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Why Study Abroad?

Study abroad can be an enriching and challenging experience where learning extends beyond New Paltz. Living and studying in another country offers the chance to gain in-depth knowledge of another place, culture, values, people, and language. Studying abroad helps you develop important intercultural competencies that can help you stand out to future employers.

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Personal Growth 

Students who return from a study abroad program often see it as an experience which matured them personally and intellectually. Exposure to new ways of thinking and living encourages growth and independence. For many students, studying abroad is the first time they have really been away from 'home,' from familiar surroundings of the USA, and from friends and family.  

By being immersed in another country, many students find that they learn more about their own national, regional, and university culture after learning about the values and cultural norms of others. Students often return to the New Paltz campus re-invigorated and with increased self-confidence.  

New Perspective on World Affairs 

Studying abroad can broaden your intellectual horizons and deepen your knowledge and understanding of international, political, and economic issues. You will also have first-hand knowledge of how another culture approaches the tasks and challenges of everyday life. Through your professors, the other students in your program, and people you meet, you'll learn how others view the United States and its world role.  

Career Enhancement 

Employers increasingly seek graduates who have studied abroad. Study abroad students offer intercultural communication skills, analytical and problem-solving skills, and an ability to collaborate with individuals from different backgrounds than themselvesYou may also develop increased flexibility, resilience, and the ability to adapt to new circumstances. 

Everyone is Invited at New Paltz!

The Center for International Programs is proud to serve the diverse and exciting New Paltz and SUNY community. We support the needs of all students who study abroad and have special training and interest in those who are historically underrepresented in the field. We proactively support all students no matter their race, class, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, ability, political affiliation, gender, age or health status. We recognize that proactive inclusion and advocacy make not only for better study abroad programs, but a better world.   

First Steps 

Choosing a study abroad program is more than just picking a city you want to visit - it’s like choosing a college. Each study abroad program offers a unique combination of experiences, classes, living situations, and opportunities in the surrounding area. There are many resources to help you find the right fit for your study abroad experiences.  

Attending a Study Abroad 101 session will provide some basic information about New Paltz programs and the study abroad process. No preparation is required, but considering the items below will help prompt questions to ask.   

You can also schedule a meeting with an advisor if you have specific questions about programs. Do you already feel like you know which term or program is for you? Visit our “How to Apply” page to review the application process. 

Consider Your Priorities 

There are many different ways to approach selecting the best program for you. To assist you in the selection process, answer the following questions.  

When do you want to study abroad? 

  • Semester/year programs typically provide the most bang-for-your buck and you are able to use your financial aid. Semester programs allow you to actually live in a new country and become a student at another university.  
  • Summer programs offer an intensive experience to take one to three classes. These programs are simple to fit into your schedule but they have more limited course selection and costs can vary widely.  
  • Winter intersession has the fewest program choices and typically are the shortest duration.  

What do you want to study? 

  • Students typically take a combination of courses that fulfill major/minor requirements, GE requirements, or general electives.  
  • Flexibility is important because no study abroad program offers the exact classes as New Paltz.  
  • Meet with your advisor(s) to understand what major/minor classes you NEED when studying abroad.  
  • If you are planning for the future, try to “save” requirements that have flexibility like Humanities GE, Western Civilization (if you're going to Europe or Australia), World Civilizations (if you are going to Asia, Africa, or Latin America), or electives within your program.  

Where do you want to study? 

  • Studying abroad, especially semester programs, is an experience in living in a location. Consider the type of setting where you want to live.  
  • Do you want to live in a large city? Do you want to be able to hike on the weekend? Do you want to be at a program with few or many New Paltz students?  
  • Do some research! The right location for you might be a city that you haven’t even heard of before.  

Program costs and expenses 

  • Each program has different program costs that you can find on the program cost tab.  
  • The best way to save money is to pick a lower cost program - lower cost programs are always obvious.  
  • Apply for scholarships - deadlines are often earlier than program application deadlines.  

Create Goals 

Why do you want to study abroad? What do you hope to gain from the experience?  

Maybe you want to immerse yourself in a new language or perhaps you have a specific program in mind that supports a career goal. Either way, take some time to note some goals and consider what is important to you.  

Goals and desired outcomes will change and develop throughout the study abroad process. Beginning to define them now will help shape your experience, and bring a more focused perspective as you consider different options and program types. 

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