There are many reasons why you should study abroad. Study abroad is a challenge, and you will learn and grow in many ways. By experiencing a new culture and maybe even a new language, you will benefit personally, educationally, and professionally. Want even more reasons? Visit Why Go Abroad to learn more.
Everyone has something different that they are looking for in study abroad. Maybe you want to study a foreign language and experience another culture, or perhaps you want to learn more about the country your ancestors came from. Thinking about your expectations and goals can help you choose a program, but remember to be flexible and that there may not be a program that perfectly fits what you're looking for. Read more about How to Choose the Right Program.
Each destination is unique. To get an idea of what it is like, you can research information on the culture, food, and weather of that city and country. Another way to find out more about the location is to talk to people who have visited there, especially if they have participated in the program you are considering. Explore our Destination Guides to find out more about different countries around the world.
An ideal length of time to study abroad for many students is for at least at semester, but remember that study abroad opportunities can range anywhere from ten days, to five weeks, or a semester to a year. If you have family obligations or other commitments, you may want to consider short-term or summer study abroad. No matter what the length of your program is, your time abroad will be valuable. Learn more by reading How to Choose the Right Program. Then be sure to log in and use our Match Me Tool to help you find opportunities out there.
Many programs have a website and/or informational brochures which are a good starting point for finding out more about that program. If you have additional questions, a study abroad adviser at your campus, a mentor, or the program adviser can help answer your questions. If you are still looking into a program, use our Match Me tool to get started. You can also learn more by exploring the Study Abroad Programs portal on Diversity Abroad.
There are hundreds of study abroad opportunities offered throughout the world. One way to narrow down where you'd like to go is to think about what kinds of qualities you are looking for in a location. Would you prefer an urban or a rural setting? Do you want to go to an English-speaking country or somewhere where you will use a foreign language? You will also want to consider affordability and safety as you choose a destination. Consult our Destination Guides to learn more, and then read up on How to Choose the Right Program.
Where will I be living?
Different programs have different housing options. Most students who study abroad live dorms, apartments, or homestays. The particular housing options available to you will depend on the program.
The minimum GPA varies because each study abroad program sets its own requirements. In addition to a GPA requirement there may be other academic prerequisites you must fulfill before studying abroad. Check with the programs you are interested in for any specific requirements. Make an appointment with an academic or study abroad advisor to inquire more about the program you're interested in most.
Depending on what kind of program you choose, your professors may be from your own university, from the host country, or a combination of the two. Students may be other American students, international students, or students from the host country. Likewise, the staff can also vary.
For example, if you go on a Faculty-led program offered through your home campus, there's a higher chance that the majority of your classmates will also be from your campus.
However, if you choose to do an Exchange Program through your school, you will become the 'international student' at that institution overseas. So all of your classmates and faculty will be full-time students and professors there.
This is something to take into consideration when choosing the best kind of study abroad program for you. Learn more about the different Types of Study Abroad to make an informed decision.
Not necessarily! You don't have to know a foreign language in order to study abroad. Many programs are taught in English, and do not require previous study of a foreign language. Of course, some more intensive courses or programs rooted in language learning are taught in a foreign language and do have prerequisites that must be met, so plan ahead if you are interested in these.
If a course does require you to have a working understanding of a foreign language, they will likely request you take a placement exam, or provide exam scores to understand your proficiency level and place in you the most appropriate course level. Read more in our article, Insider’s Guide to Language Learning Abroad.
Yes, you can study abroad and graduate on time if you plan ahead. If the classes you take are given approval, you can earn credit towards your degree and even your major. A study abroad adviser and your major adviser can help you plan so that you can study abroad and graduate on time. The earlier you meet with them to map out your courses necessary to graduate for your major, the sooner you'll also know the best time for you to go abroad.
Many study abroad programs offer credit, but this credit may or may not be transferable to your home institution. Make sure that you speak with an academic adviser before you study abroad to make sure that you will receive credit and to check whether or not the classes you take abroad can be applied to your major or other academic requirements. Most likely your study abroad program and courses will not be approved if they don't transfer because they wouldn't want you to waste your time, money or experiences!
How do I apply to study abroad?
Each program has its own application process and deadlines. Plan ahead and remember that some applications may be more extensive than others.
“I wanted to study Arabic in order to connect with my family, history, religion, and culture. I previously lived and worked in an Arabic-speaking country and wanted to learn Arabic more formally in order to maintain personal and professional...”
American Councils for International Education