Are you looking to study abroad, but are a little worried about being on your own in a foreign country since it’s your first time abroad? Are you hesitant to commit to the independence of an exchange program? Do you want to get the most bang for your buck while studying abroad? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a UK Partner program might be for you!
A partner program is one that is organized and overseen by a third party partner organization, like ISA or Arcadia. Having participated in an ISA program in Valencia, Spain, I got to experience the benefits of a partner program, and I want to share some of them with you!
- Organization makes going abroad a breeze. Your partner provider will be there to assist you in your education abroad experience, from the application to the last day of your program. They will organize your housing, help you choose your courses, and give you a plethora of information on things like safety, transportation, culture, the program schedule, and so much more.
- Partner program staff members are a vital resource to students. Once you are abroad, the staff will be there to assist you with anything you need. If you’re having a hard time adjusting to life abroad, or you just need simple tips on where to eat and how to get around, there will be someone for you to reach out to. ISA had an office that was literally steps from the university at which I studied, so the other students on my program and I would stop in almost every day to talk to staff, get help with anything we needed, and take advantage of their Wi-Fi.
- Pre-planned excursions to other locations around your host city. One of the main reasons why I chose to participate in a partner program was that there were a few excursions that were included with the program fee. I knew that I wanted to get the most out of my experience and visit multiple places while abroad, so the partner program was very beneficial to me in that aspect. They transported us to places like Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo, and organized visits to cultural locations in Valencia. They made it easy for me to experience multiple places with little effort.
- Easy ways to get immersed in the culture of your host country. Partner organizations work for and support every individual student, and they want them to have the best experience possible. They want students to really dive into the community in which they are temporarily living, and they have many outlets for students to do this in. Once a week, my program staff organized an event at a local bar where we could converse with local students in order to practice our Spanish language skills. It is activities like these that allowed me to be truly immersed in the Valencian culture.
These are just a few of the many reasons why I am thankful for my decision to participate in a UK Partner program. If these spark your interest, check out UK Education Abroad and see what a partner program can do for you!
Photo courtesy of Adam Kiser.
Adam Kiser is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky studying Animal Science. Adam participated in the ISA Valencia program in summer 2015.