Study-abroad programs range from basic language and culture courses to col lege-level classes, often for credit. In order to choose a program that best fits your needs, you will want to research all you can before making your decision determine costs and duration, as well as what kind of students participate in the program and what sort of accommodations are provided.
In programs that have large groups of students who speak the same lan guage, there is a trade-off. You may feel more comfortable in the community, but you will not have the same opportunity to practice a foreign language or to befriend other international students. For accommodations, dorm life pro vides a better opportunity to mingle with fellow students, but there is less of a chance to experience the local scene. If you live with a family, there is a poten tial to build lifelong friendships with natives and to experience day-to-day life in more depth, but conditions can vary greatly from family to family.
Some American schools still require students to pay them for credits obtained elsewhere. Most university-level study-abroad programs are meant as language and culture enrichment opportunities, and therefore are conducted in the local language. Still, many programs do offer classes in English and beginner- and lower-level language courses. Those relatively fluent in a foreign language, on the other hand, may find it cheaper to enroll directly in a university abroad, although getting college credit may be more difficult. The following is a list of organizations that can help place students in university programs abroad or have their own branches in Europe.
The following websites are good resources for finding programs that cater to your particular interests. Each has links to various study-abroad programs broken down by a variety of criteria, including desired location and focus of study.