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College, Studying Abroad

8 Unique Programs for College Students

As I prepare to graduate, I can’t help but think about all the cool programs for college students around the world! Luckily, I was able to participate in a few of these programs for college students, and in my last few months I’m still considering applying to a few more! Many of these unique programs for college students are open to graduating seniors, so these are worth considering even if you’re about to graduate like me! College is a great time to explore the world and different careers, and many unique programs for college students aim to do just that! Here are some of my favorite unique programs for adventurous college students looking to try new things and experience the world!

unique programs for college students

Semester At Sea

Obviously I have to start with my favorite program of all time: Semester at Sea! I was lucky enough to participate in the Fall 2013 voyage around the world through Semester at Sea. Basically, Semester at Sea (or SAS), is a cruise ship turned floating college that sails around the world for four months! Participants get to experience 10+ countries while earning college credit! On my voyage we traveled to Europe, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about the experience I had on SAS, and it was easily the most amazing four months of my life. It’s easy to hesitate to apply to SAS because of the hefty price, but there are a number of scholarships and options available to make the trip more affordable. To learn more about my experience on Semester at Sea, check out my blog post on it here!

The Disney College Program

The Disney College Program allows students from around the world to work and live at Disney World in Florida or Disney Land in California for a semester during college. While working you gain valuable career experience with a well-known company, and you also get to take classes about interesting subjects like “Disney History 101.” Plus, you get into the parks for free, so what could be program for college students than that? A lot of students at my school have done the college program and rave about it, and I am currently applying for the fall program. Learn more about the Disney College Program here. 

Unique programs for college students

KONE International Internship

Interning with an elevator company might not seem like the best way to spend your summer, but trust me it’s worth it! KONE is looking for undergraduate and graduate students to send abroad for a paid internship! Their International Training Program offers paid travel and a killer salary! They are open to several different disciplines including engineering, business, and law, so why not get some experience while you travel? Learn more here. 

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L’Oreal International Internship

Surprisingly, L’Oreal has a competitive global internship program which even offers tuition reimbursement as well as travel to several exotic destination like France or Malaysia. Their Global Opportunity Programme encourages students and recent graduates to learn about their desired career while exploring new cultures! What an amazing experience, right? Check out their openings here. 

Washington Semester

Washington semester is a program hosted at over 100 institutions that allows you to complete a semester in Washington DC at any partnering institution. These programs are ideal for anyone looking to begin a career in International Relations or political science. They can also be more affordable than a semester abroad, while still allowing you to experience a different city and culture. A lot of different schools in the DC area offer this semester long program, and each school has it’s own unique curriculum to appeal to different majors of study. The American University curriculum appeals to a number of different majors, learn more about spending a semester in the USA capital here. 

United Nations Semester

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for the United Nations? Well now you can, through the United Nations Semester Program! Like the Washington Semester, the United Nations semester is a unique program for college students which allows you to spend a semester at a participating college in a city with a United Nations office (usually New York City). While enrolled in these programs you can participate in classes at the UN headquarters and observe UN operations. To see a list of participating colleges, click here. 

Urban Semester

Urban semesters are programs offered at several different colleges worldwide which allow you to experience an urban city for a semester or over the summer. While participating in an Urban Semester, students generally participate in internships or take classes at a partner institution. If you are looking to gain career experience or see what it’s like to live in a big city for a little while, this program is for you! Check with you particular college adviser to see if your school has an urban semester program in place, or research partner institutions which offer them.

Unique programs for college students

Exchange Programs

Of course, studying abroad is always an awesome program for college students. Many schools around the world host exchange programs for young students interested in spending a few months in a new location around the world. For instance, my college hosts an exchange program every fall with a university in Germany. This is a great opportunity to see what it’s like to study in a new place, and learn about a new culture! Make sure you are aware of any foreign language requirements before applying and check with your school about transfer credits before committing to a study abroad program. For a list of exciting exchange program opportunities, check out this list from AFS. 

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Why Participate?

Why bother taking a semester or a summer in college to participate in one of these unique programs for college students? Well, these programs for college students not only can allow you to take classes and experience things that would not be possible at your home institution, but they also give you valuable work experience and understanding. Many of these allow you to expand your horizons and try something new! You have very few commitments and responsibilities in college, so it’s the perfect time to take advantage of your ability to experience new things! My experience studying abroad was easily the greatest part of college, and I wish I could do it again!

Have you done any unique programs for college students? What would you be interested in trying?

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  • I absolutely love this post! I’m hoping to do the Disney College Program and study abroad sometime in college, but I had not heard of some of these other ones. I’ll definitely have to check these out more!

    Charlotte | http://www.lettersfromsunshine.com

    • Awesome! I’m currently applying for the Disney College Program, I’ve heard such good things about it! Thanks for the comment!

  • Vanessa

    This is a great list of programs! I looked into doing a Semester at Sea program, but it is not a program approved by my University, so I looked into other similar programs. In the fall, I will be studying abroad in three different countries through an International Honors Program with the School of International Training focusing on global health systems in India, South Africa and Brazil compared to the US. If it wasn’t for my interest in Semester at Sea, I would’ve never looked into traveling study abroad programs and found my dream program!

    -Vanessa
    thevibrantscience.com (Launching May 1st)

    • That’s so awesome! I’ve been to South Africa and Brazil and you’re going to love it! What a great experience to compare global health that way!

  • Such an amazing post! Makes me want to do everything on the list. Definitely going to look more into Semester at Sea, that seems like such an amazing experience. The Disney one seems amazing also! I love Disney. Thanks for such an awesome, informative post❤️

    • Samantha

      Yes! Semester at Sea CHANGED MY LIFE for the better! And the Disney one is super amazing, I’ve heard! Best of luck!

  • The semester at sea program looks so cool! Definitely worth checking out! Thank you for this amazing post!

    • Samantha

      Yes, for sure check it out! It’s amazing!