Five Reasons to Study Abroad During J-Term
Winter Break – it can be both a blessing and a curse for college students. It’s a beautiful breath of free time after finals, but can also mean a listless month at home with parents while missing friends. Luckily, there are other ways to spend that cold month in between semesters.
If the world is calling, but you don’t see how studying abroad can fit in with two years of general education courses, two years of major focused classes, developing a resume, and everything else that goes into graduating, then studying abroad over January is your answer. January programs are short term study abroad programs that typically last three weeks and allow you to quickly earn credits abroad. This short and sweet time frame can fit into almost any schedule while still offering the benefits of education abroad.
If you’re not already on board, here are 5 reasons to study abroad during January:
1. You Can Still Graduate On Schedule
“I want to study abroad so badly, but there’s no way I could graduate on time,” is a fear we hear far too often. Staying on schedule is one of the main reasons students decide against studying abroad, which is completely understandable – an extra semester or two of tuition can be expensive. January programs offer an amazing winter break without worrying about collecting a semester’s worth of credits you might not be able to put towards your degree. In place of a typical winter break, spend January having a culturally-rich learning experience in a new and exciting location. We’re not saying Saturdays on your parents’ couch aren’t great, but a few weekends in Florence is pretty tough to beat.
2. Get Ahead – Earn Three Credits In Three Weeks!
If staying on schedule is still in the back of your mind you’ll be happy to hear that January study abroad programs pack a solid punch in terms of earning credit. Students typically earn three academic credits during their J-Term abroad. That doesn’t mean you’re constantly in the classroom, though – don’t worry. Our programs offer a balance between work and play. Choose Costa Rica and you can spend your weekdays learning Spanish from local professors and your weekends ziplining through the rainforest.
The essence of studying abroad is learning through experience – there are no sidelines.
You’ll be participating in hands-on, interactive learning by visiting historical sights, practicing the language, or observing wildlife. Of course, there will be studying involved, but it will be engaging and far from typical. You’ll participate in adventure-filled excursions and cultural immersion activities all while working towards your degree.
3. Not Too Much, Not Too Little, But Just Right
January study abroad programs are the Goldilocks of international experiences. The three to four weeks you study abroad will expose you to the culture, allowing you to meet the locals, complete a useful course, and even pick up a good chunk of another language. The programs are specifically designed to ensure students get the most out of their time, which means they have help before, during, and after. Culture shock is one of the hardest parts of studying abroad. Activities and courses are arranged beforehand so you can hit the ground running. You may still feel out of your comfort zone, but that is part of the beauty of experiencing new and exciting things.
4. Perfect Timing! Escape Cold Weather or Peak Tourist Season
Many January locations will offer bright sunshine and warm beaches. Spend January in the Mediterranean and get a taste of Spain, Italy, and Greece while studying Mediterranean food, culture, and society. Or, experience Islamic civilization in Europe in one program that goes to France, Spain and Morocco. There won’t be nearly as many tourists and you’ll be free to explore the country without time-consuming lines and crowds. Traveling out of tourist season is a wonderful way to really see the location. You get to see its local side, experience a more authentic atmosphere, and truly immerse into a culture or language. If you’re from the northern hemisphere, head south and arrive just in time to enjoy warm weather during the southern hemisphere’s summer. Imagine leaving your freezing cold hometown to study abroad in a tropical paradise
5. Make Lifelong Friends and Memories
If a year abroad doesn’t fit into your academic schedule there is no reason to miss the experience and relationships you start abroad. During a January abroad, you’ll make memories just as wonderful as you would in a semester. Take enriching classes, make friends from around the world, and try new and exotic cuisines. Studying abroad is a life-changing experience, something that opens up your world perspective. It is about quality, not quantity, and a once in a lifetime opportunity such as studying abroad shouldn’t be missed, no matter who you are or what you study.