Study Abroad Guide
Reasons to Study Abroad
- Study abroad allows you to earn credits toward your major
- Study abroad is the optimal way to learn a language
- Study abroad provides the opportunity to travel
- Study abroad allows you to get to know another culture first-hand
- Study abroad will help you develop skills and give you experiences a classroom setting will never provide
- Study abroad affords you the opportunity to make friends around the world
- Study abroad helps you to learn about yourself
- Study abroad expands your worldview
- Study abroad gives you the opportunity to break out of your academic routine
- Study abroad enhances employment opportunities
- Study abroad can enhance the value of your degree
Before Studying Abroad
Which Study Abroad Program is Right for Me?
Why Do I Want to Study Abroad?
- Meet with your advisors:
- Study abroad advisor - She/He can tell you what you need to know and who you need to see. Their job is to make sure you are prepared for your experience and that you will gain the most from your study abroad program. These administrators are often underpaid and overworked, but they remain in this field because of their love or commitment to international education. They probably won't tell you exactly where to go, its up to you to do the research. They also won't apply for your passport for you; however, if you can't figure out how to get a passport you probably shouldn't be leaving home anyway.
- Academic advisor - Many universities provide an academic contract, which is your insurance as to the credit you'll receive upon return form overseas. Your academic advisor can tell you what type of credit you're likely to receive and how it will fit into your overall degree.
- Financial aid advisor - You will need to work closely with this administrator unless mom and dad will be hooking you up. Most study abroad participants utilize some form of financial aid for their experience. The most common aid used for study abroad is student loans. Some financial aid offices require a vast amount of hoop jumping to insure that you will actually be receiving credit for your experience. You could also browse through GoAbroad.com's Directory of Financial Aid and Scholarship Abroad http://scholarships.goabroad.com for a scholarship grant.
- Get a passport
- You can apply for a passport at post offices, and county and municipal offices. Apply several months before you leave, especially if you need visas from foreign embassies. You must apply in person if you are obtaining your first U.S. passport, if your old one was lost or stolen, or if you have an expired passport issued more than 12 years ago. Otherwise, you can renew your passport by mail. To apply for a passport, you first need to complete application form dsp-11, which you can pick up anywhere you can apply for a passport or check the Passport section of the US State Department Website http://passport.usgov.goabroad.com. When you apply, bring proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, a consular report of birth abroad, a previous passport, or a certificate of citizenship. You must also bring proof of identity, such as a driver's license, a current student or work id, or an old passport. Your social security card is not considered proof of your identity, but you must be able to supply the number. You will also need two 2"x2" photos of yourself taken in the past six months. And don't forget $60 for the processing fee.
As soon as you receive your passport, make a copy of the front page that has all your identification information, and keep it in a separate place from your passport. If your passport is lost or stolen, the copy will make it easier to get a new one.
- Get a visa
- Do some research and find out if your country of destination requires a visa. If so what kind of visa will you need? Sixty percent of the world's countries require visas for any length of stay. If you travel, you may need visas for other countries. Apply early for visas. processing time varies widely. Embassy addresses and phone numbers can be found at GoAbroad.com's Embassies and Consulates Directory http://www.embassiesabroad.com.
- Get your shots
- The center for disease control offers the most up-to-date information regarding vaccinations and shots. You should also consult your doctor.
- Consider a phone card
- Do a little research and find out how you'll be communicating with your people back home. Phone cards are great but they don't always work. I recommend the e-kit which combines voice mail, e-mail and phone card with conversions at the cheapest rates. Search at GoAbroad Cellular Phones http://phones.goabroad.com.
- Get insured
- Make sure you have a comprehensive travel insurance. Your coverage should include medical evacuation and repatriation.
- Develop a budget
- Consider the in-country costs before you go. You should develop a budget and live by it. Consider the costs of optional excursions, gifts, school supplies, internet access, in-country transportation and general living costs. Many a student, has lost their mind at the night clubs in Athens or Bangkok and have spent their semester budgets their first week abroad.
- Learn about your destination
- You're going to experience culture shock, no matter how cool you are, regardless of how diverse you are, and with no regard to your language ability you will have culture shock. One of the ways to have a better experience is to have realistic expectations. Read everything you can about your future home.
- Pack light
- You won't need make-up in Nepal, your blow dryer won't work in Madrid, you'll probably never use your baseball glove in Botswana, and you can buy cheap sweaters in Ecuador. Pack light! Research your destination in advance, find out what kind of items you must bring (for example, mosquito netting or tampons) and find out what items you can purchase cheaply there.
Orientations and Arrangements
Health and Adjustments