Talking to your student about studying away
Approximately half of all Williams juniors study for a semester or year at one of our many approved study-away programs or universities. Carefully chosen and continually evaluated, these programs provide full credit toward the Williams degree and offer outstanding opportunities to learn about another culture, master another language, and engage in an academic internship or research domestically or abroad.
These are affordable opportunities. Unlike most colleges, which charge full “home” tuition and fees to students studying away, Williams charges only a $1,500 fee above each program’s tuition and fees. Even more, we meet the financial need of aided students as we do when they’re studying here on campus. (Learn more here.)
We especially encourage your student to consider our Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford University for their entire junior year. This is a rare and unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the rigorous tutorial system at one of the oldest and most prestigious academic institutions in Europe. Additionally, if your student prefers to stay a bit closer to Williams for a semester, we encourage them to consider the multi-disciplinary coastal campus at Williams-Mystic at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. Both of these study away experiences are unique to Williams and offer wonderful opportunities for immersive and experiential learning for full Williams academic credit.
Many students say that studying away marks the high point of their Williams careers—real adventures resulting in profound personal change. Here are three ways you can help us to help your student decide if studying abroad is truly what they want to do and, if so, which program could be the right fit.
1. Encourage your student to review all of our study-away opportunities in light of their Williams experience to date and think hard about how studying away might enrich their education going forward. How will a program dovetail with their academic interests? What might they learn or experience that they can’t learn at Williams? How might studying abroad help define or focus their post-Williams plans? In short, encourage them to choose a program because it really matters to them as individuals and to their future.
2. Lean back and let your student choose the program that works for them. This may be the first time they immerse themselves in a new experience simply because it’s intriguing and exciting. They may also want to enhance their learning beyond what they have been exposed to here in the Williams classroom. Students who enter into study abroad have a myriad of reasons as to why and they enjoy truly transformative experiences that cast their entire Williams education in a new perspective, enriching and focusing their final semesters back on campus.
3. Ask them to take some time with you to review our application process. Make clear to your student that they are responsible for completing all of the required steps, including passport and visa requirements. This also includes taking care of health matters and vaccines, if necessary. Try to avoid the temptation (huge, at times!) to do this work for your student or to communicate with Williams on their behalf. Instead, tell them to come directly to us with any questions or requests for help they might have. As they learn to make their own preparations to study abroad, they’re gaining skills and confidence that will help ensure that the experience itself is a success!
4. Encourage them to sign up for International SOS and to post updates while they travel.
We truly enjoy working with all of our students through the application, decision, and departure process. Please encourage them to begin planning early and reach out to us with any questions they have. We look forward to helping them discover their next adventure away!
Director of International Education and Study Away