Current Colby students must review and follow guidelines in the OCS Handbook.
It is never too early to start planning! You should first spend time considering what type of experience you want and what your goals are to determine what your options will be. The Colby office of Off-Campus Study will contact all sophomores in September of the sophomore year to begin the application and planning process for studying off-campus during their junior year. You will be informed about the application deadlines, policies and procedures for studying off-campus.
There are many different types of programs and it is important to decide what kind is better for you and your goals using the Choosing your off-campus study program worksheet. Programs vary greatly in terms of their content and focus, their structure, degrees of cultural immersion, etc… There are university-based programs (where you enroll directly or through a program provider), study center based programs, field-based or research programs, language intensive programs, and internship programs. Programs also differ in terms of where they are located, the language of instruction, and their options for housing. Colby has a list of over 200 approved programs in over 60 countries worldwide, and a few domestic options.
What is a Colby Program?
Colby programs are administered and supervised by Colby College. They are: Colby in Salamanca, Colby in Dijon, Colby in St Petersburg, or Colby at Bigelow Laboratory. Grades received and courses taken abroad on a Colby program will appear on your transcript and will count in your Colby GPA like when you are on campus.
What is a Colby-approved program?
These programs are sponsored by other American and foreign universities and are approved for Colby students by the Advisory Committee on Off-Campus Study. Colby approved over 200 approved programs in over 60 countries worldwide. Grades earned and courses taken abroad on a Non-Colby program are posted on your transcript by the registrar but do not figure in your Colby GPA.
How do I know if a program is Colby-approved or not?
Programs approved by the Advisory Committee on Off-Campus Study are indicated on the Off-Campus Study Opportunities list on the OCS website and in the student OCS Handbook by the letter “A” or “Approved”. Programs listed as “P” or “Petition”. Program not listed on Colby’s program list are not approved.
Colby offers students the opportunity to study on Non-Colby programs that meet our criteria and are consistent with our philosophy of study abroad and have been tried by Colby students and approved by Colby’s Off-Campus Study Advisory Committee. Knowledge of these programs is kept current through student evaluations and staff and faculty visits. Programs may be added to or removed from the list as more appropriate opportunities emerge. Please do not assume, because you know that a Colby student participated in a particular program in the past, that the program is on the approved list as Colby requires at least 3 students to participate in a program and review it favorably before it can be approved.
Approved programs must meet the following standards:
- They must provide an educational experience which is consistent in quality with the educational experience at Colby, and which can reinforce, complement, and broaden a student’s educational program at Colby.
- They must contain a substantial academic component of high quality.
- Study abroad programs must provide a cultural experience and, when appropriate, a linguistic experience that are consistent with the goals stated above. To promote cultural integration, at least a full semester must normally be spent in a single host country.
There are many on-campus resources to help you decide where to study and how to choose the right program for you. The more people you speak with, the more research you do and thought you invest into choosing your program, the better your ultimate choice will be! Start by attending the Off-Campus Study Fair and reviewing the information in your OCS handbook and OCS office. Consult your advisor or major department’s off-campus Faculty liaison or schedule an appointment with an OCS staff member. Speak with returned students and review the online student evaluations.
How can I make an appointment to talk with someone about off-campus study?
Yes, you can call (207) 859-4500 or stop by Eustis 103 to schedule an appointment with an OCS advisor
Where can I find more information about off-campus study programs?
In addition to the resources in the Getting Started section of our website, there is information on the different types of programs and links to each program’s website on the Opportunities page of the OCS website.
My friend at home went to xyz and had a blast so that’s what I want to do!
While tempting, this approach greatly narrows your options and may lead to unsuitable programs. In all of this please remember to make your needs and goals your first priority; find the program that is best suited for YOU. You’ll be glad you did.
First, be sure you understand how payment and financial aid for off-campus study work at Colby. Costs of programs and locations vary tremendously and the costs of living, exchange rates, visas, etc.. vary greatly depending on your destination and citizenship. In many cases, the overall costs are less than Colby’s Comprehensive Fee but some can be significantly more. Costs are available on program and university web sites. There is an Off-Campus Study Budget Planning Worksheet to help you estimate how much money you will need. Up-to-date information on currency exchange rates is available at XE Currency and websites such as numbeo can help estimate cost of living in countries around the world.
Where will I be living abroad?
Housing options are a key area to research when you are comparing different programs. Some programs offer a choice, some do not. Generally, the options range from family homestays, dormitory living or sharing an apartment with American, other international and/or host country students. Depending on the arrangements on your program, you might be eating meals with your host family, cooking in apartment kitchens, or taking meals in the university restaurants/cafeterias/pubs. There are typically no meal plans (or limited meal plans) at most universities abroad. Some programs include a variety of housing situations in the course of the semester. Think about your own comfort level and we encourage you to read student evaluations and talk with students who have experience with the different options in order to decide what housing is best for you.
Relax and recognize that this is a decision that takes time to evolve so starting early gives you time to think things through. Few students know instantly that they want to study abroad, where, and for how long. It takes time to sort it out, to think through the opportunities available, and to evaluate the trade-offs involved. Start by thinking about your goals for study abroad and use the Choosing your off-campus study program worksheet to help you narrow it down. Do you want to improve your proficiency in a foreign language? Sharpen your focus on your major? Learn about a culture very different from your own? The more clearly you can articulate your goals, the easier it will be to find a suitable program.
Talk with your advisor about how to integrate study abroad into your overall program at Colby. If you’d like to meet with an OCS staff member for some help finding the “right program” for your personal and academic objectives, please schedule an appointment.