Tips on Choosing a Destination University

With over sixty institutions to choose from, selecting a shortlist of five destination universities can be a daunting task!  Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to help you narrow down your choices.

1. Why am I going on JTA?

This is a question only you can answer. It involves reflection (and prayer!) on your values, on your goals, and on your expectations. Note that going on JTA is not the same as being a tourist in a different country.  You will be spending four to five months in a new place studying, attending classes, and living independently.  

2. Which institutions offer courses that can be credited to my degree? 

You are more likely to have a fulfilling academic experience if you look for institutions that offer degree programs that are the same as, similar to, or in a field related to yours.  Some universities might already have their course offerings on their websites.  If you need more information than what is available online, visit the OIR to check the university's prospectus or send an e-mail to the relevant department to inquire. Your home department will decide whether the classes offered by the destination university can be credited to your degree.

Apart from the course offerings, you may also want to look at each university's strength in your field.  Note that a university that is ranked highly overall might not necessarily be strong in your particular area of study.  

3. How independent am I?

How independent are you right now?  What degree of independence will be necessary at the university to which you intend to apply?  Will you be living in an on-campus dormitory, in off-campus housing, or with a host family?  Are there organized activities for international students, or will you be left to fend for yourself?  How will you get to school and around the city? If you think you will have difficulty adjusting to new levels of independence, it might make sense to choose a university with strong support structures for international or visiting students and with housing that is on or near the campus.  You can get a sense of how much support there is for international students by checking the universities' websites.  

4. What is my financial situation?

Take into consideration the financial resources available to you. Compare this with the costs you can expect to spend at each university or city. Some universities may charge lower tuition fees but be located in expensive cities.  On the other hand, you may find a suitable fee-paying program in a city with a low cost of living. In addition, note that the tuition fees for some fee-paying programs already include on-campus accommodation.

5. Can I speak the language? Am I willing to learn?  Or am I going abroad because I want to learn a new language?

Some universities require applicants to demonstrate proficiency in the university's main medium of instruction. On the other hand, there are universities that offer courses in English, but are located in cities where English is not widely spoken. What language skills will be required of you at each university?

6. Do I meet the institution's minimum grade requirement?

The SOH JTA Program requires applicants to have a minimum QPI of 2.8 at the time of application; however, some destination universities have higher minimum grade requirements than that.  Specifically, Nanzan University, Sophia University, Loyola Marymount, the National University of Singapore, St. Louis University in Madrid, and Liverpool Hope University all have a minimum QPI requirement of 3.0. Kyushu University in Japan has a minimum QPI requirement of 3.2.

7. Other considerations

Other things to think about are the university's culture, the destination city's climate and food, as well as your own health and any special needs you may have.

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