How to Study Abroad: ladies enjoying the moment.

Learn for School Credit vs. Learn for Fun: Pros, Cons, Prices, and Time Commitments

When considering the pursuit of knowledge and experiences abroad, two distinct motivations often come to the forefront: learning for school credit and learning for fun. Both avenues offer unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Here, we delve into the pros, cons, prices, and time commitments associated with each approach.

Table of Contents

Learning for School Credit

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  1. Academic Enrichment: Learning for school credit allows you to enhance your academic knowledge and skills while earning credits toward your degree.
  2. Structured Learning: You’ll typically follow a structured curriculum aligned with your academic program, ensuring that your studies abroad align with your career goals.
  3. Global Networking: Engaging with fellow students and professors from around the world can expand your academic network and open doors to future collaborations.
  4. Cultural Immersion: You’ll have opportunities for cultural immersion both inside and outside the classroom, enriching your understanding of the host country.


  1. Financial Considerations: Studying for school credit abroad can be costly, with expenses including tuition, travel, accommodation, and daily living costs.
  2. Academic Rigor: Depending on the program and institution, academic expectations may be high, requiring diligent study and adaptation to a different learning environment.
  3. Home Comforts: Being far from the familiarity of home may lead to homesickness and require adjustment to a new culture and lifestyle.


The cost of studying for school credit abroad varies widely based on factors such as the destination, program duration, and the university or institution you choose. Tuition fees can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per semester. Additionally, you’ll need to budget for travel, accommodation, food, textbooks, and personal expenses.

Time Commitment

The time commitment aligns with the duration of your chosen program. Semester programs usually last 3-5 months, while full academic year programs cover 9-10 months. Short-term programs and summer sessions can be as brief as a few weeks to a couple of months.


Start Searching Here:

  • If you’re already studying, ask your department or school if they have exchange programs
  • Semester at Sea. This is a program where you live on a cruise ship with students from universities worldwide and visit multiple countries while
  • Directly enroll in a university program abroad.

Learning for Fun

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  1. Adventure: Learning for fun allows you to explore new places, cultures, and cuisines while embarking on exciting adventures.
  2. Personal Growth: It fosters personal development, independence, and adaptability as you navigate a foreign environment.
  3. New Friendships: You’ll meet people from around the world, creating friendships and memories that can last a lifetime.
  4. Cultural Immersion: Immerse yourself in the local culture, gaining insights and experiences that go beyond traditional tourist activities.


  1. Financial Considerations: While it’s an incredible experience, learning for fun can strain your finances. Make sure to budget wisely.
  2. Academic Focus: You may not earn school credit for these programs, so it’s important to balance your desire for adventure with academic goals.



The cost of learning for fun varies greatly depending on factors like destination, program type, and personal spending habits. It’s crucial to set a budget that covers travel, accommodation, food, entertainment, and any planned excursions.

Time Commitment

The time commitment for learning for fun can be flexible, ranging from a few weeks for language courses or cultural experiences to several months for a more immersive adventure. The duration is often tailored to your preferences and availability.


Programs to Check Out

So, whether you’re learning for school credit or for fun, studying or exploring abroad can be a life-changing experience. Consider the pros and cons, plan your budget, and align your goals to make the most of your international learning adventure. Whichever path you choose, the knowledge, experiences, and memories gained from learning abroad will stay with you for a lifetime.

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I'm a bestselling author, hotel reviewer and pickleball player. I teach women how to travel the world solo without going broke or getting kidnapped.
In 2011, I left Seattle with just $200 in my pocket to travel the world solo. Today, I'm the founder and creator of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide, the #1 travel guide book series for women - and the author of The One-Way Ticket Plan. 

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