Where do I go? How do I start? What do I do?
So you are interested in studying abroad hu! That is great! Westmont has some wonderful study abroad programs, and it is important to keep a few things under consideration as you are planning to go abroad.
Step #1: Plan accordingly with your General Education Requirements
Though you may not be sure what off campus programs you are interested in, it is important to plan ahead as you are looking to complete your general education and major requirements towards your degree. Most off campus programs will meet the last 4 Common Inquiry requirements:
Performing and Interpreting the Arts
Students will have an easy time integrating their off campus program into their general education requirements if they avoid taking classes for three of the four above sections in their general education. If you have already completed some or all of these areas, don’t worry, as many students will need additional elective units towards their degree. Consult with your academic advisor to see if you are still in a position to graduate while also going abroad.
Step #2: Know the different programs we have at Westmont College
We have many different programs, all over the world that you can choose from, and the only person who can narrow down the long list of places is you. So this will require a bit of exploration of the Off Campus programs website (http://www.westmont.edu/_offices/ocp/). You can look at the programs by region (area of the world) or by major (if you have declared your major). Some programs are only open to certain majors, and others are open to all students.
Many of the programs are ones that Westmont owns and staffs (Westmont in Mexico, Urban Semester, England Semester, Europe Semester, Mayterm Off Campus opportunities). On these programs you will be lead through the different countries and taught by Westmont professors.
There are other off campus programs that are owned and staffed by schools in our Christian Consortium. Through our association in the Christian Consortium, Westmont students can join students from schools like Gordon, Wheaton and Houghton on those off campus programs.
Finally, there are programs that are run by private companies, and Westmont students can go on these programs as well.
Many of the programs have GPA requirements linked to them, so try to keep your grades up as you are looking to go away. It is also important to note that you are applying for the programs, but in many cases the application process is competitive and you are not guaranteed a spot, even on the Westmont owned off campus programs.
Step #3: Consult with your Academic Advisor
Be sure to check in with your academic advisor to see if the off campus program will fit in with your major ideas and the time that you have left before earning your degree. Your advisor will know if there are Sophomore, Junior or Senior level classes that you have to take because of their limited offerings, or if there is work that you can take in the summer at your local junior college or 4 year school that would help open up your semester.
Your advisor may also want to check and make sure that you have a plan for how you will complete your remaining coursework in the semesters you have left, and may want you to officially declare your major and fill out an application for a degree prior to you leaving.
Step #4: Consult with the Off Campus Programs Department
Be sure to talk with the coordinator of the Off Campus Programs department as soon as you have decided on what program you want and made sure that it will fit in with the coursework you have remaining for your major. All of the programs have different deadlines, deposit costs and application procedures. The coordinator can help you navigate the steps needed to complete this process.
Step #5: Go abroad and have fun!
Provided that your application is accepted and all of the previous steps were worked out, you are all set to go away! While you are gone, the Student Records office will contact you to get a list of classes you are interested in taking during the semester after your program. If you have worked with your advisor to determine what classes you need, this will not take much of your time. If not, be sure to contact them over the summer to make sure that you are planning well!