Choosing A Program

Program Types

Experiential Programs

These are group programs whose pedagogical structure seeks to integrate classroom study with field and research experience. An academic director with experience in the area of study and knowledge of the host country supervises the coursework and facilitates student access to local resources, facilities, and experts. These programs usually involve an opportunity to pursue an independent research project, and some may include an internship. Most programs also involve a home stay for at least a portion of the program.

A number of experiential programs involve an academically-structured internship placement, involving half- or three-quarter-time work for a significant portion of the semester. The other coursework associated with these programs is similar to that offered in group or hybrid programs, though the range of course offerings is likely more limited and may even involve a set curriculum. The classroom contact for the program courses may also be front-loaded in the semester in order to allow appropriate time for the internship placement.

Group Programs

Generally speaking, group programs are those where students pursue courses with other American college students. The instructors are usually from the host-country, often faculty members from a nearby university. These courses may be offered in the host-country language, in English, or in a combination of the two. Some group programs also offer opportunities for students to pursue a one-course internship.

Many group programs offer a home stay and/or a student housing option, and most provide a significant number of structured opportunities to learn about the host country or region.

Hybrid Programs

These are essentially the same as group programs, but also offer students an opportunity to take one or two courses per semester at an affiliate university or universities. These programs (e.g. programs offered by IES) are usually located in non-Anglophone countries and offer the program coursework in the host country language. Two notable exceptions to this rule, however, are the IES programs in Dublin & London.

University Programs

These programs involve study in regular courses at a host country higher education institution. The Arcadia University programs in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand will have an orientation at the beginning of the program, usually in a central location, but after that point one will work primarily with the host universities’ international student office regarding the day-to- day logistics of coursework, housing, etc. Housing is usually with peers in a residential college or a university-owned student apartment, though occasionally one may be placed in program housing with other American college students.

Science Programs

This is a small group of programs that focus on providing students with research-based science opportunities. Many of these are experiential in structure, involving significant work at field-research stations. Others, such as the Oak Ridge Science Semester, combine classroom-based seminars and with significant research experience in prestigious laboratory setting.