Study Abroad — for a Semester or a Year?

Maybe your German professors already have told you to go abroad for the entire year. Maybe your friends and family say just go for a semester. Either way, you're still not sure.

Maybe you think you'll "lose" a year and your GPA will suffer? Fact Check: a ten-year research study (the GLOSSARI project) recently documented that students who studied abroad have a higher four-year graduation rate and improved GPA than those who did not study abroad.

Maybe you think you'll miss out on something back home? Fair enough — while you'll be living in Europe, everyone else will be doing those things on campus you've come to expect. What could possibly compete with that?

Maybe you think there's really no difference — afterall, study abroad is study abroad? Fact Check: although more and more US students are studying abroad, they're spending less and time abroad. Today 96% go abroad for a semester or less. If a semester abroad can be a great experience (which it is), just imagine what a year abroad might be like!

But maybe you just can't quite imagine what it'd be like spending a year overseas. After all, how could you possibly know now what it'd be like to . . .

. . . wake up one day realizing that you were dreaming in German

. . . discover what it's like to become really immersed in another culture

. . . see more, feel more, and experience more than you ever imagined

. . . be able to say: "Now I know what it's really all about"

Sometimes students don't have a choice for a number of reasons. But if you do, consider this: We asked our students what they thought about studying abroad for a year, and this is what they said:

"I would not trade those 11 months for all the money in the world. I learned more and became a happier and complete person in Germany (in one year) than in 2 years of American college."

"There's something about spending 10.5 months away from home, experiencing your first Thanksgiving and Christmas on your own, turning 21, and so many other milestones throughout the year helped JYMers to bond and form lasting friendships with each other. It's hard to articulate the feelings you experience in your time abroad, and only those who have experienced it themselves will truly understand."

"I felt that it was Christmas time that I was really feeling at home and comfortable. It really takes a semester to begin to let it all click."

"It takes almost an entire semester to really adjust to living abroad. Being there for a year really made Munich home."

"It's really only after one semester that one starts to grasp the language and truly put it to use."

"The first semester is to time to adjust, the second is time to enjoy it as home."

"By the end you actually feel you are living in München, it's like home."

"I wish I had taken the leap and come for the whole year."