Why Short-Term Study Abroad Programs Are Within Your Reach

Why Short-Term Study Abroad Programs Are Within Your Reach

November/December 2014
Many short-term study programs that last 12 months or less are available in the United States.
Short-term programs are an excellent way for international students to experience life in a new country. Many short-term study programs that last 12 months or less are available in the United States and offer Indian students both academic and professional courses that broaden skill sets, networks and understanding of American academics and culture. 
Short-term programs can be divided into three categories: exchange programs, non-degree programs and distance education.
Exchange programs include partnerships between U.S. and Indian universities where students study and live in partner countries and take courses for their degree or professional enrichment. These programs could also be professional courses which offer participants a chance to intern with a U.S. business or organization. Besides professional courses, students can attend practical training programs offered at community colleges, private training centers or technical institutions that prepare them for employment in diverse areas, including game design, culinary arts and automotive mechanics. 
Non-degree programs, which are offered during the summer break, are a great way for international students to experience academic life in the United States without having to enroll in a full-time program. For students who need to stay close to home, but want to expand their educational experience, there are a plethora of undergraduate and graduate distance courses offered online, via radio, television, DVDs and other media. 
How do I find a short-term program?
Ask the international program department at your college or university to see if they have exchange agreements with U.S. universities. Students can also check with EducationUSA, which has advising centers in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. 
Figure out what you want to study to narrow down the search for the right U.S. institutions online. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Khorana Program is a scientific exchange for U.S. and Indian biochemistry students. The program was created along with the Government of India and the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum in honor of Nobel laureate Har Gobind Khorana. For physics majors, the partnership offers the S.N. Bose Scholars Program. 
Students who have studied in the United States often make contacts that lead to internships. At the same time, American companies working in India may want to host Indian interns at home. Check company job posting websites for internships. 
Start your search for short-term programs at least a year in advance so you have enough time to complete all the application requirements and obtain your student or exchange visa.
The application process will vary based on the type of program you choose, so it’s best to confirm the requirements and details with the program directly. Most programs will require your transcripts and letters of recommendation. Follow each step meticulously. 
When it comes to budgeting, factor in tuition, study material, room and board, living expenses, health insurance and travel costs. According to the Institute of International Education, 21 percent of international students’ funding came from U.S. colleges or universities, and 7 percent came from foreign governments or universities during the 2012-13 school year. Try applying for funding from your home university, NGOs, social organizations or multinational companies. 
International experience helps a student gain priceless connections that will be beneficial in their future. By doing thorough research and exploring the options ahead of time, students are able to take advantage of the opportunities and gain a broader understanding of the world. 

Kimberly Gyatso is a freelance writer based in San Francisco.
  Photograph © Getty Images

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