No Worries Wednesday - Education Timelines

Author: Alissa Ward

No Worries Wednesday is a series where blog contributors speak to a topic which they were worried before they participated in an education abroad experience. Leaving all that you are surrounded by and comfortable with can be challenging or even frightening. This series will hopefully dispel myths and ease worries for students who are considering taking part in exchanges, field schools or other international learning opportunities!


For my first worry, I’ll discuss the myth that participating in an education abroad program will extend your educational timeline. Many avoid looking into an exchange program simply because they think it will add time to their program. Contrary to this assumption, if planned strategically, education aboard programs can help you to graduate on time or potentially even early as it did for me! Follow my tips below to ensure you maintain your anticipated graduation date and get to experience an exchange.


1. Speak with your Academic Advisor Early

Your advisor will be able to help connect you with the program chair to ensure that the courses you take abroad will transfer back towards your program. By meeting with your advisor in the earlier years of your program, they will be able to help guide you to choosing what courses you should take at VIU and what ones you can leave to solidify your exchange credits. By doing this, you may be able to leave many of your electives to take abroad and maintain your core courses at VIU.


2. Find Courses with Transfer Credits

Depending on where you are in your post-secondary education, and the education abroad program you have selected, finding courses with transfer credits is important. Whether you have chosen to take core courses, electives, or a mix of both while abroad, you want to ensure that the courses you register and pay for will give you the credits you deserve. Not all courses you take abroad will have a course equivalent at VIU, meaning they will not be considered a transfer credit, so spending the time to speak with the program chair and compare courses at VIU and your selected partner institution will ensure that you don’t extend your education by participating in an education abroad program.

My field school actually allowed me to graduate early. By double majoring in Management and International Business, through taking a few summer classes each year, and going on my field school during a summer session, I’ll be graduating in 3.5 years as opposed to the traditional 4 years. By planning early to fulfill my required international credits during the summer, rather than over an entire semester, this helps abolish the myth that education abroad programs extend your education. Planning an education abroad program early on in your program will help eliminate the possibility of extending your timeline by setting aside specific course credits to take while abroad and completing only the ones you still need to complete.

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