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Choosing a Program

Getting More Bang for your Study Abroad Buck

Have you ever been to a study abroad fair and come away feeling completely overwhelmed?  Just like when you were trying to choose a college, the number of study abroad programs available is astounding.  The price range of these programs varies considerably as well.  It's important to understand what you're getting when you choose a study abroad program in order to get the most value for your money.

Does the program have an on-site director available at all times for your needs?

One of the most important considerations when you choose a program is whether there is an on-site director for the duration of your stay.  Some programs only offer help from a distance, which can be problematic with the time difference between the U.S. and your host country.  You may encounter some culture shock, and it will be very comforting to have someone present who understands both where you come from as well as the host culture and who can help you get acclimated.  In case of any personal or academic challenges, a local advocate can be especially helpful to resolve issues quickly.  EPA Internships understands students' needs and has on-site directors available to students at all hours in each of our locations.  Our directors oversee all aspects of the student experience and work hard to make sure that students are satisfied with their stay abroad.

What are the accommodations like?

Housing for study abroad programs will vary considerably from city to city but also in terms of type of accommodation.  You may be offered a choice of home stay or you may be sharing an apartment with other students.  For students used to living in dorms, this may be the first time you are living more independently with less infrastructure.  Be sure to find out with how many other students you will be living, how far the accommodations are from your classes and/or internship site, and what the neighborhood is like.  Having shops near where you live and shorter commute times will become important factors to you while living abroad.  You will want to carefully compare what each program offers in terms of the quality of the accommodations because this will play a large part in your happiness while living abroad.  EPA Internship's Program Directors carefully inspect all student housing to ascertain that they are safe, convenient, and comfortable.

If the program offers an internship, is it guaranteed and pre-arranged?

Many programs offer internships as part of the study abroad experience, but often the burden for obtaining those internships falls on students once they arrive in the host country.  You may need to apply for this part of the program only after you have committed to studying abroad with the particular program, and due to competition from other students, you might not end up interning at all.  With EPA Internships, your internship experience is guaranteed and pre-arranged for you before you even arrive in the country.  Our directors take a great deal of care to place students in internships that will be applicable to a student's interests and strengths, and our strong relationships with our internship providers ensure that our students are warmly welcomed and given great learning experiences.

What "extras", if any, are included?

Some programs offer airport pick-ups, cultural excursions or social events.  Depending on whether the program is affiliated with a local university campus, there may also be privileges available to students through the school such as gym memberships, reduced-price meals or opportunities to join social clubs.  If these things are important to you, be sure to note all of them when comparing one program to another.  Similarly, beware of paying a much higher price for a program just for a few shiny "bells and whistles", which may not be worth it to you personally.  EPA Internships offers students a comprehensive study abroad experience at a competitive price.  We are one of a very small number of programs offering traditional study abroad combined with a substantial internship experience, which is invaluable when you consider your future job possibilities.