Questions about how and why this list came to be? Read on…
Why did we compile such a list?
As the vast majority of our Lexiophiles contributors are former study abroad participants themselves, we are acutely aware of how enriching the experience can be. We also know how daunting a task it can be to sift through and find the right program from the many available. We decided to take it upon ourselves to compile a comprehensive and user-friendly list of the best programs in each language.
How did we do it?
We searched high and low for all the study abroad programs we could find in a given language. We then ranked them based on a point system evaluating the cultural integration, support offered, financial aid, flexibility, academics, & application process of each program. While we realize that no system is flawless, we believe that our ranking has produced a list of quality study abroad programs that is both inclusive and easy to use.
Here is a little information about the criteria we used in our evaluation:
- Cultural Integration: This one was pretty much a no-brainer. After all, study abroad is an exercise in exploring the world that lies outside of one’s own comfort zone. The opportunity to truly be immersed in the host culture is one of the most important aspects of any program. Living with native speakers, assignment of a local buddy or liaison, and organized trips are all examples of cultural integration tactics.
- Support Offered: Moving to a foreign country, learning a language, and adapting to a new culture are all valuable experiences, but can be overwhelming at times. A good study abroad program will help its participants prepare for what to expect on their trip, as well as provide some assistance for students with hurdles like local bureaucracy and culture shock.
- Financial Aid: Cost is one of the most restrictive aspects of study abroad. The availability of financial aid and low application fees mean greater participant diversity on a given program – which is definitely a plus.
- Flexibility: The more flexibility afforded to potential participants by a particular program, the better. Location preference and a variable start date give you some choices as an applicant, and a better chance of being able to integrate study abroad into your individual course of study.
- Academics: The first word in Study Abroad is study after all, so academic excellence and international recognition need to be taken into account when choosing a program.
- Application Process: An application should be selective yet concise. No one wants to spend more time applying for a program than actually studying abroad, so ease of application process is an important factor. Alternatively, we also gave points to programs whose process took both academic prowess and personal motivation into account as they tend to produce the most well-rounded student bodies.
Think we missed one?
Let’s face it – nobody’s perfect! If there’s a great study abroad program that you think we may have missed, leave a comment and we’ll make sure to include it in the ranking process for 2010.