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How to Choose a Pepperdine Study Abroad Program

Pasta or pretzels? Presidents or Patagonia? Pandas or Parliament? With seven amazing locations to choose from, selecting which study abroad program you're interested in is no easy task. To help make your decision a little easier, we compiled some advice on how to get started.

1.) Your Four Year-Plan is Your Friend

It might sound obvious, but studying abroad does actually involve studying. Therefore it's a good idea to choose a program offering classes that will help you on your road to graduation. Look at each program's page to find out which classes are being offered where, and make sure you can take the minimum number of units (12 units per semester for academic year, fall, or spring programs, and 4–8 units for summer programs). Your academic advisor can help you make a four-year plan so that at the end of your time abroad, you'll be speeding like a bullet train on your way to Paris (and by that we mean graduation)!

2.) Visualize, Prioritize, Compare

Take a second to close your eyes and imagine yourself abroad. Take note of the environment and people around you. Are you in a big city or the countryside? What do you see, hear, smell? Now open your eyes and make a mental list of your goals for your study abroad experience. Which of these goals is most important to you?

Below are some key facts about our six global campus locations that may impact your decision.

Location Population Housing Foreign Language Taught Conversion Rate Faculty-in-Residence (2019–2020)
Buenos Aires, Argentina 2.9 million Homestay with Argentine family Spanish 1 Argentine peso = $0.044 USD Dr. Stephen Davis, biology
Florence, Italy 383, 083 Villa, approx. 2-4 students / room Italian 1 euro = $1.20 USD Professor Ty Pownall, art
Heidelberg, Germany 159, 914 Moore Haus, approx. 2–6 students / room German 1 euro = $1.20 USD Dr. Julianne Smith, English
Lausanne, Switzerland 146,372 Maison du Lac, 2 students / room French 1 Swiss franc = $1 USD Dr. Charles Choi, communication
London, England 8.8 million 56 Princes Gate, approx. 2–6 students / room N/A 1 British pound = $1.35 USD Dr. Karen Martin, biology
Washington DC, USA 693, 972 The DC House, 2 students / room N/A N/A Dr. Chris Soper, political science (Fall); Dr. Paul Jones, economics (Spring)

We also offer faculty-led programs each summer in several locations. Check them out

3.) Ask an Expert, but . . . Keep an Open Mind

Guess what? There are literally hundreds of people on campus who have made this exact same decision. Ask them what factors influenced their decision, and if they went abroad, what their experience was like. Wondering who to ask? Come to The Return on Alumni Lawn on August 30 at 6:30PM to meet program alumni from all our locations. We also have program ambassadors that represent each of the six IP locations who would be happy to grab coffee with you. Finally, your RAs, SLA, and freshman seminar mentor are all great resources.

Remember that you are the master of your own destiny! Though lots of people may give you well-intentioned advice, only you will really know what's right. Based on our experience, here are some not so good reasons to choose a program:

  1. "All my friends are going to _____!"

You will make new friends in your program, just ask any of our alumni! And your amazing suite mates/Greek brothers and sisters/crush will still be around when you get back.

   2.  "My (parents/significant other/friend) said that _____ is the obvious choice."

Receiving advice is really important, but listen to your gut. Only you will know deep down which program is really right for you.

   3.  "I heard that everyone in ____ is _____."

Stereotypes are misleading. Don't let generalized and (probably) inaccurate descriptions of a culture/language/location get the best of you.

4.) Thou Shalt Have a Second (and Third, and Fourth) Choice

Remember that only two out of three applicants are placed in their first-choice program due to space constraints. So, while it's a good idea to think carefully about your first-choice program, your ultimate goal should be to go abroad. Because going abroad is awesome and all of our programs are awesome (we're not biased or anything).

You got this! If you need advice or have specific questions, come to the IP Open House (at the IP Office) on September 6 to get all your questions answered. Happy travels!