This review is from the perspective of a low-income student and Gilman scholar who travelled abroad for the first time. I chose a program with VA Corps that allowed me to do a Psychology Internship Abroad.
Pros & Cons of Price Tip 1# Plan 6months in Advance & Get SCHOLARSHIPS
This program is one of the most expensive that I have seen. Since I started applying two months before the deadline I missed the deadline for a lot of scholarships. I was honest about my financial situation and the program was more than willing to help me find scholarships. They offer scholarships for different locations and organization affiliations. For example, as a Gilman scholar I was able to receive a scholarship from the gooverseas program. If you are a student from any western country the currency exchange is great. If you are a low-income student do not be discouraged by the price. I was able to do the program and I do not regret it at all.
Pros & Cons of Being Placed In An Internship Tip 2# Be flexible
A lot of my professors warned me about interning abroad because they have had a lot of poor experiences. My placement was a mixed bag. I originally came to do an occupational therapy internship but I was placed as a psychology intern after my arrival. I was offered a different internship but after a week of bonding with teachers and students I decided to stick with my program. I still talk with the teacher who mentored me in SA. She welcomed me into her home and often brought different SA foods for me to try. We also still message over FB. If you are more rigid I recommend a different program but if you are willing to take things as they come you will do great.
Pros & Cons of Housing Tip #3 Opt for the Better Housing
A highlight of this program is the choice of excellent housing! I choose the best housing option possible and it was a highlight. I only had 4 housemates at a time and we truly bonded. Other interns tended to have way too many housemates and cliques. People who opted to choose their own housing did not like it very much.
Pros & Cons of Social Life Tip #4 Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone
The VACorps planned amazing trips. I had the time of my life with some of the best people I have ever met. I cannot express to you the quality of people that I was blessed enough to meet and it happened through going on the planned trips. We went zip lining through mountains, surfing, hiking, and wine tasting. Out of all of those things the surfing took the most courage I had just taken a course called Survival Swimming and I did not have a lot of confidence in water. I also had never been in the ocean before. I got in the water a little bit and a ripple from a wave hit me and I thought "OMG this thing is alive". I walked right back to the beach and said "No way! I would like to live to see another day". Then an instructor came out and convinced me to try again and I did. That experience allowed me to become comfortable with experiencing more. That confidence has never left me. The only con is that you may have to talk with your supervisor so that you can go on these wonderful trips but that shouldn't be a problem.