5 Reasons to Do a Winter Study Abroad Program

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January in Taipei

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College Study Abroad

Participating in a January term study abroad program is an amazing way to explore a dream destination and expand your global perspective without missing out on any important on-campus courses or events during your primary semesters. So, you’ll really be getting the best of both worlds with a winter study abroad program! 

In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about January study abroad opportunities, so you can prepare to warm up with engaging hot-topic courses, and cozy into the experience of a lifetime!  

reasons to do a winter study abroad program

Can You Study Abroad in the Winter? 

Here at CIEE, we have an easy answer to this question: Of course! There are many interesting options for winter break study abroad programs that can suit any schedule.  

Whether you’re a college athlete looking to take advantage of the off-season, a student who prefers warmer climates in the winter, or a scholar with course-packed semesters, a January study abroad program offers all the benefits of regular-term study abroad sessions in a shorter period. And with CIEE’s many incredible location choices for J-Term programs, winter is simply a fabulous time to go on an adventure!  

winter study abroad students visit temple

Read More: Short-Term Study Abroad: Everything You Need to Know 

Is Winter Study Abroad Worth It? 

A winter study abroad program is totally worth it! With dozens of options to choose from, winter study abroad programs make for an exciting time of travel, and you’ll benefit from an enhanced education and a deeper global awareness. Plus, depending on which location you choose, you may even get to experience summer weather during winter. Now that is a top reason to consider study abroad programs during winter break. 
Whether your interests lie in seeing the sights of London, studying Latin America’s largest indigenous culture in the Yucatán Peninsula, or discovering the rich history of beautiful Paris, with our many January term study abroad program offerings, you’ll find the one that fits your schedule and aligns with your personal and academic interests.   

Here are just a few of the winter study abroad programs we offer that are jam-packed with interesting courses and excursion options that will make for a study abroad dream come true: 

And TONS more! All our J-Term programs guarantee an amazing, educational adventure, so feel free to browse through our offerings to find your perfect match for a winter abroad. Bonus: You can even search for programs geared toward your specific interests. 

singapore j term students

Read More: 10 Best J-Term Study Abroad Programs 

What Is the Best Season to Study Abroad? 

All seasons have unique characteristics that make any study abroad program a terrific experience, and that includes winter study abroad programs! 

Plus, it is often customary in the United States to make New Year’s resolutions and establish fresh beginnings or commitments in the month of January. What better way to celebrate that sentiment than visiting an exciting new place where you’ll build relationships, deepen your understanding of fascinating cultures, and engage in new experiences? And the best part? You’ll even earn credits toward your degree while doing so. 

New year, new country. We definitely like the sound of that! 

And if summery weather is calling your name during the heart of winter, be sure to check out CIEE’s winter study abroad programs in warmer climates, including January in Singapore, January in Santiago DR, and January in Buenos Aires

By now, we know you’re officially considering a January term study abroad, so the next step is determining your winter study abroad program destination. Choosing can be tough. Fortunately, we can help with that, too. 

Browse our detailed program offerings or take our fun quiz to discover where you should study abroad this January, and consider which locations may be calling you! 

5 Reasons to Do a Winter Study Abroad Program 

Between schedule demands and on-campus events, we know that there can be lots of reasons to stay local during J-Term. But we also know that there are tons of reasons why study abroad programs during winter break will make for an exciting, extraordinary season for learning new skills and exploring new surroundings.  

To help you with your considerations, we’ve compiled a list of our top five reasons to do a winter study abroad program. Let’s dive in! 

Reason #1: It's a short, cost-effective program option. 

Typically lasting three to four weeks, winter break study abroad programs are a great way to indulge in a full, vibrant study abroad experience without the requirement of a longer time commitment.  

And in general, winter study abroad programs are less expensive than longer-term study abroad offerings. With J-Term programs starting at $3,650, CIEE’s one-time fee covers most expenses including tuition, housing, 24/7 support, and more.  

prague winter study abroad students

Reason #2: You won't miss out on campus life. 

The best part about opting in for a January term study abroad opportunity is that it will be an entirely unique experience, usually taking place between your fall and spring semesters. You’ll get to learn about a new culture, interact with interesting new people, and possibly even learn a new language, all while maximizing your time off from your typical university schedule.

Another benefit worth mentioning: Studying abroad will help you sharpen your communication skills and build confidence, which will only strengthen your college career and your future professional career. With a winter study abroad program, you’ll do all of this in addition to your traditional studies at your university and increase your skillset while doing so.   

So, you won’t be missing out, you’ll be gaining more!  

Read More: Give Winter Break a Makeover with J-Term Study Abroad! 

Reason #3: You can earn college credit during your break. 

Have you ever wished you could receive college credit while exploring your interests and partaking in the things you love? You can do just that with study abroad programs during winter break. 

In addition to immersing yourself in fascinating coursework, with a winter study abroad program, you’ll be able to go on extraordinary excursions, taste cultural delicacies, and participate in interesting activities while you earn credits for your degree. You can even earn credits by attending the theatre in London, watching TV and listening to music in Amsterdam, or reading manga in Kyoto!  

So, while you certainly will be busy enhancing your education during a January term study abroad, you will also be engaging in a lot of fun activities that will make your trip exciting and worthwhile.  

Read More: Ever think you could earn credits eating pizza in Rome? 

Reason #4: You'll travel during the off-season.  

When you embark on a winter break study abroad program adventure, you’ll quickly realize that part of winter’s magic is the thrill of fewer crowds. By the time you begin your January term study abroad, most vacationers and holiday travelers have already made it to their destination, so you won’t be dealing with long lines and wait times, which will make for a smoother and more seamless trip.  

Additionally, any incredible excursions you are interested in will likely be more accessible and available. So, not only will you get to explore a new city, try delicious new food, and learn about incredible new cultures – you might even be first in line!  

Now that we’ve been talking about traveling, we know you’re probably wondering what to  
pack for study abroad so you can be ready to explore your location of choice. No worries – we’ve got you covered! We’ve compiled a list of essential items you’ll want to take with you for your January term study abroad. 

Your essential documents:  

  • Passport and photocopy (just in case) 
  • Visa and photocopy (just in case)  
  • A second form of valid ID (i.e., driver’s license or government-issued ID) 
  • Plane tickets 
  • Proof of health insurance 
  • Proof of CIEE enrollment 
  • Cash (be sure to check which currency is used in your location of choice)  

Other items:  

  • Comfortable walking shoes  
  • Swimwear (possibly, depending on your J-Term program of choice)  
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses  
  • Adapters to charge your tech in new electrical outlets 
  • Camera to capture all your destination has to offer   
  • Prescription medications covering the length of your trip 
  • Preferred over-the-counter medications  

Reason #5: You'll get a taste for study abroad (and can even go on a longer program later). 

It’s no secret that studying abroad is a fantastic experience that builds character, independence, and confidence while allowing you to expand your global perspective – no matter how long your session is.  

And when you return from your winter study abroad program, it’s totally normal to want to start planning your next adventure, and you might even be considering a longer-term session. Have no fear – CIEE is here! With dozens of programs and locations to choose from, you can go abroad again in no time.  

costa rica j term students rainforest waterfall

Take Your Studies Global this Winter 

A January study abroad program is guaranteed to be a fantastic way to get the most out of your winter break! Now it’s time to get ready for the opportunity of a lifetime – we’ll be sending you warm wishes for your winter study abroad adventure!