College Center Room 518
The majority of students study off campus in their junior year, and most programs assume that applicants will be at this stage of their college careers. But it is often possible to go as a senior, usually in the fall, and sometimes as a sophomore, usually in the spring.
If you wish to study away as a sophomore you will need to start planning almost as soon as you arrive at Framingham State University, and demonstrate to a program, as well as to FSU, that you have the necessary experience and maturity, and a clear sense of how off-campus study will fit into your education; most students cannot be expected to be able to do this until they have completed at least a year at the University.
How long? Consider very carefully how the length of time you spend away will affect your Framingham State University career. Consider which FSU courses you will be unable to take if you study off campus.
Summer and Faculty led. This can be the perfect solution when a longer term will not fit neatly into your academic program. These choices offer you a "taste" of a new language and culture, although necessarily a shortened one.
Full year. A full year away is encouraged where it is academically advisable or necessary. A year abroad certainly offers students in areas such as foreign languages a much better chance to acquire a profound understanding of a language and culture. Some good programs are also offered only as full-year options, or their single-term dates may not be fully compatible with Framingham's. Your academic requirements at FSU, however, may make a full year impractical; and after a year away many students find it difficult to reenter the life of the FSU campus, to organize senior-year honors projects, or to make the necessary early start on applications for jobs, grants, or further study. There are many excellent single-semester options, and after a single semester it is easy to extend a stay in a country through the winter or summer vacation.
Single semester. If you decide to apply for a single semester of off-campus study, weigh the academic advantages of both fall and spring semesters. Make sure that the courses that interest you are open for part-year study. Look carefully at the dates of terms and examinations, which may be significantly different from FSU's. In certain European countries the academic calendar makes it hard or impossible to enroll in university classes in the fall; and in the southern hemisphere our "fall" semester (their spring, or semester II) typically starts in early July, taking a large bite out of your summer vacation and putting you on an earlier billing cycle.
Two separate semesters. Students who have tried this may have felt initially that they were making the most of their junior year, but they have often come back reporting that they experienced considerable disruption and cultural disorientation, and were unable to absorb and process the lessons of the first program before plunging into a new environment. Without enough energy to commit to the second program, they often withdraw before it starts. If you think you can make a strong case for the viability and academic value of two separate programs, you should make quite sure that your advisors understand and approve of your plans for both semesters. You are also strongly advised to discuss your plans in detail and well in advance with the OIE Office.