If you don't want to commit to a full academic year abroad, studying during the fall semester is a great alternative. You can spend the mild, autumn months discovering a new destination, furthering your education, and come back to campus with a new global perspective. Fall study abroad programs are cheaper than a full year and will ensure you don't miss out on important second semester classes or extracurricular activities.

You can select a program depending on the type of experience you wish to have during your time abroad. Is more independence your style? Would you rather pay more upfront and have everything organized for you? Do you want to go with your school peers or meet a bunch of other folks?

Here's a good starting point for you to jump off of when choosing a program:

University Programs:

Most universities offer study abroad programs in the fall. This is beneficial because they are easily accessible, make sure you will have the right courses to stay on track and will guarantee that credits transfer. You can expect to enjoy your classes and learning alongside people from your university, which is a neat bond to make for when you return to your home campus. Head to your international education or study abroad office on campus to understand your options for the fall semester.

Third Party Provider Programs:

If your home university does not coordinate with the country or the university you are interested in, there are plenty of third-party organizations that can fill the gap. Providers like USAC, IES, and CEA can all help you study abroad in the fall, whether its for undergraduate credits, specific subjects, or for a particular term. Many times your university will already have established partnerships with these organizations to ensure ease of credit transfer. Other times, you may have to fight a little harder - but hey, if you've found THE PERFECT study abroad program, there's no sense in not trying hard to make it happen.

Subject-Oriented Fall Programs:

Do you have a specific goal you're hoping to achieve while studying abroad? Do you want to focus on foreign language learning, or prefer to combine service projects and learning? For students with particular aims, find a program that is less cookie-cutter. Sometimes these can be found through your university, third-party providers, or through other universities. Get your Go Overseas search muscles a-workin'!

Be cognizant of the important things to consider before choosing your fall semester program.

Cost of Fall Study Abroad Programs:

The cost to study abroad is generally about the same as studying at your home institution. Tuition per unit or course will be more or less be similar to your university, so it's a great opportunity to get the same great education but abroad! Depending on where you complete your fall study abroad, housing could be cheaper too, especially compared to on-campus dorms. You will have some extra expenses such as flights, vaccines, and visa fees.

A fall semester is also cheaper than choosing an academic year abroad because you will have a shorter housing contract, fewer travels, and fewer flights (compared to those who choose to travel home during winter break while abroad).

Financing your fall study abroad program can be overwhelming, but there are a few options to make it feasible. There are thousands of study abroad scholarships and grants available for students, ranging from program specific to destinations to financial need. Another option is to get a part-time job or fundraise part of your costs in the months prior. Although it can take a bit of time to apply or get creative, think of what it will feel like when you're finally studying abroad in the fall!

Fall Courses:

Fall semester offers you the chance to study abroad while not missing necessary classes that are only offered during the spring semester. Also, if you are interested in home activities such as student government or sports, spending your fall abroad will allow you to have both the home and abroad experiences.

Travel and Immersion:

Fall semester offers plenty of travel time as you have weekend opportunities and fall (sometimes) & winter breaks. The autumn months are usually a great time for exploration due to the mild weather.

However, this does mean there is less immersion time, and you will have less time to explore your city/country if many surrounding areas also capture your interest. This also means you will interact less with the locals and more with students who are also studying abroad. It is important to research your travel interests before you go to optimize your autumn overseas. Luckily, many programs allow you to extend your stay past fall semester if you decide.

Culture Shock:

Every student will feel culture shock in one form or another. If being away from home is a particular problem for you, only spending a semester abroad will aid that issue. However, it should be noted that around the time you leave, you will most likely be entirely comfortable abroad, and then will have to endure the effects of reverse culture shock. The short term of fall will also allow a student who is questioning his ability to thrive in a city with a different language/culture to see how well he adapts. This will open doors for later return trips or serve as a good experience but not one to be repeated.

Cool Worldwide Events Happening During the Fall

Many famous festivals and cultural actives occur during fall semester. The following are a few highlights. Once you choose your country, find out which event interest you and make sure you are abroad during that time. Or, you may explore which events interest you, and choose a country or duration based on that.

  • September - Ireland: The All-Ireland Hurling and Football Finals which “CNN has ranked the All-Ireland Hurling Final second on their ‘10 Sporting Events You Have to See Live’ list calling it the ‘fastest and oldest field game in the world.’”
  • September - Malawi: The Lake of Stars, a two day art and cultural event to highlight Malawi culture and attract international attention
  • End of September/Beginning of October - Germany: Oktoberfest, a festival paying tribute to Germany's rich and vibrant beer culture.
  • November - India: Pushkar Camel Festival, a camel fair with music, markets, and camels. A great time to practice your bargaining skills!
  • October 31- November 2 - Mexico: Día de Muertos, a celebration of deceased family and friends. This holiday may have a dark side but it is a fun holiday to witness.
  • End of November - Thailand: Monkey Buffet Festival, an event where tourists feed fruits and veggies to 2,000 monkeys! Yes, 2,000! Sounds amazing, right?!
  • Beginning of December - France: Festival of Lights, the entire city of Lyon is aglow as thousands of lights light up across the city. The rivers and reflections look especially beautiful at this time of year.
  • December 25 - Australia: Enjoy an alternate to the stereotypical White Christmas as summer is in full swing down under. Eat cherries on the beach and dine on prawns (not to be confused with shrimp on the barbie, unfortunately).
  • New Year’s Eve - Brazil: Enjoy the best NYE party on the beach. Brazil has a rep as one of the wildest countries in the world. See why firsthand!

What better way to learn about a culture than to celebrate a favorite holiday with the locals!?

Guide Contributed by K.Leigh Furzer

Fall Study Abroad Programs

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why study abroad in the Fall?

    There are a few benefits to studying in the fall including most destinations having mild weather, having fun fall festivals (like Oktoberfest in Germany!), being cheaper than a full year abroad, and not interfering with your spring graduation or any classes that may only be offered during the spring semester.

  • What study abroad programs can I do in the Fall?

    There are three types of study abroad programs you can do in the fall: university programs, third-party provider programs, and subject-oriented programs. You can either enroll through your university, find a provider that has a partnership with your university (they may have more cultural activities planned), or enroll in a school abroad that focuses on your main subject like an art school or language school.

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