Before choosing a study abroad program, think about what you hope to accomplish in your time abroad:
Are you interested in:
- a summer study abroad experience?*
- a study abroad experience for one academic term?
- a study abroad experience for an academic year?
What are your main reasons for study abroad?
- to learn a foreign language, or improve upon your foreign language proficiency?
- to live in a particular region or country that you have always wanted to visit?
- to pursue an intellectual path within a chosen field, or a well-known academic department?
Would you prefer:
- a rural or urban setting?
- to enroll directly into a foreign university, or to participate on a third-party provider program
with other students from US institutions?
- a large or small program or university?
- to live with a host family, university dorm, or independent apartment?
It is also helpful to have an understanding of the different program types available so that you choose a program that is best suited for you academically, socially, and/or culturally. Click here for examples and student perspectives.
Allows students to enroll directly in a local university in the study abroad host country, and study alongside local students
- Offers a culturally immersive experience
- Students work with the study abroad institution for student visa application processes,
course selection and registration, housing, etc.
Facilitated Direct Enrollment
Allows students to use the services of a pre-approved program that facilitates direct enrollment in local university classes, but offers housing and student support services to program participants
Third-Party Provider, or Island Programs
Allows students to take courses only offered by the study abroad program, alongside other US college students participating on the program
- Designed for US college students
- Follow US academic calendars
- Specific thematic, language, cultural, or academic focus
- Course offerings generally more restricted/ less flexibility in course options; may not
serve all academic concentrations equally
Allows students to participate on a third-party provider/island program, and combine courses taught by the program with local university courses
- Offers more student support than a direct enroll program
- Typically more flexibility in course offerings/options
* If you are interested in a Harvard Summer Study Abroad Program, please contact the Harvard Summer School directly.