Dad had a few contact names of fellow Air Canada staff who were more than willing to have a poor grad student over for Sunday dinner periodically.

I had a built-in advantage as Dad was born in England (although raised in Canada). This permitted an amendment to my passport (called a "Certificate of Patriality", don't think it's available anymore per EU rules) that meant I only had to pay tuition per the national rate (IIRC about 175 GBP as opposed to the foreign rate, 10x the national). Saved a whack of cash and made life a lot easier.

I realize London's become rather expensive now, so is likely not in everyone's mind as a study place of choice, but it's a great city with lots to do, and see -- like the women !  Smile

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlineVermeer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 447 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (7 years 9 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 2212 times:

I studied for one year at UIAH ( University of Art and Design) in Helsinki, Finland in 1996.
A fantastic experience. I met creative and talented people from all over the world and with some of them I am still friend to this day. ( I am sure that the sub zero temperatures and the flowing vodka helped quite a bit Big grin)
The faculty was open 24/7 so that people struck with inspiration could have access to the school. Teachers were demanding and courses tough but we were always able to have a blast and organize parties at every occasion.
Us Italians were throwing almost weekly bashes which wee popular thanks to the fresh supplies of food our parents were sending us via courier ( half a wheel of Parmesan, anyone?)
I would redo it in a second!

User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2539 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (7 years 9 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2183 times:

I spent a semester in London when I was in college, in the Spring of 1989.

I was in class one day a week (through Imperial College), and working as an intern at a boutique investment bank the other four days. My flat was on Cromwell Road, under the approach paths to LHR, so I always enjoyed walking to / from class or the subway.

Spending a semester abroad was the best decision I made, because it differentiated me from my classmates back home. Most college students take the same classes, have the same activities (like "assistant secretary of their Sorority house"), and have very similar work experience. Having work experience abroad made me stand out when it came time to apply for jobs - it was the first thing recruiters asked me about.

I grew up in the Detroit area, and I didn't know anyone in London when I got there. My semester there definitely helped my self confidence, because I proved to myself that I could make it on my own in a big city.

Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently offlineGreasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3104 posts, RR: 19
Reply 16, posted (7 years 9 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2159 times:

rotary club....spent 1 entire year living with a family in Oldenbug, Germany with a host family....Attending German school

greatest experience ever.....however pretty much cast me a year of high school. Had to do 4 years instead of 3.


Sometimes all you can do is look them in the eye and ask " how much did your mom drink when she was pregnant with you?"
User currently offlineVictrola From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 784 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (7 years 9 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 2155 times:

I did my Junior Year Abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France. It was well worth the experience and I came back fluent in French.

By all means do take any opportunity you get to study abroad.

User currently offlineQXatFAT From Israel, joined Feb 2006, 2408 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (7 years 9 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2112 times:

I did a short 3 month summer in Brazil. That was the best time of my life thats for sure. I loved the country, loved the people, and LOVED the food! I actually go to Brazil a lot though.

This next year I should be going to England to do my last year of College. We will see if it turns out to happen that way though. Would be in northern England though and not by London.

Don't Tread On Me!
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 29367 posts, RR: 73
Reply 19, posted (7 years 9 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2097 times:

I studied abroad both as an undergraduate and graduate student.

As an undergrad, I did a summer program with UCLA's German department, studying German language, history and literature in Berlin and Vienna, with a 4 day respite in the middle in Prague.

In law school, I did 2 programs in 1 summer. The first was at Trinity College, Cambridge where I studied Comparative Constitutional Law (Freedom of Expression and Religion) and EU Competition Law. The second was at The International Summer School for Dispute Resolution at Humboldt University zu Berlin where I studied mediation and arbitration.

Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
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