Today’s cultural students come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, there are the ubiquitous junior-year-abroad 20-ish college kids. But the students category of cultural expat includes so much more. A student can be one who takes a formal course of study at a college or a university, or someone who comes to a country purely to immerse himself in the language and the culture.
There are those who combine studying another country’s language and culture with volunteerism.
And there are people whose studies are less formal, but no less formative, who simply go and live among the native residents and absorb their language, culture, cuisine and art.
The Center for Study Abroad offers courses in Europe, China, Japan, Vietnam, South America, Mexico and New Zealand, and anyone over 18 is welcome. StudyAbroad.com lists a variety of overseas study, internship and teaching positions, as well as “volunteaching.” Amerispan, which started by offering opportunities to learn Spanish abroad, and has since expanded, features a page on their site outlining the 15 best “Bang for Your Buck” locations. They also offer combination learning/volunteer placements in educational, social work and environmental organizations. It’s even possible to obtain financial aid or other funding for your overseas studies.
Is your interest environmental rather than linguistic? Perhaps The School for Field Studies would be your choice, where you can get involved in environmental field studies in one of five countries. Even UNESCO has gotten into the act, with advice about studying abroad.
Study abroad can be an English lit class at that most traditional of English institutions, Oxford University, or it can be a Spanish-language immersion program in the Andes Mountains of Peru. You can dive in the Caribbean, or schuss down an Alp. You can study a language in the morning, then help in an orphanage in the afternoon. You can tour museums and ateliers. There are as many study abroad programs as there are expats abroad.
Have you engaged in a course of study (formal or informal) in another country? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Please add your comments below, and share some of your experience with us.