Summer study abroad programs can range from learning about physiological ecology in the Galapagos Islands to learning Spanish in Peru. With all the programs available it can be hard choosing just one, but some things will almost always remain the same no matter which summer study abroad program you choose.
Choosing a Summer Study Abroad Program to Apply for
While most scholastic institutes offer a variety of summer study abroad programs, bear in mind that you can usually apply for a program outside of the school you might currently be attending and still have the option of financial aide covering you. Even if you are not attending any schools, a summer study abroad program is within your reach. Local colleges and universities usually have listings of any study abroad programs they have available and if the requirements for signing up for that program are not listed then you could always check with one of the attending counselors for further information.
Passports, Visas, and Medical Releases – Oh My! Passport rules have changed recently, at least for American citizens. As of January 23, 2007 the long expected new passport rules take effect today. US citizens traveling to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean will need to show valid passports in order to re-enter the country. So when you are busy planning a summer study abroad program, remember to secure one more thing: Your Passport! These new passport rules are required to secure the borders of the United States against terrorist acts. Recent statistics show that just about one quarter of Americans hold valid passports. This is because until now most US citizens could travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean without passports. Showing just a driver’s license or a birth certificate was sufficient. But with these new passport regulations all that changes, effective January 23, 2007.
So if you are planning to spend a summer studying in any one of those countries, take steps to get your passport now. While a passport isn’t usually too hard to get, it can still take a fair amount of time so you should be applying for that before or around the same time as you’re applying for the summer study abroad program of your choice. A travel visa should usually be applied for around the same time as you are applying for the study abroad program for the simple fact that they can take quite some time to be processed properly and returned to you in good standing.
Before you head off on your trip you should also be sure to check if you need any medical release forms stating a clean bill of health and/or up to date vaccinations. For instance, if traveling to tropical South America you might be required to get a Yellow Fever vaccination before being allowed to travel. But don’t let the paperwork scare you away from a summer study abroad program. The opportunities available during such a program are virtually limitless and can provide a wealth of wonderful memories.
A majority of summer study abroad programs will have accommodations already planned out for you, but it’s usually wise to make sure beforehand so you know where you’ll be staying during the course of your program. If lodging is not provided and you will need to make your own arrangements for a place to stay, the internet can be a great help in locating an affordable hotel room or short term apartment. Language barriers can make for a slightly sticky situation when trying to set up lodging arrangements from a distance, but it’s not usually too difficult to get around them long enough to have a place available for when you get there so that you can make some more stable plans.
A lesser known choice in summer study abroad programs includes the option to learn while on an ocean voyage that stops at various countries. Such a program can be available to anyone, student or not, and help make clear your own culture by showing you the varying cultures of other locations. So no matter what your taste is, specific language to general world interdependence awareness, or your age, there’s bound to be a summer study abroad program for you.
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