Study Abroad Student Handbook
Worldwide Worldwide
Center for Global Education

Begin Program Search

In this section, you will get some helpful tools and advice on how to select the best study abroad program for you.

Prior to participating, students and their parents should take time to look at the different programs available for study abroad. One of the main reasons students cite for not studying abroad is that they start the planning process too late and miss the opportunity. The earlier you start researching programs, the better chance you will have to study abroad, include the coursework in your on–campus degree program, and graduate on time. The simplest way to find an appropriate study abroad program in the country of your choice is to look at programs available through your home campus; home campus faculty and staff can help you through the process.

1. Some Tools for Finding a Program

  • U.S. Home Campus Study Abroad Office/Resource Center: The best place to look for a study abroad program in the country of your choice is your U.S. home campus study abroad office (where available). The staff can help you through the process of finding a program, applying, participating, and returning home.
  • Websites: There are a number of websites with information about available study abroad programs in the country of your choice. Some websites we recommend are: StudyAbroad.com and IIE Passport.
  • Reference Books: The following are comprehensive reference books which are updated each year: Peterson's Study Abroad, Peterson's Summer Study Abroad, IIE Academic Year Abroad, and IIE Short–Term Study Abroad. They include detailed explanations and descriptions of many study abroad programs in the country of your choice.

2. Asking the Right Questions

The following is a list of questions to ask when looking for an appropriate study abroad program in the country of your choice. Along with speaking with program administrators in the United States, we suggest you speak with students who have participated in a study abroad program in the country of your choice. If possible, speak directly with a program administrator in the country of your choice to find out the strengths and weaknesses of their program.

  • Courses Available: What courses can be taken in the country of your choice? Will they be taught by U.S. home campus professors or foreign university faculty or locals? What credentials do they have? Have they taught U.S. students before? Is the set–up in a traditional classroom?
  • Transfer Credit: Will courses taken in the country of your choice count towards your U.S. degree program (major, minor, language, general education, etc.)?
  • Housing: Is housing provided as part of the program? Is it in an international university dorm? With a family/homestay? In an apartment? What part of the city? How far from where the courses are offered? Near public transportation?
  • Cost: What are the costs of the program, including tuition, administrative fees, room and board, international travel, in–country travel and excursions, extra costs, etc.?
  • Location: Where in the city are the program office/courses located? Is it in a modern city, a rural location, or a developing area with limited resources?
  • Duration: Is the program available for a year, semester, quarter, summer, short–term? How will the season and schedule compare to those at your U.S. home campus?
  • Language: Do you want to study in a language other than English? How much prior language training is required? What type of language training is offered? Are courses offered in English, the language of the country of your choice or other languages?
  • Support Services: Does your U.S. home campus provide academic advisement and counseling to students through program orientations (some campuses require that all students take a semester–long course before studying abroad)? What types of support services and administrative offices are in place in the country of your choice?
  • Safety: Is there someone at the program's U.S. office and in the country of your choice who is specifically responsible for students' health and safety? What policies and procedures do they have in place? Do they have an emergency/evacuation plan?
  • Program Evaluations: Can you see program evaluations from other students who participated in the past?
  • Application Deadline Dates: What are the deadline dates to apply for the program? If you miss a deadline, can you apply late?
  • Deposits: Do you need to make any initial or non–refundable deposits in order to guarantee you a place in the program, etc.?
  • In addition to the above, there may be other, personal matters and questions you wish to discuss with program administrators before making any final decisions. Make sure to look through the rest of the Handbook for more health and safety information on studying abroad in the country of your choice.

3. Relevant Questions

  • What resources are available to help you find a study abroad program in the country of your choice?
  • What issues should you consider when looking for a program in the country of your choice?
  • Where can you find information on the strengths and weaknesses of programs in the country of your choice?
  • How can your U.S. home campus study abroad office help you?

4. Checklist

  • I have visited my U.S. home campus Study Abroad Office and/or looked through study abroad reference books and websites about the country of your choice.
  • I know what courses are available through the program I have chosen in the country of your choice.
  • I know whether or not I will be able to transfer the courses taken abroad in the country of your choice to my U.S. home institution.
  • I have researched the cost of the program in the country of your choice and what the cost covers.
  • I know where the program is located and where the abroad program office is located.
  • I have checked the length of the program and what time of year the program is offered.
  • I know in what language(s) the course will be offered.
  • I understand what support services are available through the program in the U.S. and in the country of your choice.
  • I know who is in charge of health and safety for the program.
  • I have spoken with students that have participated in the program and/or read written evaluations from past participants.

5. Resources

  • AllAbroad.us: Deciding on a Program Mentors address the most important issues around deciding on a program.
  • AllAbroad.us: Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad
  • Finding a Quality Program A resource of The Center for Global Education. The site provides a tool to search for a study abroad program by country and by major.
  • Frommers Budget Travel Online Publishes a variety of travel books and magazines.
  • GlobalScholar.us: Go to Course 1, Module 2, Task 1 " Find the Right Program" to find a quality program and see what options you have.
  • GlobalScholar.us: Go to Course 1, Module 2, Task 3 "Study Abroad Search List" about where to find your study abroad program and decide on your criteria for a program.
  • IIEPassport Provides information about various study abroad programs
  • International Education of Students Homepage for the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) which provides guidelines for evaluating study abroad programs.
  • Kasbah.com This site claims to be the world's largest travel guide and shows the not:to:be:missed highlights of major cities around the world.
  • Let's Go Site of the publisher of another one of the most popular student guidebooks on the market today, with links on where to buy.
  • Lonely Planet's Guidebooks Site of the publisher of one of the most popular student guidebooks on the market today, with links on where to buy.
  • Peterson's Provides information about various study abroad programs
  • Programs Abroad A resource of The Center for Global Education. The site provides an extensive listing with links to programs abroad, including internship, research, service learning and volunteer, study and work abroad programs.
  • Rough Guides guidebooks A travel site covering topics from world music to e:books.
  • Sarah's Wish This site provides helpful safety tips on things to remember when looking for a study abroad program provider.
  • StudyAbroad.com Provides information about various study abroad programs.
  • Transitions Abroad Offers affordable alternatives to vacationing abroad, such as work and study abroad.
  • Who Runs Your Program? A resource of The Center for Global Education. Provides an explanation of program structures and ownership. This should be the first step in choosing a study abroad program.
  • Worldwide Colleges and Universities A resource of The Center for Global Education. The site provides web links to colleges and universities around the world.
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