Alternative Study Abroad Program Options

Alternative Study Abroad Program Options

In this article, we share some other ways in which you can obtain the benefits of studying abroad. Study abroad is excellent both for your personal development or for your future career. The most beneficial aspect of studying abroad is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new country. But what if studying abroad is not an option for you? Don't worry! Thanks to globalization, there are many ways in which you can gain the experience of working abroad even though you are not enrolled in a foreign college!


1. Internship Abroad

Based on ILO, internships refer to a wide range of schemes that provide trainees with skills, knowledge, and experience in the workplace. You can do internships abroad too. Research has found that internationalization and globalization will continue to be important characteristics of the workplace, so international experience will improve your future work prospects. A data from US has found that before Covid-19, almost 50,000 Americans participated in an international internship annually. 


Internships will give you almost the same amount of benefit that you will get by studying abroad in terms of a future career. It will allow you to develop your interpersonal skills, team-working skills, professionalism, and customer management experience. Students can also improve their communication, confidence, and self-efficacy. For example, read Luchia and Novelin’s Study Abroad Story on IvyTies, in which they describe their experience doing an internship in Hong Kong. They mentioned that it was a great opportunity to live in a beautiful city with a different culture than from where they are coming from. Therefore, the international internship is an ideal alternative for gaining new skills and knowledge as well as building your global and intercultural competencies.


Many companies offer international internships, as mentioned in research by ILO. Internship has become an important part of the transition from education to employment, especially in higher-income countries. You can take advantage of your semester break by doing internships. For the internship program, you also don't need to spend as much money as you spend on study abroad, and many companies will even pay you if you get a paid internship.


2. Summer program


These are typically short-term study abroad programs, defined as less than eight weeks long. Even though data shows that studying abroad for a full year has a more significant and enduring impact on students, doing a summer program will also give you the benefits you get by studying abroad, including acceptance and appreciation of cultural differences, cross-cultural skills and knowledge, and personal growth. 


If you are a student, many universities offer summer classes, which you can take for exchange credits. And if you are not in college now, you can take part in summer programs but usually for a shorter time, which are usually offered by universities and by organizations. 


3. Language Learning


This program is specifically for people who want to learn a foreign language, and particularly if they want to learn it quickly. One recent study compared a group studying Spanish for a semester in Spain to a group receiving classroom instruction in Spanish at a U.S. university. They found that those who studied abroad group achieved better narrative ability. In other words, they could tell a story better and could get their point across more effectively.


Putu Lia shared her experience on IvyTies about learning Spanish in Columbia for one semester. She said she was proud and grateful to have such an opportunity where she’s not only got to learn Spanish and Latin American culture but also to meet people from different regions of the world and to call them a family. She said that it was difficult to find people who speak English, but this was actually what made her practice her Spanish more. 


In a globalized world like this, being able to master foreign languages will be an invaluable asset for you. Moreover, if you do it abroad, you will grab the attention of employers, as it was mentioned in a recent IvyTies article.


4. Volunteer Abroad


Volunteering abroad is often seen as “giving back” to society or offering assistance to those less fortunate in the global community. research has found that volunteering abroad goes hand-in-hand with adventure, exploration, and gaining new experiences. There are many kinds of volunteering you can try, including placements working in wildlife, research, conservation, building work, teaching, community development, working with children, sports coaching, business, and so on. 


Research shows that doing volunteering abroad will give you many benefits, such as being exposed to and meeting new cultures, and exposure to foreign languages. Exposure and interaction with people who are different may increase mutual understanding, and lead to intercultural competence. Research also states that international volunteers may develop greater open-mindedness. 


You can take a look at what Syuhada shared on IvyTies regarding his experience doing volunteering in Thailand by teaching children. He said it was a valuable experience for him to be grateful for. He advised students to volunteer abroad because experience is the best teacher and can shape your personalities to be better. You only need to Google ‘volunteering overseas’ to see just how many opportunities are available for you!


Stay tuned on IvyTies for more guidance for making the most of your student life!