For U.S. Students: Gap Year Options and International Universities

A photo which reflects college advisors Miami at International College Counselors offer tips on gap year options and international universities for US Students.

Why should I study overseas?

Have you ever dreamed of having an adventurous travel filled college experience? Riding your bike past tulip fields on your way to class, taking a stroll along the River Thames as you head to the Shakespeare Theater, or riding the bullet train across Japan. Does the idea of studying alongside students from around the world with varying cultural backgrounds sound intellectually stimulating? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then studying overseas or gap year options might be the right fit for you!

There are many accredited and highly ranked universities outside of the United States in North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania that offer both undergraduate and graduate studies. Oftentimes these universities are more affordable than studying in the United States and allow students the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures. Going abroad not only allows students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture but also allows them to grow as individuals in ways they could never have imagined.

What types of universities exist overseas?

Did you know that US universities exist overseas? Some examples include The American University of Paris, NYU Abu Dhabi, Duke Kunshan University, and Temple University Japan. These types of universities are US style campuses located outside of the United States. Admissions is similar to applying domestically and these programs are four years and allow for the depth and breadth that US universities are known for, allowing students to take more exploratory courses prior to selecting their intended major. Some countries such as Canada and Australia offer university options similar in structure to the four-year educational style in the United States.

Alternatively, many countries have English speaking universities that somewhat differ from the US system. These programs are typically found in the UK, Europe, and Asia and tend to be more specialized, which means students will take classes in one field of study. These programs also tend to be three years rather than four, and students focus on their chosen major during those three years. It is important that students who apply to these types of universities know what they want to study, as changing your major can be difficult. In order to apply, universities with three-year programs typically require students to have taken college-level courses and exam scores while in high school, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge Exams (AICE).

Where in the world can I study?

There are so many gap year options and international university opportunities around the globe! From Canada to Europe, to Asia and Oceania, there are university options everywhere. Here are a few fun facts about the various places where students can undertake their college studies.  

  • Canadian universities tend to be close to the US border, which means the average temperature is typically not much colder than in the Northern United States.
  •  The Netherlands has a commitment to international education and offers one of the most affordable college educations. Twelve of the thirteen research universities in Holland offer academic programs in English.
  •  The UK is English speaking with a diverse array of options in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.
  • Switzerland offers some of the best hospitality schools in the world.
  • Japan and Singapore both have universities that offer programs in English.
  • While Australia may seem far away, you can catch a direct flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Sydney or Melbourne. Boasting world-class and highly-ranked universities, Australia has a lot to offer students both in and out of the classroom.
  • Many Jewish students will head to Israel for a gap year, but did you know students can also obtain their bachelor’s degree at accredited universities there?  

 Will I still find a job when I graduate?

Many students and their parents worry about whether a degree obtained overseas will translate into a job or career in the United States when completed, and the answer is yes. Students with international experience often have interesting CV’s and do well in the interview process. The knowledge they gain of the wider world can greatly benefit them in the job interview process. The skills they gain while living internationally oftentimes sets them apart from their peers.

How do I apply?

While some international universities are on the Common App, many applications differ by country and university. There are various application processes that range from specific application portals to directly applying to the school. While US universities want to know the ins and outs of your personality, a lot of other countries only want to know what you’ve done to prepare for your chosen area of study.

International College Counselors

No matter where your family is in the college admissions process, International College Counselors can help you with every aspect, including colleges in the U.S., Europe, and other parts of the world and gap year options. Call us at 954-414-9986 to discuss how we can support you and your family! We can help you connect with some great international universities and gap year options.