In this guest blog post, CAPA Ambassador Julia Marcoullier shares five reasons why the spring semester is a great time to study abroad. Plus, she shares some tips to help you as you prepare to go abroad. Check it out!
When it comes to making decisions about studying abroad, there are many factors to consider, including where to go, what classes to take, and of course—which semester to choose. Here are five things to keep in mind if you are considering going abroad during your spring semester!
1. You have the summer before plus the fall semester to prepare
Making the decision to study abroad is a big one! It is not one to take lightly and is certainly a time investment. There is much preparing to do, from applying to the program to acquiring a passport and visa to booking flights. I knew I wanted to go my spring semester of junior year, so I began gearing up once the summer after sophomore year rolled around. If you are considering the spring semester for your time abroad, I recommend doing this as well! The process was much easier and less overwhelming knowing that I had the fall semester ahead of me to prepare, too.
2. You'll enjoy warm weather and the spring bloom
Weather will vary greatly depending on location and time of year, but if you are looking at Europe as a potential location, going abroad during the spring is absolutely something to consider. Once March rolls around, you can swap the winter jacket for something a bit lighter (this will depend where you are—I studied abroad in London, so this was when I started noticing the changes in weather). Going to outdoor attractions or on excursions such as markets, cafés, or walking tours will be much more bearable. As a student in London, I was able to take advantage of the city’s many parks. Nothing beats an afternoon stroll surrounded by daffodils in Hyde Park!
Hyde Park in the spring.
3. You have more time after your semester for extra traveling or relaxing
One of the nice things about studying abroad during the spring is that I didn’t have to immediately worry about getting ready to go back to my home campus. I had the summer to decompress after a crazy few months and reflect on my experience.
Or, even better, you’ll have more time on your hands to do some extra traveling if you so desire! You can enjoy hopping around more cities or countries without the stress of making it back in time for classes or internships. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, make sure to let your CAPA Program Manager know upon starting the visa process.
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
4. You won't miss out on holidays
As American students, Thanksgiving is an important holiday to a lot of us and it is essential that we are with our families during that time. If you study abroad during the spring semester, you won’t have to worry about missing out on this. You will have plenty of time to spend the holidays at home (and prepare!) before departing for your spring semester.
5. You won’t miss the beginning-of-the-school-year excitement
One of my favorite parts of each year in college was fall move-in. The weather was still great, I felt ready to take on the year, I was reunited with friends, and it’s a fresh new start. There’s also beginning of the year activities such as club fairs. Generally, I’ve just always loved the ambience of a new school year and I knew I would miss it so much if I had studied abroad during the fall semester.
All things considered, there’s no wrong answer when it comes to picking what time of year to study abroad—these are just some things to keep in mind if you need help making a decision. Trust your instincts, do what best fits your vision, and have fun with the process!