Looking to travel the world but don’t want to miss out academically? This is your sign to take the leap and study abroad! Who said you can’t have it all? Studying abroad allows you to earn credits towards your degree while also traveling and living your best life. In January 2022, I’ll be studying in Paris for the semester. Here are some tips I wish I knew to save me the stress of figuring out the study abroad process.
Meet with an advisor
This should be your first step! Meeting with your advisor is important to figure out how a study abroad program will fit in with your degree requirements and the rest of your academic career. An advisor can help decide how many credits to take, what courses you should be taking and if you need to take extra credit hours. My advisor also helped me with deciding on a program, since Mizzou didn’t have a program that fit my major.
Look at programs
Look for the right program that fits your needs. This was one of the hardest parts for me, as I’m a true Libra and making decisions is my worst nightmare. Some universities may not offer a program that fits your interests or major, so I recommend looking into affiliated programs. These usually work with school scholarships and offer discounts! The program I’m using is run through Cultural Experiences Abroad, but I’ve also heard great things about The Institute for the International Education of Students, or IES.
Fill out the application and apply for a visa
Once you’ve decided on a program, start filling out the applications needed. For affiliated programs, I personally had to fill out more applications: one for my program, one for my university and multiple scholarship applications. Scholarships are a great way to afford to study abroad, so I highly recommend applying for them! Depending on how long you are studying and where, you may need a visa. I recommend applying for a visa ASAP to save you the stress. Also, if you don’t have a passport, get one before you do anything!
Make sure your credit hours transfer
Meet with your advisor to make sure the courses taken overseas can be used for your degree requirements. Some courses with the same name may not always transfer the same.
Like I mentioned before, apply for scholarships to afford to study abroad. I also recommend starting to budget early and seeing if your already existing scholarships can be used.
The study abroad process can be stressful with the thought of planning so far in advance, but honestly, it takes time and planning to make sure everything goes smoothly. Better to be prepared than scrambling at the last minute! If you have any questions, take them to your academic advisor and study abroad advisor!