Studying Abroad 101


I’m going to start off by making a disclaimer that I have not myself been lucky enough to study abroad however I have been abroad before and I have done all the research for studying abroad programs.

With summer approaching rapidly (thank god) students are looking to make plans for how they’ll be spending their summers. Some students are heading home and looking for summer employment, some are staying on campus to take some summer course and others are looking to study abroad.

For those looking into studying abroad it can be a bit overwhelming. I can sometimes be a planning nut (alright, oftentimes) and as such I’ve looked into studying abroad heavily even though I haven’t had the opportunity to take advantage of the many programs out there. To help those who might be overwhelmed or just need some help to get started I’ve laid out a lot of information to help you get started.

Where Should You Start Looking for the Right Program?

I put this list in the info infographic below as well however I plan to expand on each one in more detail here.

  1. Look into your college’s study abroad program. If you visit the study abroad office on your campus you’re likely to come across a lot of brochures as well as people who can help you with picking the right program, choosing courses to work for your major and planning out the financial payments. Even if you don’t find a program through you’re school they’re oftentimes more than willing to help you find an outside program to fit your wants and needs. Also, sometimes the study abroad offices will hold informational fairs where you can get all of the same information that you might find in the study abroad office.
  2. CIS Abroad. This is the company that I’ve extensively looked into myself. More specifically I’ve looked into their Scotland summer program but sadly due to money and staying on time for graduation I decided against it. CIS Abroad has done a great job, I think, of laying out all of their programs in an easy manner to look through and compare as well as find by your area of study.  For those looking for internship experience they also offer internships abroad which I think is a fantastic opportunity. They also, if you happen to run into a booth they have set up or fill out an online request form, have catalogs detailing all of their programs. If you need financial help, CIS also has different scholarships that you can apply for to help you out. The only problem that I do have with CIS Abroad is that they have an application fee when you apply to their programs that is to me, too high for college students. Of all the programs that are not associated with a school, I think CIS has a lot to offer and I wish that I had the chance to take advantage of one or more of their programs. To check out CIS Abroad you can click here.
  3. IES Abroad. This group has also done a great job of creating an easy way to research the right program for you based on your area of study and location however, I do think that their website does leave a bit to be desired aesthetically. I think that it could use more photos showcasing their programs and the experiences students had. IES also does a great job laying out all of the program information. Plus, they have a ton of information laid out for students who are looking to intern abroad. Personally I think that if you’re looking into a program not associated with your university that IES should definitely be one of the first programs that you try to look into.For more information about IES Abroad click here.
  4. Semester at Sea. This program is a lot different than any other study abroad program as you’re literally at sea. For this program you’ll study onboard a ship as you travel from port to port. Due to the nature of Semester at Sea the program choices are very limited, require the dedication of most of your summer rather than chunks at a time and is also considerably more expensive. However, if you’re looking for a unique experience, Semester at Sea is definitely a good option. To learn more about Semester at Sea click here.
  5. CIEE. This is another company that offers a variety of programs abroad. Of all of the programs mentioned so far this is the website that I think offers the information in the weakest layout. To me the information is just not formatted in a way where you can easily click on different tabs to find what you need to know. If you want to look into CIEE for more information click here.
  6. AIFS Abroad. AIFS has some great programs listed and is fairly well organized. My only grief with them is that it would be helpful if they provided the option to look for programs based on your area of study, an option I was unable to locate. I do really like all of the photos that they have, it makes the website more engaging and I know I personally get more excited when there’s photos for me to look at. To learn more about AIFS Abroad click here.

What Are Some Things You Should Keep in Mind When Looking for a Program?


  1. Academic Credit. This is the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a study abroad program. You need to make sure that whatever program that you’ve chosen, unless it’s a program through your school, that you are going to get equal academic credit at your university so that you receive proper compensation for the time and money that you put into the program. Even though you may be using a non-school associated program the employees of the study abroad office on your campus will be able to help you figure out the best way to ensure you receive proper credit. This should be taken care of before you leave to complete your program, not after.
  2. Cost. Make sure you’re aware of what your “budget” is when picking out a program and whether or not you need to look into potential scholarships or aid from the program.
  3. Location. There are so many different pleas to choose form make sure that you find the one that excites you the most. Another things to keep in mind is if you want to be able to see other places while you’re abroad and if your choice will make that feasible.
  4. Time. Make sure that the time frame of the specific program you choose doesn’t conflict with other interests.
  5. Deadlines. Most if not all programs have deadlines for various stages of the application process. This is going to include application and application fees, payment fees and any academic or travel paperwork necessary to travel abroad. Make sure to keep up on these deadlines and even better complete each process as ahead of time as possible just in case a problem arises with some of the required paperwork.

What Are Some facts That You Might Want to Know About Studying Abroad?

Study Abroad Infographic crop


Whatever you choose to do I wish you the best of luck and hope that you have a great adventure.

If you have any stories to share or tips from experiences you have please share them with the comments!


4 thoughts on “Studying Abroad 101

  1. Lori says:

    High school study abroad is also a great option! My daughter participated on a trip to Italy with SPI Study Abroad (, and had the time of her life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s