How To Apply to Study Abroad Programs

Studying abroad can be a meaningful and rewarding experience.  It gives students the chance to live overseas, integrate themselves into a totally foreign culture, meet other students (both foreign and other study abroad students), and to travel.

  1. Decide whether you want to study abroad for a semester or a year.  There are benefits to both, so decide what you expect to gain from your experience abroad and how the courses you take abroad will be transferred back to your college in the states. 
  2. Determine whether your college will accept actual grades from an institution abroad, or if you will only receive pass/fail credit.  If you will only receive pass/fail credit, going abroad for a year may be more difficult if you plan on taking many courses within your major while abroad.
  3. Research the different countries you are interested in studying in and the programs they offer.  Usually you'll have to do this through your school's study abroad office as many schools have relationships with specific institutions abroad and will only allow you to attend those universities.
  4. Consult your transcript and/or talk to your guidance counselor.  This will tell you what courses within your major you still need to take and which general education courses are still required outside of your major.  You may be able to get some of these courses completed while you're abroad, depending on the institution you attend.  However, you'll want to make sure that your plan to go abroad (whether for a semeseter or a year) will allow you to finish all these requirements within your timeline for finishing college.
  5. Once you have decided on the country and program (or you've narrowed it down to a reasonable number), it's time to apply.  This will usually involve an application similar to those you filled out while applying to college the first time.  They may be shorter and require that you answer fewer questions in a written format, but this varies from institution to institution.  You may also need to include some recommendations from some of your current professors.  Your study abroad office should be able to provide you with a list of exactly what you will need in order to successfully complete the application.
  6. Send in the completed application.  Make sure to meet any deadlines!  If you miss them, talk to the study abroad office.  Sometimes the deadlines imposed by your institution are earlier than those imposed by the institution you're applying to abroad.  Your college may be able to help you if you have missed one of their deadlines.
  7. Talk to your study abroad advisor.  Oftentimes colleges will assign students a study abroad advisor within their major.  This advisor will be able to help you select classes at the college you are hoping to attend abroad and can inform you of any additional work that you may need to complete in order for your college to accept your abroad credit.  This may include a paper explaining your experience abroad, or another assignment more appropriate to your major.
  8. After you have received your acceptance, which may take weeks or even months, you'll need to review all the information you have gathered from your advisors, your college, and the college you are planning to attend abroad.  Determine whether you will be able to fulfill all the requirements set forth by both schools.
  9. If you are trying to decide between two or three different institutions abroad, now is the time to make your final decision.  Compare the pros and cons of each.  Talk to your study abroad counselor.  He or she likely has a lot of experience in dealing with all the institutions that your school works with and has heard students' experiences after attending each.  Be candid about what you're looking for when you're talking to your advisor.  He or she will be able to help you make the right decision and may even be able to set you up with other students who have studied abroad so you can talk to them directly.
  10. Once you've made your decision, inform the college that you'll be attending that you accept their offer, and start packing!


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Nice article Liz,one would like to know more about scholarships

By Dalton Khamala