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Study Abroad For Computer Science Majors? 386

Posted by timothy
from the meet-interesting-people-but-don't-kill-them dept.
sbilstein writes "I'm currently a sophomore studying computer science with a penchant for international travel. While I do realize that the internet precludes the need for us geeks to travel farther than our desks, I'd still like to take a few courses taught in English or Spanish (the two languages I'm fluent in) somewhere outside of the country. The trouble is I can't go to just any school, because like any other engineering degree, I have to take technical courses every semester. So I need a school with a something at least similar to a computer science program in the states. Has anybody here from the US studied abroad while doing computer science? Was it worthwhile? Or anyone from outside the United States recommend a university program?"
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Study Abroad For Computer Science Majors?

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  • India (Score:2, Interesting)

    by habys (322638)

    I wonder if it would be economically feasible to study in india.

    • Re:India (Score:4, Insightful)

      by frovingslosh (582462) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:26PM (#26245429)
      India was my first thought also. Not only is turnabout fair play, but you're going to need the culture exposure and contacts if you hope to get a job in computer science.
      • Re:India (Score:4, Informative)

        by ChromeAeonium (1026952) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:57PM (#26245649)

        Pragmatically, India might not be the best place to study because of how many people there already speak English. That's not to say learning one of India's languages won't be useful, or that the cultural aspects aren't worth learning (personally, when I get up to the main campus of my university, I have every intention of taking the Hindi course), but if you're doing it for your career, unless you're really into India (or you're just a language freak like me), you'd probably be better off learning something else.

    • Re:India (Score:4, Informative)

      by rite_m (787216) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:08PM (#26245721)
      Just to add, the famed IITs (Indian Institute of Technologies) do have exchange programs. But the living conditions in most IITs will not suit (you might call them appalling by US college standards) most americans. So choose the institute properly (IIT delhi, e.g., might be a better choice than IIT Kharagpur). But, yes, India will be a good economical choice. And almost all institutes in India have english as their medium of teaching, so language won't be a problem at all.

      PS: I am from IIT Kharagpur.
    • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:48PM (#26245941) Homepage Journal

      You'd probably have less chance than studying a broad in the USA. Just find yourself one of the "top 10" party universities, and DON'T TELL THEM YOU'RE A CS STUDENT!!!

      • You'd probably have less chance than studying a broad in the USA. Just find yourself one of the "top 10" party universities, and DON'T TELL THEM YOU'RE A CS STUDENT!!!

        I know this was meant to be funny, but most people I know (including myself) had absurdly good luck with non-American women. The rest of the world may claim to hate us, but if that's what it means to hate us, then I don't want to be liked.

  • by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot&jawtheshark,com> on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:05PM (#26245297) Homepage Journal
    Come on? Isn't is obvious? Go for a semester in Spain. In Europe we do have real computer science courses. Northern America doesn't have a monopoly on that (And never had, if you think that you need to learn a bit history). Remember, Dijkstra was Dutch, Linus was Finnish and Alan Turing was British.
    • Was?! (Score:5, Funny)

      by pjt33 (739471) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:14PM (#26245353)

      Linus was Finnish

      Was? Did I miss the obituary?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Spot on! That's the point to focus on in the comment!

      • Re:Was?! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:32PM (#26245463)

        Linus was Finnish

        Was? Did I miss the obituary?

        He got better.

      • by rts008 (812749) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:39PM (#26245513) Journal

        Yes, I was there. (no, not there, but over there!)

        Linus and RMS got into a fight, and RMS pulled out his katana....*shudder* ...and well, now Linus is sleeping with the penguins.

        RMS was last seen rounding up the HURD to assault Antarctica to exterminate those pesky, compromising, commie penguins.

        Wait! What?!?
        Wow, those are some good med's the doctor gave me, nevermind!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Was? Did I miss the obituary?

        Yes, he was Finnish..ed

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by x-caiver (458687)
      You seem to be jumping to conclusions - or perhaps that was a really weak anti-America troll? Hard to tell on the internet...

      I'm going to give sbilstein the benefit of the doubt and assume that he isn't asking 'Are there any schools outside of the US that aren't incompetent', but rather asking the more important question 'There are many universities outside of the US, does anyone have any experience with one that participates in 'study-abroad' programs and has some sort of technical course available?'.
      • Are there any american universities that are competent?
      • by tverbeek (457094) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @10:44PM (#26246247) Homepage
        Check with your school's international ed office to see what schools they have relationships with. Many years ago, as part of my college's study-abroad program, I spent a term at the University of Aberdeen, where I took classes in "Computing Science" that counted for my CS degree stateside. One of those classes was my first major exposure to C and Unix (I said this was a long time ago), and to this day I still pronounce "Kernighan" with a Scots accent, because that's how my prof said it. I shared a flat with a Glaswegian, a Highlander, a Londoner, a Mancunian, and an Aussie, and living as an expat was an invaluable experience for a shy Yankee computer geek.
    • by nordah (1365739) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:25PM (#26245413)
      I second the Spain recommendation. I studied at Universitat PolitÃcnica de Catalunya (http://www.upc.es/) in 05 and had an amazing time. Barcelona has much to offer in terms of history, architecture, and culture. It took a week or so to get over the then current fashion trend--mullets on women--but hey, different user interface, same great kernel.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...and Kristen Nygaard (inventor of object oriented programming; cf. Simula) was Norwegian, Anders Hejlsberg (designer of Delphi and C#) and Bjarne Stoustrup (designer of C++) were Danish, and, more obscurely, Carl Adam Petri (inventor of the concept of concurrency and Petri nets) is German and Robin Milner (designer of ML, CCS, and the pi-calculus) is English.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Come on? Isn't is obvious? Go for a semester anywhere.

      Fixed it for you. Communication is important, and being able to speak to others without a translator in their language will probably give you major brownie points if you ever have to work with someone from another country. Even if you never have to do international work, it's still cool to know. Every language has something worth reading or watching or listening to or even posting on (don't forget that English is not the only language on the net).

    • by zuzulo (136299) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:01PM (#26245671) Homepage

      I must admit, some of the best international academic research side computer scientists I have found to be European. Especially Italy, Spain, and France if i had to pick three off the top of my head. They also tend to have lots of summer exchange programs if you are into research. That, and somehow the environment is actually better at stimulating real innovation than it is here in the states. At least in the past 8-10 years or so in North America most of the serious cutting edge stuff is done in the corporate world, whereas in Europe the academic guys are doing cutting edge stuff.

      Strange how these things change. As always, this is just my own personal opinion ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kramerd (1227006)

      I have to agree.

      At Georgia Tech I completed a study abroad in Barcelona (combination CS and architecture). Of my courses, only 1 was entirely in spanish (which happened to be spanish, which was very helpful in the immersion process).

      The thing to remember is that a study abroad isnt about the classes you take, but rather about learning the culture and getting a new perspective on how the world works.

      Not to mention that if you manage to learn something tangible from the experience, its a great conversation st

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by johanatan (1159309)
      Well, the U.S. can lay claim to:
      • Donald Knuth
      • Bill Gates
      • John von Neuman
      • Alonzo Church

      So, there, I match your 3 and raise you one (and there's plenty more where these came from).

      And for the humor-impaired--the listing of 'Gates' is a joke

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ailnlv (1291644)
      South America is cheaper, and at least my university (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile) is ABET-certified. I've only seen an international student in a CS course once, since most exchange students who come to south america take mostly history or language courses, so more exchange students are appreciated. A word of warning though, I studied for a semester in Finland and I've got a couple of friends who've studied in several US universities (including CMU), and we all believe that they make us work A
  • I think it's an important question.

    I'm (hopefully) going to be in a similar situation as you in a year. I'm planning on choosing where I want to go based upon culture and what experience would be best for me, in terms of what cultures it would be most enlightening/helpful to be at least somewhat immersed in. For me, that's what a study abroad program should be about. Once that's done -- especially in the Spanish/English speaking world (minus colonies,) is shouldn't be hard to find a university with so
    • by pjt33 (739471) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:25PM (#26245415)

      Nothing in the english/spanish world has the same opportunities in CS as the US, with few exceptions.

      Which leads into my question: where is he currently studying? If the answer is MIT then your exceptions, the big names in Europe, - Oxbridge; Imperial College, London; Complutense de Madrid - are options. If it's somewhere no-one outside his state has heard of, the suitable suggestions are considerably different.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by olafva (188481)

      My nephew studied at a top notch "foreign" University, McGill [mcgill.ca] in Momtreal. McGill ranks right up there with Harvard & MIT according to the The Gourman Report [wikipedia.org]. You may find the Gourman Report useful in selecting a university with rated computer science curricula.

      However, in the long, run two things you may consider:
      1. CS alone may be "not enough" for good jobs now or in the future. Consider a strong related minor or additional major (say science, business, etc. ) to boost you marketable skills. CS, like

      • by Thiez (1281866)

        > It may even raise questions as to your diligence and motivation toward your career rather than fun.

        Who cares? Honestly, would you want to work for a company that wouldn't hire you because you took half a year to come in contact with a whole different culture and grow as a person? Let them know you work to live and not the other way round.

      • Or maybe computer engineering with it? I figure then you'd have the "I understand" (CS) and the "I know how to do it" (CE) degrees.

        Or you could go business, but business is for for gifted genetically-engineered monkeys whose brains don't work at maximum capacity. Of course, it pays the bills, and hey he still makes more than Fry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mjbkinx (800231)

        When you look for a job, I doubt that studying in a foreign country is likely to add much, if any. It may even raise questions as to your diligence and motivation toward your career rather than fun.

        How odd. Over here, having spent one or two semesters in a foreign country is almost mandatory. It shows you can rely on yourself, are open for new experiences and culturally curious. Typically, it also improves your foreign language skills.
        But that might be a cultural difference right there.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by upuv (1201447)

      I'll let you in on a secret. If your plan on getting a degree and going straight into work, you don't really have to concern your self to much with the quality of the course work.

      As with in a year or two of starting employment you either have it or you don't. The people with the natural skill always bubble to the top no matter where they are from.

      Also on initial employment during the interview phase foreign workers are typically automatically given a leg up on the locals. In most countries employers have

    • by scheme (19778)

      So I guess what I'm saying is, what's the point in studying abroad if your primary concern is the quality of your coursework? Nothing in the english/spanish world has the same opportunities in CS as the US, with few exceptions.

      I think studying in a foreign is something that you really should do. That way you'll realize that yes, the rest of the world has good educational opportunities and institutions. Unless you're attending someplace like MIT or Stanford, quite a few foreign universities match or beat anything you're attending. Between places like Oxford, Cambridge, Max Planck Institute, Ãcoles Normales Supérieures, undergrads can certainly find places that'll teach them cs.

  • Where, exactly? If you expect classes in English, then you betta' stay/study in the USA.

    Learn Chinese...that will go a long ways towards improving your net worth in the mean time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Where, exactly? If you expect classes in English, then you betta' stay/study in the USA.

      Or, you know, someplace like England where English originated. Unless y'all totally insist on learning in American, like you know?

      • by djupedal (584558)
        Yeah, since British English is the primary language of programmers, engineers and technical writers worldwide - that and British CS schools rule!
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Hognoxious (631665)

          Yeah, since British English is the primary language of programmers

          Odd thing is, we can understand perfectly when you lot use word like pants and vests and pavements wrongly, whereas you lot get hopelessly confused when you hear the slightest pronunciation difference.

          • ...whereas you lot get hopelessly confused...

                  unless you say y'all I'll be hopelessly confused. :)

                  actually was stationed in England for over two years in Air Force and never did figure out all the lingo you guys use. But enjoyed my stay there immensely. Great people.

              rd

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by pcgabe (712924)

            you lot get hopelessly confused when you hear the slightest pronunciation difference.

            What? Have you even BEEN to America? You'll find more pronunciation differences ABOUND here. America is a melting pot; people from all over the globe come here and put their own spin on English. (I myself was asked as a teenager where I was from, due to my apparently odd accent. I had at that time never even been outside of the country, my family had just moved around a lot inside America. I didn't think I had an a

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by evilbessie (873633)
            Because we speak English, those colonials speak American English, we have the superset of the language (we also get lots of film/television from the states) so understand it all, whereas the yankies don't have a clue. Oh and much like stamps (the UK does not have to put a country on because we invented them) there is no British English, it's damn English everyone else speaks some other form like American English or Australian English etc.
          • Re:Abroad? (Score:5, Funny)

            by anothy (83176) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @11:35PM (#26246475) Homepage
            lived and worked in London for just over a year; this was not my experience. talking about subways and (street) blocks got me no end of odd looks. not to mention the confusion over what it meant to table something. at least one friend got herself into a rather awkward situation upon announcing to a random guy in a bar that she didn't like to wear pants (she preferred skirts). the confusion was entirely bi-directional: it took me quite a while to figure out what a skip was, and was reduced to a stammer when a female co-worker asked me for a rubber (i eventually handed her an elastic band).
      • Personally, I've never understood the appeal of studying somewhere that speaks your native language. I suppose it would be much easier, but you won't walk away fluent in another language to write down on your CV.

    • Re:Abroad? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:17PM (#26245367)

      Not quite. In my university (Uppsala, Sweden) for example, most higher level courses are taught in English, the teachers and students are fluent in English, and there is a vibrant international community. The computer science program here is not bad, but I'd say it really doesn't matter... going abroad for a term or two will give you friends and contacts for life, invaluable experience and a much, much more attractive CV. So, just go for it!

      (Shameless plug: studying at swedish universities is totally free, except for a nominal 40$ students union fee =)

      • I saw a news story recently about a guy who went from the US to Finland to study - they said it was free - similar to what you just mentioned.

        I'm curious about how this works, what kind of restrictions exist, etc. For example - could a 40 year old American who already has a degree go to Sweden and get this same deal? What kind of visa is required and does it allow students to work?

        It just seems that if it as simple as has been described that a lot more people would be doing it.

        thanks.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ailnlv (1291644)
          I'm not a US citizen, but I'm not european either. I just finnished a semester of studying in Finland as an exchange student in Helsinki University of Technology's CS department (TKK) and I can say that the program is really good, and Finland is a really fun place. There's lots of courses in english; I took mostly theoretical CS stuff since I'm pretty advanced in my studies, but there's something for everyone there. I really recommend TKK both for its CS courses and its university life. You'll meet a differ
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by civean (554912)
          As far as I know, no restrictions. Anyone can come here and study for a Masters or Bachelors programme. In some programmes we have over half of the students from other countries. In fact, you can even get paid from the Swedish government through the Student Grant system! All you need to do is to find a nice Swedish guy/girl to live together with. When you share address, and "live under conditions similar to marriage" then you are automatically in "registered partnership", and eligible for national student
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by corsendonk (1352607)
          It really is simple like that and a lot of people are already doing it. That's why the masters programmes at my uni (KTH) are crammed with mostly asian (China, Pakistan, etc) foreign students every year, coming here for a free (as in beer) and decent education. It's a pretty sweet deal of course and has caused some public debate whether this is viable or not, since it's all tax payers money funding it. In one of my CS courses there was an african guy in his late 30's enrolled so I guess it's indeed possibl
      • (Shameless plug: studying at swedish universities is totally free, except for a nominal 40$ students union fee =)

        I thought that was only if you were a swedish citizen?

        Last time I was in Sweden (this summer actually) I was told by one of my uncles that you'd have to pay your tuition like in a north american school unless you were a citizen, and citizenship takes 5 years and student years don't count.

        I wouldn't mind Sweden though if it weren't for the welfare state politics... Then again, a student should be happy in a world of government assistance. I thought about the Royal Institute of Technology (somebody told me it

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Krilomir (29904)

      Where, exactly? If you expect classes in English, then you betta' stay/study in the USA.

      I'm from Denmark, and I graduated in computer science a few months ago from the University of Aarhus. All courses after the first year are required to be thought in English. Heck, we use American textbooks in most of our second and third year courses. But hey, if you ever come to Denmark, then don't spend all your time studying. That's not what going abroad for 6-12 months is all about. Make some new friends, go drinkin

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sydneyfong (410107)

      You really can't learn Chinese (written) in just a year or two.

      Unless you're really a genius.

      It's my first language, and I remember vividly the horrors of spending primary school cramping the characters into my memory. Worse, there are still plenty of characters that I can't reliably recall how to write (reading is much easier).

      I've heard that spoken Chinese is much easier to learn for foreigners since there's few grammatical constructs.

  • Study Abroad FTW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khakionion (544166) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:11PM (#26245333)
    I went to Australia and Japan for grad school, can't recommend it highly enough. Not only was my program great, but the international experience is invaluable. You owe it to yourself to spend at least a year studying abroad, whether it adds to your technical degree or not.
    • Did you do that through a school in your home country (I assume US?) or just applying to schools in AUS/JPN? Also, how was the Japanese school set up? I've seen a few "english language" grad degrees floating around private universities there, but haven't been too sure about how all of that worked. I always figure that whatever school I go to in the states will have some kind of options to send me away, but it seems like just applying to a foreign school would be better. Thoughts?
  • Ask your school... (Score:4, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:11PM (#26245335)

    Have you asked your school? Most schools have a study abroad office dedicated directly to this [purdue.edu]. Some schools even have a program setup specifically for certain majors [purdue.edu] paired up with other universities.

    You could also look at a Maymester or Summer program. It would let you travel while not having to take a semester off from school.

    because like any other engineering degree, I have to take technical courses every semester

    I was unaware of this 'requirement' at my school. As long as I got X classes done by graduation they didn't care when I took it.

    I don't ever remember this in my

    • by x-caiver (458687)
      Yea, my school (UF) didn't have a 'you must take an engineering course every semester' requirement, but some classes did have pre-requisite courses so if you missed a semester you could get yourself in to a crunch at the end.

      Most people would do their study-abroad as a summer program, take care of some random electives (language and history requirements were the favorites) and then not have 'lost' any time in their yearly progression.
  • Newcastle, UK (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I went abroad for a semester to Newcastle University [ncl.ac.uk] in the UK. I placed out of my first year in CS, so that made it much easier for me, though I couldn't afford to do the whole year. I took core classes (I go to a liberal arts school) and had an absolute blast.

    Newcastle is a science school. In fact, one of my friends over there is a CS major. The European CS curricula are far more formal than what we have here in the states, however. They're really teaching Computer Science, while my program is really

    • The UK is not Europe, don't mix the two because the systems are incompatible, all you can say is that UK courses are different to the US (I don't know enough to tell you what is different with Europe but you cannot make generalisations with what they do in the UK with what happens anywhere else.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Der PC (1026194)

        That was rather naive. You demand that no generalizations are made about the similarity of the UK and EU educational systems because you don't know enough yourself to tell the difference?

        Duh!

        According to the Eurpean Credit Transfer and accumulation System (ECTS - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Credit_Transfer_and_Accumulation_System [wikipedia.org] ) you can very well take classes in the UK and have the credits transferred. Usually, the English credits transfer 2:1, while the Scottish credits have a little different

  • Yeah, England. (Score:2, Informative)

    by dave_d (22165)

    Uhh, it's been 12 years or so, but I studied abroad in Lancaster University in England. They had computer science courses - they're taught in English, and were interesting and had a bit of variety from what I had in the states. I'm sure there's lots of colleges/universities abroad that have c.s courses, but Lancaster had a study abroad relationship with my college so, heh, it was good. Was it worthwhile? Well, yeah, the experience was invaluable, but not so much for the c.s courses, though they were good, b

    • by mustafap (452510)
      >but I studied abroad in Lancaster University in England. They had computer science courses - they're taught in English

      What other language would they have been taught in?
  • Spain (Score:2, Informative)

    by togashi06 (1013825)
    If you speak Spanish, why not Spain? Our "Ingenieria Informatica" is pretty much the same as your CS, I think. And we have lots of pretty girls ;)
    • Re:Spain (Score:4, Informative)

      by hibiki_r (649814) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:43PM (#26245545)

      And yet, he'd have a million problems getting the Spanish credits accepted back in the US. Not to mention all the fun of big classes, teachers that don't care, tests designed to make people fail, and an outdated curriculum.

      I actually moved to the US after seeing the awful world of Spanish state universities. Some foreigners enjoy themselves in classes designed mostly for them, but for core courses? It always ends up being a mistake.

      He could try SLU's Madrid Campus, an American university in Spain, but I don't think they offer enough CS classes to make it worthwhile, unless he's already expecting to 'waste' a semester.

  • Go for it, I did it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mikej_bsu (1439977)
    I was a computer science major and studied overseas twice. One term in London and another term in Vienna. I wasn't able to take classes related to my major, but it was a great opportunity to knock out those dreaded general study courses you have to take. The general study courses seemed to be easier overseas because they try to focus you on maximizing your cultural experiences and travels, and less emphasis on the courses. Even if it makes you take some summer courses to make up for it, it is worth it. You
  • by salimma (115327) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:27PM (#26245437) Homepage Journal

    ... Edinburgh, Imperial College, or perhaps Manchester (they have one of the earliest electronic computer, still in working order). There's also Canada -- Waterloo has a renowned engineering program.

    Not sure if Cambridge does exchange programs, but if you're abroad for a year instead of a semester, their Part II CS tripos is quite gruelling; it's basically a complete undergrad education done in one year, usually taken by people who already have a degree in related fields (e.g. math or physics).

    In the UK, my rule of thumb is: if they teach a functional language then they are decent. Edinburgh is where Standard ML was written (and Phil Wadler is in the faculty) -- oh, and is really good for Artificial Intelligence research too, so naturally, they're quite heavily into Prolog too. Cambridge also uses ML; York uses Scheme and Haskell. Warwick -- ML, I guess.

    There's also the location to consider. Imperial is in London -- good place to be, but accomodation might be tough. Edinburgh is in, well, Edinburgh -- lovely place, a bit cold in winter, but not as bad as the northern parts of the US. York is on the east coast line, so it's less than three hours from either London or Edinburgh by fast train. Warwick, despite the name, is not in the quaint mediaeval town of Warwick, but in nearby Coventry (they obviously thought naming it the University of Coventry would not be good for business). Not far from London and Birmingham, though.

    • by chrb (1083577) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @10:18PM (#26246121)

      Unfortunately, English universities now charge tuition fees for overseas students, around £7,000 - £10,000 per year for non-EU undergraduates. If you're lucky you might be eligible for some form of studentship.

      In Scotland there is no tuition fee for E.U. students (apart from the English and Welsh!), but there are fees for non-EU students. As a visiting student for only one or two terms, the fee regime may also be different; typically visiting EU students in Scotland will be liable to pay around 20% of the usual fees, and quite often this heavily discounted rate will be paid by the visiting student's government anyway.

      The good news for visiting students is that the British Pound is falling fast - now almost at the point of parity with the Euro.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sanyasi (900484)
      I'm a junior at a top liberal arts college in the US - currently spending the year studying Part II Computer Science at Cambridge. If you can get in (the application process is long and unnecessarily bureaucratic), there's nothing like it. It's absolutely fantastic. Also, the drinking age is 18. Everyone loves Americans in the post-11/5 world. Cambridge is breathtakingly beautiful, and a year in Cambridge ain't exactly a bad experience to have.
  • by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:27PM (#26245441)

    This question is more appropriate for someone at your school. Do you have a Study Abroad Office or something similar? They could help you out. Or ask your academic advisor (please tell me it's not just small schools like mine that have them)--he or she would be able to figure out if something could work for you.

    I'm assuming you're going to a big university or technical school. I am a computer science major at a small liberal arts college in the midwest, and at my school studying abroad is really no big deal no matter what your major. I, in fact, am leaving for a Spanish-language immersion trip to Mexico in about a week. I won't be doing any computer science, but, as others have said, there's no that reason you (like I will be doing) couldn't do some of your gen ed requirements while you're away. Again, your school or your advisor would be able to figure out what would work for you.

    Additionally, you could look into a summer program, such as ones offered by ISA (or other organizations whose names I have forgotten...), or perhaps a January program if your school has a long enough winter break (no such luck here, as we have January term). Good luck!

  • Informatics Engineering programs in Chile are similar to CS + SE in the US. Check http://www.inf.utfsm.cl/ [utfsm.cl] for one of the best engineering universities in Chile, and the best for CS. Also Valparaiso/Vin~a del Mar are great places to live.
  • by qw0ntum (831414) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:32PM (#26245461) Journal

    I'm in a similar position to you, actually. For me, I realized that by working hard I could pretty much finish my degree requirements by the end of my third year of school (which I will do). So, that left me with two "open" semesters in my Senior year that I'm going to use to finish up general college requirements, take more advanced CS classes. While it seems like it's impossible to finish all of those requirements, it's actually not that difficult I think. The reason that this is important is that you probably shouldn't expect to get credit to transfer back for technical courses you do abroad and instead use it as an opportunity to fulfill those liberal arts requirements if you have any.

    The next bit of advice I have is to talk with your professors in your department and ask for their recommendations. At my school, the director of undergraduate curricula is the one that was most helpful to me, so maybe you could try to talk to an equivalent at your school. He or she will not only be familiar with the undergraduate requirements for CS, they'll probably also be the one who will be able to approve or reject credit you receive abroad as it applies to filling your major requirements. Additionally, they will probably know about other students from your school who have studied abroad before.

    Ok, to answer your question about actual programs abroad, here are some places. To be fair, in the end I decided (for the time being anyway) not to study abroad for personal reasons. Anyway, my school (UNC-Chapel Hill) has a study abroad program particularly for CS majors between us and UCL (University College of London). Oftentimes even if a study abroad program is not offered at your university, you can arrange to do a program through another university, so if you're interested in this particular one let me know and I can get you more information. Additionally, I was considering and know friends who have gone to National University of Singapore, which also has a strong CS college.

    My bigger point is this: don't expect too much out of study abroad from an academic point of view. There's just so much complication between different teaching systems, credit transfers, and potentially different languages that you're better off approaching it as an opportunity to learn things completely different than your normal semester's fare in the CS dept. Good luck!

  • Study in Ireland (Score:2, Informative)

    by pmagrath (980461)
    One option is to study in Ireland. Trinity College Dublin (www.tcd.ie) is one of the top 50 universities in the world (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_College,_Dublin [wikipedia.org]) and has a Computer Science (www.cs.tcd.ie) faculty which is recognised by Microsoft, Google and Intel as the best on the island as well as one of the foremost in English speaking Europe. I'm in my final year of the Computer Science course and can testify that the course is very good. Also, the large number of foreign students, both
  • by imac75 (161912) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:43PM (#26245543)

    Edinburgh University has a very strong Computer Science Course, plus it is in a great city, I know a lot of US people how have studied at edinburgh for a year so it shouldn't be a problem.
    If you have never visited Scotland then you are missing out. Lets start with the important things. The drinking age is 18 :)

    • I'd second this recommendation. Edinburgh is a wonderful city and the uni has one of the best AI programs in Europe. While you're there, try out Scottish country dancing, scotch (of course) and -why not- courses in another major.Edinburgh is the home of David Hume and has an excellent philosophy department.

  • Here's another question -- why study computer science abroad? Why not just backpack around South America during one of your breaks? Visit Macchu Picchu and neat stuff like that.

    Are you looking to get something out of studying abroad rather than just travel? An extended stay, deeper contacts with the local citizens?
  • Almost everyone around here is able to speak and understand english enough to get around (actually, the complaint I always hear from foreigners is that everyone speaks english so they can't learn Dutch) and all the Computer Science Master courses are given in English. And from my experience, the Bachelors are also given in English if there's even a single non-dutch student in the room ;)

  • Singapore (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mercurialmale (928377) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:06PM (#26245703)
    Singapore is pretty much the perfect choice:
    1. Good CS programs: Two great universities with well-regarded CS programs - NTU [ntu.edu.sg] and NUS [nus.edu.sg]
    2. Language: All classes are in English; most people speak English (it's quirky Singlish [wikipedia.org], but you'll get by)
    3. Infrastructure: The country and both schools have excellent infrastructure and your basic living comforts would be similar to or better than in the US
    4. Travel and exposure: It's cheap and easy to explore neighboring countries (Malysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, China, India, Korea, etc). You can experience a rich diversity of cultures solely through weekend getaways
    5. Diversity: Singapore itself is pretty diverse - you can experience elements of Chinese, Indian and other cultures within the city-state.
    6. It's not "the West": Chances are, you have visited or will visit Europe anyway. Singapore will expose you to an entirely different worldview. Yet, you will not sacrifice basic comforts that you take for granted in the US

    Full disclosure - I am an NTU alumnus.

    • by Tellarin (444097)

      I can't agree more with the parent poster. I'm currently in Singapore at NUS (Electrical and Computing Engineering Dept.) and both the country and the university are very nice.

      Singapore is a very good option. And they do have student interchange programs with lots of countries and universities.

  • I am not Dutch but I've traveled to the Netherlands. It's an awesome country with people who speak multiple languages, including English without any accent. Utrecht, IIRC, is the tech hub of the Netherlands with an university [wikipedia.org] that offers computer science courses. See if you can take a course there. You'll meet some very friendly people and taste great beer while being able to travel easily throughout Europe. Plus there's also a bunch of American students there, which could be a good thing depending on
  • Maybe a few residential courses from OU [open.ac.uk] would be interesting.
  • Study Abroad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fozzyuw (950608) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:21PM (#26245783)

    Has anybody here from the US studied abroad while doing computer science? Was it worthwhile? Or anyone from outside the United States recommend a university program?

    I have a BS in CS and I studied abroad for a year in London. However, I didn't take a single class relevant to my degree. When I left for London, I needed 2 CS classes to graduate. Basically, I transferred to another school, took their (awesome) study abroad program. Lived with a host family. Networked with people from all over Europe. Had the best time of my life. And met my French fiancee.

    I more than doubled my student debt to do it (it's not cheap) but it was worth it. I didn't care about not having a CS class though I did well in all the classes I did take. I also joined the Rugby (Union) team of my college. Damn, it was a great time. I love Jolly Old London (Twickenham technically).

    I'd recommend doing it. Heck, if you even have to ask, then I think you're probably wanting it enough that you should do it.

    It has nothing to do with that you learn in the class room and everything about what you experience. Some of the best courses I had where the History courses offered at my England college.

    Don't study abroad to take CS courses. Study abroad to experience a different culture and meet new people. Even if it's just an American in London, there's a lot to learn.

    Even if it means, basically, taking a semester or year off of your normal course work to do it. Just know that it isn't cheap and that it's really something you want to do. I've seen several people on my study abroad program who did it and clearly didn't want to do it and wasted the entire trip crying in their bedrooms over missing boy/girlfriends.

    Bon Chance!

    ps. Know what you're looking for when studying abroad. Is it just a location? Or do you really want to integrate into the host country? Many programs out there are nothing but a school of Americans, secluded in an area, and you don't get much integration into the country. If you're reasonable good in a 2nd language consider a country with that a primary language. If you're not, fear not to go to an English speaking school (England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, etc.)

    Don't study abroad if you're trying to focus on school work. That's NOT what it's about. Stay in the States and focus on your classes and your grades if that's what matters. You study abroad to experience life in a different place. Take classes that will expand on this experience. You don't want to be stuck in a computer lab for 40 hours a week to finish a programming project, when you can see the Tower de Eiffel from your window, kind of thing.

  • by trainsnpep (608418) <mikebenza.gmail@com> on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:22PM (#26245793)

    I'm a senior CS student at Rice University who studied abroad the first semester of my sophomore year. The hoops you have to jump through to study abroad are worth it.

    You probably don't really need to take technical courses every semester: there may be a light one with courses you can put off. I had to take a 3 week summer course and adjust my schedule a bit, but I made it to Florence, Italy for a semester. If you absolutely cannot go abroad for a full semester, do a summer program or go after you graduate (I knew a kid who graduated, then still went abroad for the experience).

    Decide what school you want to go to based on whether you want to experience the culture or drink. A lot of the schools built for studying abroad have people who just go abroad to drink. I was at one of those schools although I would've liked more cultural things and less drinking. It's up to you.

    I took no technical courses while abroad. I actually fulfilled a number of university requirements (arts and social sciences).

    Make sure you clear all the courses you're going to take with your advisor: they should know you might be taking a semester off of CS. Make sure that you also get any classes you want to transfer approved beforehand. Get signatures.

    (It may actually be cheaper to go abroad if you're currently going to a private school. If you have scholarships, some of them may pay for you to go abroad)

    If you can't find some time to go, you don't want it bad enough. Feel free to contact me if you have any more specific questions.

  • Jacobs University (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doomie (696580) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:48PM (#26245935) Homepage
    I went to Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. It's an English-language institution, somewhat unique in Germany, as all courses are entirely in English and the curriculum is structured like at an American/Anglo-Saxon university. There's a nice big green campus with wild parties, very cheap booze etc. They have a pretty large CS dept (relative to the size of the university, 1200 students only!). Moreover, they are very open to the idea of exchange/visiting students, though it might be harder to just go there without worrying about the tuition unless your university has some sort of agreement with them (but very much doable, if you can afford it).

    You can find more info here [jacobs-university.de]. The undergrad CS courses are quite technical and you can usually take courses at all levels, as long as the professor is convinced that you have the prerequisite knowledge.

    Studying abroad is a really good idea and I encourage it quite a bit! Good luck.
  • One thing to consider is that you don't necessarily need to go through a formal study-abroad program. Such programs are often designed to do a lot of hand-holding, e.g. for students whose knowledge of the local language is limited. Since you already speak English and Spanish fluently, you probably don't need linguistic or cultural hand-holding in order to attend an institution in an English- or Spanish-speaking country. Your languages cover not only most of Latin America, Spain, the UK, Canada, Australia a

  • I'd like to study a broad... or two...

  • Ok, a little off-topic but it would also look great on your resume. Come to Peru and help me teach programming to orphan kids in Peru. Im building a course in squeak [squeakland.org] (smalltalk, like LOGO on drugs :) to teach programming to the kids. The orphanage has over 630 kids and is all volunteer-run, with some volunteers living inside, mostly europeans. Watch some videos [youtube.com] of the orphanage, its a youtube playlist and the last 2 videos are in english. I also have a software business with many years of experience working
  • by ZPWeeks (990417)
    Seriously. Studying abroad is all about expanding your horizons, and anywhere you go you'll be immersing yourself in stuff that you aren't getting at home. Expect to learn more outside of the classroom than in. Take the time that you normally don't have in your CS/Engineering program to expose yourself to different courses... Language, culture, history, the arts. Would you rather tell a potential employer, "I have a CS degree and I got to go to $foriegnCountry," or would you like to say "I studied CS here,
  • IN the spring of 2005 or rather the last semester of my junior year, I attended Leeds University, based in Leeds, England. It was a school actually quiet unlike my home university of Vanderbilt. This school contained 40,000 or so kids, about four times the size of our whole university and half of a small city in England, akin to large public colleges all over the states. I was a cs/math major who had already completed the math degree and wasn't very far from the cs requirement.

    With that said, I would like t

  • I had much the same set of problems and found decent universities in Tampere [www.uta.fi], Finland, LuleÃ¥ [www.ltu.se], Sweden, and Accra Ghana that all participated in the ISEP program [isep.org]. My school offered a couple of different programs, but this one was notable insofar as it didn't require you to pay hardly anything extra. Unlike programs that expect you to pay massive chunks of cash for their own overhead and then full rate for tuition abroad, this one (and others like it?) just have the student pay tuition and room and b

  • Surely you can find other courses that will transfer and fulfill degree requirements? Composition or literature. History. Economics. Math?

    As for suggestions on where to go, that really depends on where you want to travel. Australia would interest me. Or Spain. Possibly the U.S. or Canada if you're not already from one of those places.

  • one of which was University of Cape Town, South Africa. The courses were all in english and most of the professors were either south african or british. The quality of teaching was incredible compared to america. they teach you multiple skill sets (for example in my computer science courses i had to do several technical writing modules and the teacher really pushed students in the right direction when it came to avoiding redundant information, etc but he did it in a way that made the student feel very empow
  • by anothy (83176) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @11:52PM (#26246557) Homepage

    While I do realize that the internet precludes the need for us geeks to travel farther than our desks...

    international travel would be a great way to realize how incredibly false this is. more likely than not, at some point you're going to end up doing something other than simply coding widgets from a spec (or from imagination). as soon as that happens, you need the experience that comes from getting away from your desk; preferably far away from your desk. on the mundane level, you'll almost certainly have to do something like turn customer requirements into specs and/or code; understanding the mindset of the person you're talking to is crucial there. or you might find yourself working with engineers in, or educated in, another country; again, understanding their mindset will make that go much better.
    beyond that, there's lots of good suggestions here. personally, i like the ones that take you outside your standard course work, even if it costs you an extra semester or two, but if you're bound and determined to do it all in an academic context, just ask your school; any sizable US school will have administration folks who can tell you what your best options are.

  • I would also recommend you have a look at Delft University of Technology (www.tudelft.nl) in the Netherlands. As you'd expect from the Dutch, nearly everyone speaks fluent English, and this is particularly true in the academic community.

    Last year, I spent two semesters studying abroad in Eindhoven Technical University (better suited for Electrical Engineering, my MSc), where I had all subjects taught in English, and everyone mentioned how TU Delft was a great university for studying Computer Science. Plus,

  • by Beefpatrol (1080553) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @01:43AM (#26247025)

    I don't post very often, but I felt compelled to reply to this one because of the profoundly positive effect that a study abroad program had on me. I did my final year of a BS in Physics abroad at the University of Bath in the UK. The U of Bath is a smallish, selective school that is primarily technical in nature. It might be comparable to, say, CalTech. While I can say that the focus of the program there was substantially different from the program at my home university, (Purdue), it was also an excellent program. I knew a couple people there who were studying CS. From what I heard about it, it seemed to be a good program also. The U of Bath has lots of international programs, so the typical international student will be living with people from all over the place. In the immediate proximity of my residence where people from France, Germany, Sudan, Korea, UAE, Belgium, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, and Hungary. (Those are just the ones that I remember.) Having gone to a few different Universities for different purposes over the years, I can say that the biggest thing that differentiates them at the undergraduate level is the type of students that they attract. Basic CS theory is basic CS theory, and you would be studying the same stuff no matter where you go for the most part; the difference between universities is mostly who you would be studying it with.

    In general, I think most Americans would be well served by the experience of going somewhere else and living for a while. It doesn't really matter that much if you do school or work -- just go be somewhere that isn't the US for long enough to forget that you aren't in the US any more. Once you've gone a few days without thinking about the fact that you aren't in the US, you're probably in a good position to get a glimpse of the US as non-Americans see it. You'll also then be in a position to evaluate beliefs you may have about the US and the "American way," as some like to call it. All of this tends to cause a huge increase in self confidence. Once you realize that everything you really need to live for a year either fits in a big suitcase or can be acquired for a relatively small amount of money and that human nature is pretty much the same no matter where you go, you'll never look at anything the same way again. For me, this has resulted in a large improvement in my overall state of mind, and it allowed me to pursue happiness much more effectively.

    I got a lot of things out of my Physics BS, but I'd put the study abroad experience about on par with the Physics in terms of what is valuable to me now, 6 years after graduation. I even failed a couple Physics classes while I was there and had to take them again when I got back. It was still worth it. I can't recommend a year abroad highly enough. Go somewhere -- it doesn't really matter so much where you go. Try to spend a year there if you can. Be open minded and respectful of the natives when you get there, and I can pretty much promise that you won't regret it.

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