How to Use this Guide:
This website is designed to make all aspects of your study abroad experience--from choosing where to go, through what program, how to manage your finances, and a snapshot of previous students' experiences--an easier and less stressful experience. It can be extremely overwhelming figuring out what all of your options are and how to finally make it abroad, but it is so important to make it happen!
What we have created is a guide that will lead you through the steps to create the experience that's perfect for you. All resources you could possibly need are here, or will send you where you need to go. There is a lot of information, but it is as condensed and straight to the point. Relax, enjoy, and good luck!

What Studying Abroad Can Provide:

  • Educational Opportunities
    • Living in another country can provide you with educational experiences that you never would or could have at your home university. Depending on what you study--from social sciences, international relations, mathematics, physics, any discipline, there are so many opportunities you can learn in another country that can add your studies and provide you with a broader perspective. Learning from a different point of view, like international relations, for example, through the eyes of Europeans can change how you view your major at home.
    • To be able to connect what you learn in your home university to what you study in a foreign country helps you understand your field in a more holistic way.
  • Personal Development and Growth
    • According to the Institute for the International Education of Students, students were surveyed on their experience abroad: 96% of students replied to an increased in self confidence,  97% said is served as a catalyst for increased maturity, and 95% said it has had a lasting impact on world view (IES)
    • Being immersed in another culture and put in situations that are not what you are used to is difficult, yes, but liberating as well. To overcome getting lost in a huge city, where you don't know the language very well, it's accomplishing. It allows you to gain confidence in your abilities as a person, trusting yourself. 
    • Living in a new culture can be scary and frustrating. Not understanding why stores are closed on Sundays (and sometimes Mondays, or Tuesday's, or whenever they want like in the south of France) or why they eat dinner at 10pm. It's different, but it can also be exciting. If you can learn to appreciate a different culture, that Sundays are days to spend with your family, whether or not you accept it as the "right" way, gives you a better perspective on the world.
  • Language Skills
    • The best way to really learn and understand a foreign language is by being completely immersed in it. Often, what you learn in a classroom is much different that what is spoken in the streets, and to live in another country, where you are surrounded by a different language, you can pick up much more than what you would learn in a textbook.
    • The most effective way to learn a foreign language is through living in that country.
  • Career Advantages
    • In a study by the International Studies and Overseas Programs (ISOP. pg 134), "Changing U.S. Business Needs for International Expertise," the authors explained trends in global business which included, global integration, electronic communication revolution, emerging markets, and new global players. Results showed that "small companies and service industry firms increasingly require international expertise" and that "companies see the need for improvements in their level of expertise," and lastly that "little value is given to people with language and cross-cultural skills unless they also have business skills, overseas experience, and interpersonal skills."
    • U.S. businesses are becoming more and more interdependent on the international market that the need for employees with international experience is highly valued. As a newly, unemployed graduate who might not have much experience in the working world, but has experience abroad on their resume may have an upper edge than others who haven't studied abroad.
  • International Perspective (through living in another culture and through Travel)
    • Living abroad, depending on where you are, can open up numerous possibilities of other countries you can visit. In Europe, you're just a few hours away from the country next door, a country that is culturally different from the one your in. 
    • Traveling to other countries can give you even greater world perspective and can allow you to understand where you stand in the world, where others do, and gives you a chance to see your home through the eyes of other cultures.
    • If you can go abroad with an open mind, you will be able to broaden your world understanding and perspective. This will affect who you are as a person, and can change your life.
    • Also, while abroad you may find a new academic interest or perspective on your major.
  • Social Possibilities
    • You will be able to meet people from all over the world. You'll meet locals and if you will live in a town with other international students, or through traveling, the friendships you will make will be limitless. Coming back home you will have connections all over the world, and many will be life-long friendships.
    • Whether or not there is a language barrier, becoming friends with someone from a different culture may have its' difficulties, but again, it can provide you with a different perspective.

The benefits of studying abroad are limitless. And what you make of your time abroad will give you different experiences to learn from. It can be scary to embark on an adventure where you will be faced with unexpected and difficult situations, but it will make you more self-reliant, and give you something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Myths about Studying Abroad:

  • Myth: "I can't afford to study abroad" or "I won't be able to use my financial aid while abroad"
  • Reality: Financing your trip may be the most stressful part of the whole process and is the number one challenge students face that prevent them from going abroad. But it does not have to be this way. Depending on which program you go through can determine the cost. If you go through your university, the cost is usually the tuition you pay at your home institute, and financial aid is accepted. If you go through providers which your school has approved, your financial aid will also be accepted. Furthermore, there at millions of dollars annually that are used for scholarships and grants specifically for undergraduate students studying abroad. If you just do a little research, and talk with your advisor, chances are you may even pay less than what you normally would!

  • Myth: "I need to know another language other than English to study abroad" or "I can only study abroad in an English-speaking country because I don't know another language"
  • Reality: Many programs do not require prior knowledge of another language to go abroad and some only require one semester of the foreign language. Often these programs will have an intensive 3-4 week session before school starts. Yes, it may be more difficult to be immersed in a culture with little knowledge of the language, but once in the country, you will pick up the language faster than you think. Also, if you really are determined to learn another language, you will make it happen.

  • Myth: "I won't be able to take any courses for my major which will push back my graduation date" or "Credits I take won't transfer back to my home university, pushing back my graduation date"
  • Reality: It all depends on the program you go through! There are so many programs available now that your number one priority in searching will be by subject. Also, if the program is approved by your institution, transferring credits will be much easier and will count toward your major, either for your major, for general education courses, or your electives. If you plan in advance and talk with your advisor, you can pre approve courses you will take to ease your stress about graduation. Biggest point to emphasize here, TALK with your advisor, and ask first before you decide the credits won't transfer and you won't be able to graduate on time.

  • Myth: "I will have more time and money after I graduate, so I am going to wait."
  • Reality: Chances are you may have the exact opposite. You may be pressured to get a job right away to be financially independent, or something will come up that will delay going abroad, and delay it, and then you won't have time anymore. You'll be killing two birds with one stone by going studying abroad while in university. Also, if you're already lined up with a job after graduation, it will be very difficult to take an extended holiday, and more likely it would be an unpaid holiday break. You may also have long term financial responsibilities (mortgage, car payments, etc) that would prevent you from being abroad for an extended period of time. And, going abroad for a vacation, as a tourist, is a much different experience than actually living abroad.

  • Myth: "It's too dangerous to go abroad" or "My parents won't let me because they think it's too dangerous"
  • Reality: You have to be careful wherever you are. Whether in the U.S. or a foreign country you can be in a dangerous situation. As long as you stay smart and aware of where you are, you won't get into a dangerous situation. Also, programs will monitor current worldwide news and events, and will give warning if anywhere is unsafe. Regarding your parents, have them talk with your advisor as well. Your more likely to be in an incident in the U.S. than you are abroad.

  • Myth: "I have to have really good grades to go abroad"
  • Reality: It depends on the program, but most just require good standing, but this shouldn't discourage you from applying. You will have the opportunity to explain anything in your application, and most programs want you to go abroad, and will find ways to make it happen.  Most students who meet the minimum qualifications for the program will get accepted. And there are so many options that you can apply with many programs.

  • Myth"Studying abroad is a luxury and is more of a party abroad than academics"
  • Reality: Many people think of studying abroad as not actually studying abroad but partying and traveling. Again, it's what you make of the experience. The academic setting may be different from what you're used to, but in order to get your courses to transfer, you have to pass the class. And although there may be less school work (many systems are much different from the U.S. and there is only tests), you do have to make an effort in your courses. Plus, what you learn in the overall experience of being abroad, from meeting new people to seeing new places, the entire experience is a learning adventure.

  • Myth: "Studying abroad is only for students in certain areas like humanities or social sciences"
  • Reality: There are hundreds of programs available and you can search by the subject you want to study to find the right program for you. All fields are affected by globalization and international communication nowadays, that it is important for everyone, no matter the field, to study abroad.

There numerous obstacles that prevent students from going abroad, but if you do your research, there are many ways around theses challenges that will make it possible for you to go abroad without putting you in dept, pushing back your graduation date, or any other factors that would prevent you from going abroad. 
The following pages in this guide will help you through these barriers by giving advice, leading you through the decision making processes, and providing you with first hand experience from past students.
Our goal: to make it possible for you to get your international education!