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How to Choose a Pepperdine Study Abroad Program

Pasta or pretzels? Presidents or Patagonia? Pandas or Parliament? With so many 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, here is 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 academics 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). You can use Navigate to map out your four-year plan and then send it to your academic advisor for approval. Check out this handy guide to using Navigate to get started. Our blog post on selecting courses to take before studying abroad also has some useful tips to help you plan things out. Your academic advisor will review your plan so that at the end of your time abroad, you'll be speeding towards graduation like a bullet train on its way to Paris! 

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?

Homes and riverfront in Lausanne, Switzerland

Buenos Aires, Argentina 

Below are some key facts about our seven global campus locations that may impact your decision. You can also view the Faculty-in-Residence and Program Staff for each location on each program's page.

Location Population Housing Foreign Language Taught
Buenos Aires, Argentina 2.9 million Homestay with Argentine family Spanish
Florence, Italy 383,084 Villa, approx. 2–4 students / room Italian
Heidelberg, Germany 160,355 Moore Haus, approx. 2–6 students / room German
Hauteville, Switzerland (nearby town of Vevey) 17,676  Chateau d'Hauteville, approx. 2-6 students / room French
London, United Kingdom  8.9 million 56 Princes Gate, approx. 2–6 students / room Arabic
Washington, D.C., USA 705,749 The DC House, 2 students / room N/A

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

3. 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).

Seaver students gathered around a long table, sharing a meal in Buenos AiresFriends don't let friends miss out on going abroad!

4. Ask an Expert but... Keep an Open Mind

Guess what? There are literally hundreds of people at Seaver 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? We have IP Ambassadors that represent each of the seven IP locations who would be happy to meet with you. Finally, your RAs and SLA are 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:

  • "All my friends are going to _____!"

You will make new friends in your program. Just ask any of our alumni! And your amazing suitemates/greek brothers and sisters/crush will still be around when you get back.

  • "Someone at Pepperdine said that _____ is the obvious choice."

Receiving advice is super important, but follow your interests and academic needs.

  • "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.

You Got This!

Now you're ready to apply! Head to our blog post "How to Apply for an International Program" for more details.