Education Abroad Network!!
That's right, this is a straight up plug for the Education Abroad Network. The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) is the company that I went through when I went abroad to New Zealand last year (has it already been that long?!). Anyways, I was and still am completely satisfied with my experience with TEAN. They were there for me from start to finish, and even now everyone still knows who I am.
For any of my readers out there who may be thinking about studying abroad, I would definitely recommend going over with TEAN, if you can. If you can't, for whatever reason, I still advise you to go. And even if you're not studying, just GO! GO ABROAD! Travel the world and have fun! There is so much more in this world than where you live now. Even vacations aren't quite the same as traveling, especially without an agenda. There's something freeing when you realize that you don't have any plans to be somewhere or do something. You can decide to take a train north or a bus east or a ferry south, etc. Yes it can be scary occasionally (where am I going to sleep?) but then when you get to your destination for the day and you find this mostly empty hostel with an amazingly kind man running the place, it doesn't seem bad at all, especially when you have friends with you.
For any of you interested, you can catch up on some of my New Zealand travels here- Dunedin Bluff Milford Sound When you travel without an itinerary is when you find some of the really cool and interesting spots that a place has to offer.
So back to TEAN, you can visit them here, and you can read some of their reviews here. Keep in mind that TEAN offers programs to Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. So no, they do not go to Europe. In addition to semesters abroad, TEAN also offers a full year and summer programs.
One of the things that I specifically loved about TEAN was that they get everybody together before you actually arrive at your campus. They do an in-country orientation specifically to introduce you to the new culture. This is 1) really helpful for not embarrassing yourself or someone else and 2) really fun. It also means you get to know your fellow study abroad participants. I myself was one of four going to Massey University Palmerston North.
If any of you out there have any questions about TEAN or my time abroad feel free to let me know. I am actually an ambassador for TEAN so I know my stuff. And if I don't, I can lead you to a person who does. If any of you are further interested in my time abroad, feel free to check out any of my previous posts from February to June 2011!