This week I am excited to share something a little bit different. Jessie at Go Overseas has put together some really great tips for architecture students who are thinking about studying abroad. I get a lot of people asking me about this, and seeing as I have never studied abroad, I knew I wasn’t the best person to answer these queries. So, Jessie at Go Overseas kindly said she would answer some of the most common questions students ask when they are considering studying aboard. Thanks to everyone at Go Overseas for sharing the knowledge! So, lets hand over to Jessie:
Studying abroad as an architect student is a great way to experience different forms of architecture and add an international angle to your resume. However, learning where to go, how to do it, and how much it will cost can be tricky. Having spent 3+ years working with Go Overseas, though, below are my best insider tips to common questions architect students have about studying abroad:
Is it better to do a short study program or get a work placement?
This really depends on what your goals are. If you’re more interested in exploring theory, then I’d say go for the short-term study abroad program. However, if you’re looking to get away from theories and apply your knowledge, then the work placement or internship is a better avenue.
That said, there are dual study-intern programs that will let you do both. Some are offered in the summertime, but if you’re able to go abroad for a full semester / year, then you’ll have more opportunities.
Where in the world is the best place to study abroad as an architect student?
I’m not sure if there’s really one best place, but some great destinations for architect students include:
You’ll also find some programs throughout Europe (Greece, France, Italy), Asia (China, Malaysia), and Latin America (Argentina). For a full list of study abroad programs for architecture students, Go Overseas has well over 40 programs listed for you (note: Go Overseas doesn’t run the programs, we just provide the list!).
Am I limited to only long term placements/jobs?
Just like at home, a long-term job will be easier to find but yes, summer work placements abroad do exist — especially if you’re willing to take on an internship. Since summer is the most popular time for students (and recent grads!) to go overseas for an internship, pretty much every internship placement provider out there will have a summer option.
Should I only expect to find unpaid internship abroad?
You should expect the majority of internships abroad to be unpaid — though some will offer support for your living / transportation expenses. Naturally, these internships are less competitive as well.
If you really want to find a paid internship abroad, your best bet is looking at a larger corporation or international company. They’ll be the ones most likely to have a paid summer intern program.
Will any of the study programs in Europe be in English (other than the UK/USA)?
Yes! In the study abroad world, there are two avenues that you can take to study abroad:
- Direct enrollment, which means enrolling in an international university as you would at a university in the States/UK and taking classes alongside local students.
- Third-party provider, which means going on a study abroad program through a privately owned company. They may or may not have university affiliations.
Typically, direct enrollment programs are conducted in the local language, which means that if you want to study in English your options are basically the UK/USA and Malta at the undergrad level. If you’re attending grad school in Europe, though, quite a few programs in Germany, Scandinavian countries, and the Netherlands will actually conduct the programs in English.
Further, some universities, like the University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, have programs for international students in English. Searching around Erasmus resources is probably your best bet for uncovering which universities to look at for this.
Third-party providers, on the other hand, are a great option for students who want to study in English in a non-English speaking country. Most programs are conducted fully or partially in English.
Will it be expensive for me to study abroad?
Study abroad, like college, isn’t exactly the cheapest. However, there are a few ways to study abroad affordably. I even had one friend study for a semester in Prague and a semester in India and save money (since she wasn’t paying $30,000 in tuition and however much else it cost for her to live in Seattle for a full year). Some of my best tips include:
- Go to a less popular destination. Places like Mexico, China, Malta, Senegal, or Chile will be far more affordable than England, US, France, or Spain.
- Apply for scholarships. So many companies out there are offering study abroad scholarships (including Go Overseas!) and you know what? Not enough students even apply. Find a dozen or so and submit your application — hopefully your hard work will pay off.
- Do a direct enroll program. Tuition is a huge expense, but did you know students in Germany are only paying ~$500 in fees? Or that international students in France could attend university for a semester for ~$1,000? By directly enrolling in a university abroad, you get to benefit from their low tuitions. Similarly, you could look for a direct exchange program (which means you’d continue to pay tuition to your home university) if you’re attending school on a scholarship / have affordable tuition already.
- Consider taking on a part-time job while you’re abroad. Although focusing on your academics and enjoying living abroad in a new places is hugely important, you are legally able to work on some student visas. I’d just suggest going overseas with enough to cover your living expenses, but work to make extra cash to travel — you don’t want to depend on finding a job abroad (just in case you can’t find one).
- Take out a student loan. That’s right, you can take out loans for studying abroad and sometimes your current loans can be applied to your study abroad experience.