Studying abroad is a great way to experience life in another country. When you are involved in a program of study, you automatically become more involved in the community than you might as a tourist. It’s also a great way to enhance your travel by learning new information or a new skill. You don’t have to be working toward a specific degree to study abroad, either. Here are five ways anyone can study abroad at any age!
1. TEFL Certification
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This is an in-demand job in many parts of the world, making it a great option to work abroad. But did you know you can also earn your instructor certification in another country? It doesn’t even have to be the country you would like to work in afterward. I did a summer program in Prague, Czech Republic to become a certified TEFL instructor before spending a year teaching in South Korea. Check out what university programs and TEFL training schools might be available in your chosen destination. This is a study opportunity open to all ages! If you go for a full degree, expect it to take 1-4 years. A certification, however, will more likely take 4-12 weeks.
2. Vocational Schools/Training Internships
Similar to TEFL schools, if you are interested in learning a new profession or just picking up some new skills, consider studying abroad at a vocational school. You can take a class or two or do a full certification course in things like cooking, baking, dance, design, hospitality, technology, and business, to name but a few. Or if you are looking to make a career change or get a promotion, consider a training internship. While not a traditional “school”, this option lets you be more hands-on at an actual company in your field while learning on the job. This is a cool option that could lead to working abroad as well. Vocational programs and internships usually run a couple of months to a year and are open to all ages.
3. Traditional High School/University/Grad School
Studying abroad during your normal schooling years is the most traditional way to study abroad. You can choose to earn degree credits in another country while you are a high school or university student – including graduate school. I actually studied abroad three different semesters while earning my bachelor’s degree! You can either participate in a semester or year-long exchange program through the school/university you are already enrolled in at home or apply directly to a foreign university and complete your entire degree abroad! Studying abroad during high school is obviously limited to high school students but university and graduate degrees can be earned at any age.
4. Semester at Sea
Semester at Sea is basically a floating university. It’s a former cruise ship that sails around the world each semester stopping in 10+ ports of call and offering university classes during sailing days. There are two ways to participate. Most people can take it as a study abroad option during their normal university degree. This is what I did, in fact. It’s sponsored by an American university, from where you can transfer your credits to your home university. Alternatively, you can sign up as a Lifelong Learner. This is open to adults 30+. You join the voyage more as a passenger but are given the option to audit any classes with space available after the traditional students have enrolled. This is a very unique study abroad option – I loved it!
5. Language Immersion Classes
On the flip side of taking a TEFL Instructor certification is to take a language class yourself. There are schools and programs in many countries, including emersion and home-stay options. These range from just a couple of hours to several months. Or enroll in a university language course to earn credit and/or study longer term. All are options for multi-age students. Studying a language in a country where it’s spoken can make a huge difference in the speed of learning. You are surrounded by it all the time and pick up vocabulary without even realizing it.
- Teaching English Abroad: Dos & Don’ts
- 5 Immersive, Inexpensive, & Unusual Cultural Experiences
- Improve Your Travel Vocabulary
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