When you think of North America, do you think of Stars and Stripes, New York, Fast Food, the Golden Gate Bridge or Hollywood? These associations say a lot about the role that the USA plays in North America: The third largest country on earth is also the wealthiest country on the continent and still holds a political and economic supremacy in the world. The USA is also rich in spectacular landscapes. Who doesn’t know the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or the tropical beaches of Hawaii? But of course a semester abroad in North America has a lot more to offer.
A continent with many faces
According to countryaah, the largest area of North America in terms of area is not the USA, but its northern neighbor Canada. The vast country has largely untouched wilderness. Bears, moose and bison live in the vast forest areas, vast steppe landscapes and the mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains.
The Canadian cities and metropolises are characterized by their high quality of life and a huge range of leisure activities. Canadians are known for their openness and hospitality.
But not only Canada and the USA, but also Mexico, located south of the USA, is part of the North American continent as abbreviated on abbreviationfinder. Located between the Caribbean and the Pacific, the country has wonderful beaches and a colorful underwater world. The ruins of ancient Mayan and Aztec temples and Mexican cuisine are also world famous for good reason.
For a semester abroad in North America, there are also other countries: Few of them know that the countries of Central America and the Caribbean are geographically part of North America. Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama await with lots of sun, green rainforests and breathtaking coastlines. The island states of Cuba, Jamaica or the Bahamas also offer white postcard beaches and the incomparable lifestyle of the Caribbean.
Reasons for a semester abroad in North America
A semester abroad in North America is at the top of the hit list of German students. The reasons for this are numerous. No wonder! Because where so many different countries come together, you get a lot on offer. Regardless of whether you want to improve your English, French or Spanish skills or attend courses at an elite university: in North America everyone can find what they want.
Acquire and / or expand language skills
The three world languages with the highest international significance are spoken in North America: English, French and Spanish. If you want to improve your French as well as your English, Canada is exactly the right place for you. Due to its colonial history, English and French are the official languages there.
If, on the other hand, you want to spruce up your Spanish and immerse yourself in Latin American culture, you should orientate further south. The universities of Mexico now also have semester programs that enable international students to get to know Mexico’s student life for one or two semesters. Some universities now even offer courses in English, so it is possible to spend a semester in Mexico even if you have little knowledge of Spanish.
Semester abroad at an elite North American university
In addition to beautiful nature and impressive cities and buildings, the USA in particular is known around the world for its outstanding universities. The universities of Canada also offer study at the highest level. If you want to gain study experience at an elite university and thus polish your résumé, the two largest states in North America are exactly the right place for you.
The semester programs in North America enable students to study for one or two semesters at their chosen university. In particular, the range of courses offered by US universities far exceeds the range of courses customary in Germany. In most cases, students can take courses from the full range of courses at the university. The students are therefore spoiled for choice: they can adapt the courses to their schedule at their German home university or put them together according to other interests. The course achievements are recorded in the form of a transcript of records. After prior agreement with the examinations office of the home university, there is the possibility of studying the courses obtained in North AmericaTo have academic achievements credited towards studying in Germany. This makes it possible to gain experience abroad without necessarily having to extend your studies.
Experience cultural diversity
North America is a melting pot of nationalities, languages and cultures. Its metropolises are unique. A semester abroad in North America offers the opportunity to get to know American college life firsthand, to go on excursions to surrounding metropolises or national parks and to make international friends. Thousands of students from all over the world flock to North American universities. Every country, every region and every city has its own charms. The possibilities, like North America itself, are endless.
Applying for a semester abroad in North America
A decisive advantage of the semester programs in North America is the low organizational effort. Compared to an application for a full degree, it is much easier here. One of the reasons for this is that the exchange students are not aiming for a degree and therefore do not compete for places. As a rule, the universities only expect the (technical) Abitur and proof of sufficient language skills (TOEFL, IELTS or DAAD language certificate). Some universities in Canada and Mexico even completely waive a formal language certificate for applicants from the German-speaking area.
Cost of a study semester in North America
The cost of a semester abroad in North America depends on the country and university you want to study in. US universities have the highest tuition fees. The average tuition fee there is between US $ 4,000 and US $ 11,000 per semester.
A semester abroad in Canada is a little cheaper, but here, too, you have to pay tuition fees between CAN $ 5,000 and CAN $ 9,000. However, many universities also charge the fees per course. That means: the fewer courses the less the expenses.
The cost of living in Canada and the cost of living in the US are roughly the same as in Germany, although there are also differences between large cities and rural regions. In Mexico and the Central American countries, with the exception of Mexico City, the cost of living is significantly lower.
There are various options for making the semester abroad in North America affordable. The state supports semesters abroad also in non-European countries through services within the framework of the BAföG abroad. The funding amount includes a maximum of EUR 4,600 towards tuition fees. The office also covers the travel and living expenses on a pro rata basis. The funding received only has to be partially repaid. Since the assessment limits for foreign BaföG are higher, those of you who do not receive BaföG in Germany also have a chance. It can therefore be worthwhile to obtain information from the responsible BAföG offices.
Another way to finance a semester abroad in North America is through scholarships. In Germany, for example, the DAAD, the Fulbright Commission and various other organizations award different scholarships. We also award five scholarships to students in various fields twice a year. In addition, the universities in North America themselves occasionally award scholarships to international semester students. Another way to realize the dream of a semester abroad in North America is a low-interest education or student loan.
North America visa and entry requirements
In order to finally be able to start the semester abroad in North America, a few more formalities must be completed. A visa is required for most countries in North America. An exception is Canada, where a passport is sufficient for a stay of less than six months. For longer stays and for the other states of North America you have to apply for a visa at the embassies or consulates in good time.
Anyone traveling to Mexico or Central America should also see a travel doctor a few weeks before departure to get vaccinated. Closes for your semester abroad in North America definitely a travel insurance from! US and Canadian universities offer insurance packages when you enroll, but German international health insurance is often the cheaper alternative.