Studying abroad is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience, but what many don’t realize is that the initial process can be stressful and tedious. Searching for credits and courses can be exhausting and feel overwhelming. This post will help you overcome these challenges and make the experience a little less chaotic.
I’m a third-year International Relations and Global Studies major here at The University of Texas at Austin. My major is focused on international issues and events, and my degree actually requires that I study abroad. (Most majors here at UT Austin don’t have a study abroad requirement; therefore, most degrees are not as lenient about approving credit abroad.)
Below I will suggest some steps you should take when studying abroad for your major.
Step 1: Meet With Your Academic Advisor
I can’t stress this enough: Meeting with your academic advisor and asking them questions about your degree plan is essential when starting this process.
Questions you should ask include:
- Do these credits need to be in-residence?
- Is there a cap on transfer credits for my degree?
- If I don’t get all the courses, will my graduation be delayed?
- When is the best semester/year for me to study abroad?
- How likely is it to get study abroad credit approved for my degree?
Look over your Interactive Degree Audit with your advisor for further information.
Step 2: Look at the Texas Global Website
Specifically, view Texas Global’s Programs by Major page, where you will find programs and universities that offer courses in your major. Please keep in mind that not all the universities appear on this page; these are just the most popular and compatible schools for each degree. That’s why it’s important to talk to someone who is familiar with the study abroad system to help you out.
Step 3: Schedule an Appointment With a Peer Mentor
Peer mentors can show you how to submit course evaluations so that you see which credits you will receive before you’ve even left the country. This will alleviate a lot of stress and keep you on track to graduate on time.
Also, if you’re a student from the Cockrell School of Engineering or McCombs School of Business, you will have your own study abroad office. Those offices are superb at finding programs and courses for their students, but please note: If you are in either school, you can still seek advising at the Texas Global Education Abroad office.
Studying abroad for your major requires months of planning (or, ideally, a year). Preparing ahead will allow you to submit more course evaluations and also make informed decisions regarding graduation and credits. There is no expedited process for course evaluations by students who wait until the last minute, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Good luck with the process, and remember: Education Abroad is here to help!
Daniell Martinez is an Education Abroad Peer Mentor providing support to students interested in studying abroad. Learn about this position and its services on the Peer Mentor Programs webpage.