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Is an International Experience right for you?

Aug 10, 2022

Is an International Experience right for you?

Many of you have asked us about going to college in another country.  The best, shortest answer is “It depends”.  Let’s take a look:

Option 1: Going to an international college for your entire experience

There are many colleges and universities, in many countries, that offer dance as a major, or in combination with musical theatre, theatre, or arts/dance education.

Things to consider: 

Do you speak another language?
Are you comfortable in another culture? 
Are you comfortable being away from your friends and family for long periods of time? 
How well can you manage getting around in an unknown city?  

Option 2: Going to an international college for a year or a semester.

This is an easier choice for many students since they will get an exciting experience in an international city and be able to add this experience to their resume.  Be certain you can continue your dance program at this institution, or be able to study a new dance form to add to your repertoire. Your academic advisor should be able to answer your questions in this area.

Other international possibilities...

If either of these possibilities are not possible, but you still want an international experience, perhaps you should consider taking a “sandwich” year that is common in Europe and other countries around the world. 

What is a sandwich year? 

Generally taken between the second and third year of university, a sandwich year is one in which you do an internship or volunteer project for the year and return to university after the internship has been completed.  This is a great idea if you are in Arts Administration and want to intern in a dance venue.  Perhaps you want to study for a year with a new dance teacher, or study a new form of dance entirely. Again, speak with your Academic Advisor.  And, of course, you should also speak with your family about this.

The beauty of an international experience is that it adds to your “human experience”: Who you are, what you consider important to your life/human experience, and adding different perspectives to your world view. 

For some people who prefer staying in a protected shell, moving about in an international experience can be quite unsettling, but as a dancer, the more you add to your world view, the more you can expand your dance movement and your artistry.

An international experience is an excellent choice for most people because it gets them “outside of themselves” and adds immeasurably to their existing lives. But it is not for everyone, so be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to move forward and do something different. Different can be good, but, again, it is not for everyone.


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Photo Credit: Ian Schneider

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