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Need info for abroad study

symmbowLsymmbowL Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
I’m researching to see which is better for me: study abroad in the future or study in the US.
I’m curious about how abroad study works.

- If I’m working for a major outside of the US, will the classes be taught in that country’s language? (Because I plan on majoring in another language, ex: Science major- but learning all the concepts in another language)
- Is studying abroad better than going to a university at home?
- what advice do you guys have for a 9th grader who wants to major in the physics related field? Is abroad studying for me?

Replies to: Need info for abroad study

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,474 Senior Member
    All of these points are in general- there are variations and exceptions:

    *in most places outside the US you don't have a 'major' you have a 'subject'- and that is all/nearly all you study
    *most programs are highly structured, with few electives/choices (esp in the first year or two)

    *dual subjects exist, but almost always in pre-set combos. You will find quite a few with "+ X modern language" in the humanities and social sciences (eg, Law + German or Management + Chinese), but it is rare in the physical sciences (I have seen Physics + Math but never Physics + French).

    *most universities teach only in the language of the country (aside from courses teaching other languages, obvs) but there are a small number of universities that offer a small number of course programs in English/mixed languages.

    So, if you apply to study physics in Germany, all of your classes will be physics / physics related and will be taught in German. You would want to already be seriously fluent before you start.


    *cost of tuition is often much less than in the US, and in many cases the program is shorter (3y v 4y); cost of living varies dramatically by location
    *there is less administrative support / higher expectation that you will figure things out for yourself
    *relatively few universities are as 'campus centric' as US universities. Facilities (academic and non-academic) are typically more limited and more spread out. Accommodation provision varies widely. Almost all have some for international students, but comparatively few provide catered accommodation to the majority of students, esp after first year.

    *in most places / for most courses / at most unis admissions are heavily based on standardized tests; in most cases for the US that means IB / AP / SAT subject test scores.

    *physics as a field almost always implies grad school.

    There are some CC regular posters who are really well versed in the practicalities and pros/cons of different countries (mostly western european) who will be happy to help with more specific questions
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,440 Senior Member
    Sometimes to get a visa you need to prove that you have the assets (money) to cover your expenses for the duration of your stay.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,474 Senior Member
    ^^true. also, FAFSA can be used for some international universities, but there won't be any other financial aid.
  • LenuAiLenuAi Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    - If I’m working for a major outside of the US, will the classes be taught in that country’s language? (Because I plan on majoring in another language, ex: Science major- but learning all the concepts in another language)

    There are a lot of countries in Europe where you can study both in the local language and in English - any particular place you are interested in?

    - Is studying abroad better than going to a university at home?

    My personal experience is that if you can choose to go abroad, even for 1 year, it is totally worth it. The experience you gain living in another country makes it worth your while. This is a decision and an opportunity I have had which I will never regret.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 38,202 Senior Member
    You can study at a critical language flagship in the US and after learning the language's basics, learn your major s subject IN that language. For instance UT Austin, Wisconsin Madison, Bryn Mawr, Indiana U....
    Colleges may also have FLAC ie., Foreign language across the curriculum - you study your normal class and have one hour extra to study your subject in the foreign language. Schools like St Olaf or Dickinson offer this. You can also see if the major is literature-centric or culture- centric.
    Another option if you're interested in business/social science is the Columbia/Sciences Po program.
    Generally, it is easier to attend a US college with a strong study abroad program (beside the colleges listed above, look up Kalamazoo, Earlham, Centre, Middlebury, Mount Holyoke...) and spend a full year abroad as part of that college.
    You can also study abroad as a high school student - Rotary, YFU, CIEE....organize 'a year in high school' in immersion.
  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer Registered User Posts: 600 Member
    @symmbowL

    For any science/engineering major, consider this kind of option @ https://www.wpi.edu/project-based-learning/global-project-program. This is truly a unique program which is integrated fully with the Universities degree requirements. In most cases these are NOT exchange programs where you take overseas classes courses at a selected university. Usually students spend secondary school and the first two years in this STEM school studying Mandarin, German, or Spanish and then spend seven weeks overseas in one of 46 "project centers" where students use their science/engineering/management skills to design solutions to real world problems in the overseas country. You are effectively majoring in your selected subject (e.g., Physics) while minoring in a language and then applying these two sets of skills to solve real problems on in that country.

    You learn the concepts in English in the US and apply the concepts while overseas. There are a few centers where students may be taking some classes in the local language while overseas (I think German and Mandarin).

    You really should check this out.

    What is your language of interest?
  • symmbowLsymmbowL Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Thanks so much for all the responses everybody

    @retiredfarmer Mandarin
  • symmbowLsymmbowL Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    @LenuAi I don't know if abroad is better but it seems to interest me, I definitely do want to attend a university in the US but at the same time maybe take on a year or two of abroad study. And also i'm interested in: China and Japan mainly
  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer Registered User Posts: 600 Member
    edited May 14
    Sorry for slow response! It is spring and I still like to ride my tractor around the fields to survey the winter damage

    There are Chinese project centers in Beijing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. If you go to the following address, you can review these and over forty other centers. You may click on the respective centers for greater detail. See https://www.wpi.edu/project-based-learning/global-project-program/project-centers. While viewing the respective project centers, you can also click on the current names of the respective centers current directors and learn about their backgrounds.

    Go to this address to check out the Minor in Mandarin (et al) @ https://www.wpi.edu/academics/study/foreign-language-minor

    If interested, I would speak with Mandarin faculty to see how far you can progress from you current language skill set. I believe it can be highly tailored, but would not assume so without conversation. You cannot major in a foreign language, yet, at WPI. The Humanities faculty with e-mail and telephone numbers are available at https://www.wpi.edu/academics/departments/humanities-arts/faculty-staff

    The WPI study abroad program is truly unique.

    They also have a project center in Japan, but do not offer Japanese language courses.


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