General Rule of Thumb
Start planning early! I recommend most people begin planning their study abroad experience at least one semester in advance. However, remember, the earlier you get started the more options you will have! Yes. You FRESHMEN. Theoretically, y’all have the MOST options to study abroad as you have the MAJORITY of your degree to choose classes from left! Also remember, it is never too early or too late to study abroad.
So in a couple of short words. Study abroad is a 3 way dance between you, your academic advisor, and the international office! At the beginning it might seem VERY unclear, BUT follow the steps below and see where it leads you. Is study abroad hard? No, but you will definitely have to put some time and effort into the process. Is it worth it and would I do it again? 100% yes. (I may or may not be studying abroad again in Mexico this summer.)
STEP 1: Meet with your academic advisor.
- Talk to your academic advisor first. Remember, they are your END all BE all for your degree plans. If there is anything you would possibly need to be aware of when deciding which classes to take abroad they will be able to tell you and advise you accordingly. ***Pre-med tip*** Medical schools do NOT recommend you take your pre-med prerequisites abroad!
- Set up an appointment to go over your 4 year degree plan with an advisor. In this appointment, you and your advisor can walk through what your 8 semesters will look like at UT and they can also advise you on what time you should study abroad and what classes you should plan on taking. Questions you should definitely ask:
- What classes do you recommend I take abroad?
- When do you recommend I study abroad?
- Can I take the classes you recommended as Transfer credits?
- These are important questions because there are some programs through our office that will give you transfer credit and NOT in-residence credits. with transfer credits, it is important to double check with your advisor that if taken as transfer credits, they will still fulfill your degree requirement. For more questions regarding the difference: EXCHANGE VS. AFFILIATE
STEP 2: Come talk to study abroad.
There are two ways to do this!
- Come to peer advising
- Talk to a cool student like myself 1-on-1 about the realities and logistics of studying abroad anytime during the week through walk-in advising Monday – Friday from 9 am-5 pm at the International Office.
- Attend an explore session
- These are regionally-based group sessions that briefly highlight information you need to know about all the programs in a specific region of the world.
Talk through some of these questions at either a peer or explore session!
- What are the deadlines?
- What is the difference between affiliate and exchange? * Make sure you understand this*
- Where do I find a list of all the programs?
- What is my credit abroad (MyCA) & how do I get the credit I need?
- What does the cost of my program look like?
STEP 3: Explore both yourself and study abroad programs.
Figure out what you want to get out of your study abroad experience. Seems redundant to say, right? We wanna have fun!!!…and get credit for our majors…and maybe want it to not be too expensive. However, there are several more factors to choose from when studying abroad. Each country and each program is unique and can give you a variety of different experiences. Yes, credit is super important, but I HIGHLY encourage y’all to take a second to breathe and ask yourself what is important to you?
- Do you want to improve on a language skill?
- Do you want the ability to travel to different countries for weekend trips?
- Study with a UT professor and go on a study abroad with other UT students?
- Or travel to that one country you always dreamed of going but never thought it was financially possible?
Explore. Exploree. Exploreeee. Go to as many explore sessions as you want and ask specific questions. The programs coordinators running these sessions have a wealth of knowledge they are just waiting to share with you. Find the credit you are looking for by using my credit abroad and the program course schedule. Look through the programs database and narrow down to at least one or two programs that best meet what you’re looking for in a study abroad experience.
STEP 4: Apply to your program.
Unfortunately, you will be allowed to apply to only one primary program and also choose one for backup. However, I will say the likelihood of you not being accepted into your primary choice is very low (you will know the super competitive programs), if you meet the eligibility requirements on the program page. The study abroad team really does do it’s best to ensure that everyone is able to go on their primary choice program!
There are two main ways to get your application opened. If you are applying to a faculty-led program, you are able to self-authorize an application directly from the program page. If not, you are required to attend two sessions. First, an explore session, and the second one being a ready to apply session. Only after attending both sessions are you able to start working on the application. Please do keep in mind that when you start working on the application, you will be automatically charged a non-refundable $75 fee even if you do not end up going abroad. This is why we encourage you to do your full research before starting to work on an application.
So folks, that is it. Hope this has been at least a little helpful. If you have any questions, please, please, please feel free to reach out!!! Email email@example.com for questions, concerns, or any advice and come talk to a peer advisor from 9 am-5 pm for some authentic peer advice from your very own classmates who have studied abroad.
See you abroad,
This post was contributed by Monica Gupta, a Study Abroad Peer Advisor. Monica, a Public Health and Nursing senior, studied abroad her freshman year through Arcadia University’s London Internship Program. She’ll be completing her second study abroad at ITESM Queretaro, Mexico, during the summer of 2019.
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