Article by Robin Van Auken on Volunteer Forever

You know the benefits of studying abroad. They’re easy to pinpoint: Traveling to a new country, learning a new language, enhancing your resume, and finding professional opportunities. But it’s the intangible benefits that stay with you forever – experiences that change your life, permit spiritual and academic growth, and foster within you an appreciation for new cultures.

Many colleges and high schools recommend that students spend time abroad. These trips can be a faculty-led travel course that lasts a week, an independent study during the semester, or an entire summer immersed with a research project.

But how much time should you spend abroad and which organizations offer the best study abroad programs?

If you’re contemplating a trip this summer or next, you’re probably asking yourself these questions. Use this guide to help navigate the process of finding a program that suits your personal needs as well as your academic requirements.

Is Studying Abroad Right for Me?

There are innumerable reasons why you should travel abroad to study, but the most important is to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. The unknown can cause anxiety, so you have to ask yourself, “Is studying abroad right for me?”

If you’re serious about a trip overseas, you’ll most likely need recommendations from faculty members of your school or college. These people have your best interests at heart, so they’re going to be looking for a few characteristics you’ll need to have a successful experience abroad. They’re counting on you to:

  1. Be self-motivated and curious
  2. Work well independently and in a group
  3. Have problem-solving skills
  4. Be mature and able to handle stress
  5. Be emotionally stable and culturally sensitive
  6. Possess good verbal and written communication skills

The Cost of Studying Abroad

There’s a cost to studying abroad that includes your academic tuition, if applicable, and the cost of the program you choose. Add travel to and from your host country, housing, food, medical checkups, vaccinations, and insurance, and the total can skyrocket.

One way to corral these expenses is to choose a study abroad provider that helps with travel coordination and provides accommodations and food.

Global Vision International is a trusted organization that provides volunteer trips and internship opportunities in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, and the Americas. From placements that last one week to long-term study abroad experiences and internships, a GVI opportunity can enhance your education and jumpstart your academic career.

Maximo Nivel specializes in international education, study abroad, and travel in Latin America. They will help you arrange airport pickup, housing, meals, embassy relations, and even emergency plans. They also constantly monitor their in-field conditions to ensure you’re safe and contributing to a meaningful project.

Setting up an account on Volunteer Forever and utilizing our fundraising tools can also help you offset the burden of using traditional financial aid. Although you may be able to apply for federal grants and loans to study abroad with your college, you might not want to increase your debt with student loans. Volunteer Forever strives to make the process of traveling abroad simple: pick a program, fundraise for your trip, and share your experience while overseas and upon your return.

Why Study Abroad?

A trip for an extended amount of time requires a great deal of planning, and sometimes it’s difficult to take the first step. You might need motivation. If that sounds like you, then consider a few more reasons to study abroad:

  1. Make your summer matter
  2. Explore new destinations
  3. Learn to live like a local
  4. The world is your classroom
  5. You can make a better future
  6. Become an agent of positive change
  7. Work with leaders in sustainability studies
  8. Grow as an individual and gain real-world experience

Now that you know how life-changing a summer studying abroad can be, let’s jump in. Here are two great organizations with a variety of programs developed for student travelers like you!


Volunteer Forever  is a comprehensive online resource that helps volunteers find and fund their volunteer opportunities. It advocates empowerment through information and resources.  With Volunteer Forever, you can quickly create a profile and start fundraising right away. Volunteering abroad can be expensive, but it’s also a noble endeavor that your friends, loved ones, and communities will be happy to support. Learn more about Volunteer Forever here.