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How to Study Abroad

In the past decade, international study has more than doubled in popularity. Sure, you can go to London or Paris, but what about places like Africa or the Yucat


  • Step 1: Conquer fear Conquer your fears and doubts. Don’t speak the native tongue? Plenty of programs don’t require a foreign language. Worried about costs? Some overseas courses cost less than your home tuition.
  • TIP: Many schools employ full-time study abroad counselors who will help you arrange your trip.
  • Step 2: Consider your reasons Consider your reasons for studying abroad, and be honest. Whether it’s to study foreign art or just chill somewhere close to the equator, your reasons should determine where you go and what you study.
  • Step 3: Examine your academic plan Examine your academic plan. Take your career goals, total course units, and major progress into account. For example, will going overseas delay your graduation? Will the credits you get count toward your major?
  • Step 4: Choose a program Choose a program. Your campus study abroad office or international programs office can provide information about what is available.
  • TIP: Go with a friend. You’ll be less lonely and perhaps more adventurous -- though, if your goal is to practice another language, make sure you two don’t speak English the whole time.
  • Step 5: Sort out finances Sort out financial concerns. If you receive financial aid from your home university, ask if any of it can be applied to your study abroad experience. Remember that most programs will not allow you to work for pay during your time abroad.
  • TIP: If your school runs a study abroad program, consider going on it. Often your tuition will be the same, without room and board.
  • Step 6: Complete the paperwork Complete the paperwork. This means apply to programs and, if accepted, confirm transfer credits and enrollment status, and get your visas and passport. Do this as soon as possible!
  • Step 7: Arrange housing Decide where you are going to live: a dorm? An apartment? With a host family? Each has advantages and disadvantages in terms of meeting young people, assimilating into the new culture, and allowing you personal space.
  • TIP: Many programs have partnerships with nonprofit companies and local organizations that will help you arrange housing, classes, and other important details.
  • Step 8: Do your research Do further research on your destination. Do you need to get any immunizations? Will there be any festivals while you’re there? Is there anything special you should bring?
  • Step 9: Embark Pack your bags, get your shots, and don’t try to smuggle fruits across borders!
  • FACT: The 5 most popular destinations for Americans studying abroad are the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and Australia, in that order.

You Will Need

  • Flexibility
  • Desire to learn
  • Decent GPA
  • School that accepts study abroad credits
  • Sense of adventure

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