Preparing for Educational Travel: A CHECKLIST
1. Decide where you want to go.
Pick a specific city, country, or part of the world to give your research some basic focus.
2.Decide what you want to do.
Do you want to study a language, stay with locals, explore a hobby like birdwatching or kayaking or cooking, volunteer with a community group, or pursue some other educational activity? The options are seemingly endless, from studying at Cambridge to taking lessons in traditional medicine from an Indian healer to working on an organic farm in Honduras, so you'll need to develop some basic idea of what you'd like to do or learn abroad.
3. Research the options.
See accompanying article for best ways to start searching for programs and contacts.
4. Contact the programs.
Ask to be sent information. Follow up with specific questions (see criteria below). Also ask for names and phone numbers of past participants and call them.
5. Choose the program.
Each person should develop their own criteria for choosing the right program, but here are some suggestions:
-Homestays available/assistance with other accommodations
-Access to local community
-Access to cultural opportunities
-Qualifications of teachers
David Cline is the Managing Editor of Transitions Abroad (www.transitionsabroad.com), a 22-year old magazine focusing on all kinds of educational travel. 1 year subscription/$24.95. For more information call 800-293-0373.