Study abroad without taking a semester off: Faculty-Led study abroad programs
What if you don't have time to spend a semester away? Easy: study over the summer.
Last summer, I completed my language requirement for Penn in six weeks studying abroad in Tours, France. Let me tell you, it was amazing. I stayed with a host family, had three hours of language class, and the rest of the day to explore France at will. And the best thing was, by doing so, I was clearing space in my academic schedule to be able to take classes outside of the General Requirements. Of course, I ended up falling in love with France and coming back about six months later (which I had not planned at the time) but that’s how life goes.
My program was what we study-abroaders call Faculty-Led. It wasn’t through Penn’s Study Abroad Office, but actually through the College of General Studies (now The College of Liberal and Professional Studies), and I didn’t enroll in or take classes at a French university, but was taught by professors brought in from other universities specifically for my program. These professors knew France, and knew what it was like to be introduced to the country for the first time. It was the perfect first study abroad experience.
Over 50% of students that choose to study abroad over the summer choose a Faculty-Led program. Often they offer more specialized courses than a semester abroad program, and they’re a great way to get to know professors, since you have a semester’s worth of interaction crammed into just a couple of weeks. I ended up really clicking with my language professor, and he actually wrote the letter of recommendation that got me into my current abroad program.
Plus, these programs are short, usually no longer than 8 weeks, meaning that you don’t need to go through the hassle of getting a visa, or a residency permit (and in France you need both to stay here). But don’t worry, you get more than just a taste of a foreign culture.
You don’t have to just take language classes, there are Faculty-Led study abroad programs for almost anything you can think of. Faculty-led.com has a great directory, which also includes other types of study-abroad programs.