Studying Abroad: Step-by-Step

Deciding to Studying Abroad

Why Study Abroad?

Studying abroad is becoming more popular than ever. A report from the Institute of International Education found that 304,467 U.S. college students traveled overseas for academic purposes during the 2013-14 academic year, a 5% increase from the previous year. Colleges and universities have met this demand by offering more international opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students across all major fields of study, and a growing number of online learning institutions are following suit.

Students choose to learn abroad for several reasons. International programs allow participants to step out of their comfort zones and immerse themselves in a foreign culture. Students also observe different education and business practices, and have the opportunity to forge lifelong connections and expand their global professional network. Other potential benefits of studying abroad include foreign language skills, graduate school opportunities, and higher rates of post-college employment. If you’re interested in studying abroad, here are some introductory questions to ask yourself:

  • What kinds of study abroad programs are available through my college or university?
  • How does studying abroad align with my personal, academic, and career goals?
  • Am I ready or prepared to leave home for an extended period of time?
  • If I could study anywhere in the world, where would I go and why?

This guide to studying abroad will explore the academic requirements, financial costs, program options, and other key aspects of studying abroad. Our goal is to provide a detailed resource for online students who are curious about attending college internationally.

Study Abroad Considerations

There are several factors students should take into consideration as they research different international academic programs. While not an exhaustive list, some major points include:

  • Affordability: The cost of studying abroad can vary a great deal from school to school. Some colleges work with students and partner universities abroad to keep the price as low as the equivalent of one semester of study at the student’s home university, but it’s not unheard of for a study abroad program to cost over $31,000 per semester — more than twice the amount of stateside options. This includes tuition, course materials, and housing, as well as daily expenses like food, nightlife, and in-country travel. Students can pursue grant and scholarship opportunities to help mitigate the various costs of studying and living abroad if a program doesn’t fall within their budget.
  • Program Format: Some study abroad options follow a classroom schedule similar to stateside programs, while others follow a more independent track. Students should decide which format is best, in terms of both personal preference and professional goals. Credit transferral is another important consideration. Students should concentrate on programs that will help them work toward their major/minor degree requirements in order to get best return on their investment.
  • Duration: Study abroad programs generally fall under one of three categories: short-term, semester, and full-year. Students should explore programs that will allow them to finish school and earn their degree within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Destination: Each country presents a unique experience for U.S. students, and those who wish to study abroad should choose their destination carefully. Geography, weather, food, arts, political climate, and other factors should all play a role in helping students decide where to study abroad.

Benefits of Studying Abroad

Students who go abroad gain a wealth of knowledge, skills, and cultural insights. Here are some of the major benefits of international study:

  • Post-College Employment: Business leaders today stress the importance of international commerce and cooperation, and students who have gone abroad are considered valuable assets to companies and organizations who operate on a global scale. A 2012 study by IES Abroad found that 95% of college graduates who studied overseas were able to secure employment within one year of finishing school. In contrast, 49% of students who did not study abroad reported the same outcome.
  • Language Skills: Many linguistic experts agree that cultural immersion and daily conversation are key to becoming fluent in a second language. Studying abroad allows students to speak with local residents in their native tongue and in a wide range of contexts.
  • Cultural Experience: Studying and living in a foreign country forces individuals to leave their comfort zone and take part in new customs, traditions, and ways of life. These experiences not only help students gain a worldly perspective, but also allow them to return home and educate others about international culture.
  • Once-in-a-Lifetime Travel Opportunity: For many individuals, studying abroad is the most convenient way to experience another country and live outside the U.S. for an extended period of time. College students generally have fewer responsibilities and obligations as working professionals or parents, and many study abroad programs incorporate in-country travel and cultural activities to help enhance the overall experience.

Studying Abroad as an Online Student

A growing number of online learners are pursuing study abroad opportunities. Timing and duration are important factors for online students with full-time jobs, childcare duties, and other major responsibilities. However, a wide range of flexible study abroad options allow online students to find a program that will accommodate their current life situation.

Online students qualify for the same scholarships, grants, and other financial aid as on-campus learners. Many foreign exchange programs are also available to online learners. Free scholarship databases include Fast Web, IEEPassport, and Grants.gov; students are also encouraged to contact the financial aid office at their college or university for additional funding options.

Online students should begin their research by contacting their school’s director or coordinator for international programs. These officials will be able to elaborate on available study abroad options. Students should also meet with their advisor in order to find a program that best aligns with their degree requirements, schedule, and professional goals.

Preparing To Study Abroad

Types of Programs

Academic Year or Semester Program Traditionally, academic year or semester (usually six months) programs are the lengthiest study abroad opportunities. These programs are geared toward students who want a completely immersive international experience.
Summer Program Summer programs generally range from three to four months. The shorter duration suits those on a small budget, along with students who are hesitant to leave home for an extended period.
Intersession Program Intersession programs are much shorter in length than other study abroad options; they typically span one to eight weeks, and may take place at any time of the year/semester. These introductory programs are ideal for students who want to gain international experience but can’t afford a longer commitment.
Internship Program Internships combine work and academics to give students a well-rounded preview of their professional pathway. Internships abroad give students global work experience that will help them become strong candidates in the job market, but these opportunities tend to be more intensive and time-consuming than other study abroad programs.
Volunteer Program Volunteer programs incorporate community service projects into the study abroad experience. Students work with local residents in order to gain a better understanding of the local structure and culture. These programs vary in length, from intercession to year-long.
eLearning Program Volunteer programs incorporate community service projects into the study abroad experience. Students work with local residents in order to gain a better understanding of the local structure and culture. These programs vary in length, from intercession to year-long.
Intensive Language Program Intensive language programs are specifically designed for students who wish to learn another language fluently. These programs vary in length, although they are usually semester/year-length in order to give students ample time to practice their new language.
Teaching Program Study abroad teaching programs help students develop the leadership and interpersonal skills needed to become successful educators. These programs usually involve U.S. students teaching English to a classroom of foreign learners; they generally range from six months to two years in length.

Living Arrangement Options

Pros Cons
Host Family
  • Living with local residents will enhance language and cultural immersion
  • Students gain the opportunity to form relationships that endure after the study abroad program ends
  • Food, cleaning, and other needs are often provided by host family
  • Certain rules, such as curfews, may be enforced
  • Students may have to adjust to different standards of living
  • Depending on the households, students may have less privacy
Dorm
  • Students can interact with people who are close in age and have similar interests
  • Dorms are usually within walking distance to classrooms and other university facilities
  • Students have access to a Resident Advisor (RA) who can provide support in academic and social matters
  • The social atmosphere of a dorm may distract from studying
  • Accommodations may be less spacious, depending on the number of roommates assigned
  • Students may be required to purchase a meal plan and pay additional housing fees
Apartment
  • Apartments provide the opportunity for students to live alone or with a few fellow students or local residents
  • Students have more freedom when choosing their living location
  • More expensive
  • Students are responsible for meals, laundry, paying bills, cleaning, and transportation

Cost of Studying Abroad

Study abroad programs are significant investments, and students should carefully research different international destinations in order to calculate all costs and set a realistic, reasonable budget. Important financial factors to consider when choosing a program include:

  • Airfare rates to and from the country
  • The current exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and local currency
  • In-country costs related to food, toiletries, clothing, and other basic goods
  • Planned monthly expenses, such as:
    • Rent, utilities, Internet and other housing costs
    • Cell phone plan
    • International banking fees
    • Health insurance premiums
    • Dining/going-out costs
    • Weekend activities
    • Expenses back home (taxes, bills, loan payments, etc.)

The study abroad program’s location is another important consideration. The 2016 cost of living index reveals that countries in Western Europe, East Asia and Australia/New Zealand are among the most expensive in terms of day-to-day expenses. In contrast, the cost of living in countries such as Central and South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe is lower.

Once a student has calculated the total costs of studying and living abroad, he/she will be able to create a comprehensive budget plan. Aside from airfare, housing, tuition, and other essential expenses, most international student expenditures fall into five major categories. Here are some ways to reduce day-to-day costs in each of these categories:

  • Transportation: Students will save money by taking advantage of local bus and subway systems instead of daily car rentals, taxis, and other private conveyances. A bicycle or scooter is also a good investment depending on the accessibility of the area.
  • Travel: For weekend and holiday getaways, hostels tend to offer more cost-effective accommodations than hotels and resorts. Traveling during certain times of the year (i.e., tourist off-seasons) may also prove less expensive.
  • Shopping: Every student will vary in terms of disposable income, but study abroad participants are urged to create a shopping budget and stick to it as much as possible. Local residents can also be helpful sources of information about inexpensive shopping locations and where to find high-quality products. One important detail to note: many credit cards assess a 1% to 3% surcharge for purchases made overseas.
  • Dining: Eating out can take a toll on student funds. Those who study abroad should stick to a fixed meal budget and avoid ordering from menus with no prices listed. Paying with cash (as opposed to a debit or credit card) is often an effective way for students to follow their budget. Forgoing meals out in favor of cooking at home will generally save money in the long run.
  • Social/Nightlife Activities: Going out and socializing is as integral to international studies as it is to college life in the U.S. Curtail after-hours costs by leaving credit cards at home and bringing enough cash to have a good time while still following a budget. This measure also helps prevent credit card theft. Hosting dinner parties and attending free functions allow students to socialize affordably, while frequenting bars and nightclubs tend to drain bank accounts.

Study Abroad Applications

Once a student has met with an advisor, selected a program, and calculated the costs of studying abroad, the next step will be filling out a program application. Requirements will vary by school and specific program, but generally they will include the following components:

General Information:

  • Background (name, age, home address, etc.)
  • Academic history, major/minor, and expected graduation date
  • Emergency contacts

Health Clearance:

  • Medical history (diseases, injuries, mental health, etc.)
  • Current prescriptions
  • Immunizations (if required)
  • Disability status

Letters of Recommendation:

  • Professors/faculty members
  • Employers
  • Volunteer or community service leaders

Personal Statement: A brief essay explaining reasons for studying abroad and highlighting the applicant’s academic and professional achievements

Before You Take Off

This next section will highlight all of the necessary travel preparations that study abroad participants will need to make before departing for their program’s destination.

Passports

Apply for a passport at least six months before the departure date in order to ensure it will arrive on time. Some countries require U.S. citizens to hold a valid passport for at least six months prior to arrival; additional restrictions may apply to visitors whose passports are set to expire six months or less after they return home. U.S. citizens can obtain a passport through a federal or state court of record or a U.S. State Department passport agency; some post offices also offer this service. Obtaining a passport will require the following:

  • A completed passport application form
  • One birth certificate copy
  • A driver’s license or other form of photo ID
  • Two recent passport-sized photos (some issuing locations will provide this service; otherwise these photos can be obtained at a drugstore, travel agent, or any other location with photo processing services)
  • Payment (usually in the form of a check)

Student Visas

In most cases, a student visa will be required for study abroad opportunities of any length; CIBTVisas offers a comprehensive guide to each country’s specific visa system. Processing a student visa can take several months, so be sure to submit an application plenty of time ahead of the departure date. Visa application requirements vary by country, but generally include the following:

  • Recent photos (usually passport-sized)
  • Proof of housing and financial support for the duration of the in-country stay
  • Proof of postsecondary enrollment
  • Payment
  • Other requirements may include fingerprints, a criminal background check, medical records, and/or proof of certain immunizations

Flights

Flights can fill up quickly and airfare rates rise as the departure date approaches, so be sure to book tickets as far in advance of the study abroad program as possible. Locating reasonable fares can be tricky. Sites like Kayak and FareCompare allow users to weigh the costs of flying with different carriers. Additionally, agencies like STA Travel and Studentuniverse offer flexible and cost-friendly tickets for students.

Luggage is another consideration. Students in semester- or year-long programs may wish to bring extra clothing and personal items, and this may require them to check a certain number of bags. Most international carriers allow passengers to check one bag and carry-on two pieces of luggage free of charge. However, these fees will vary by airline. Some carriers also offer discounted fees on additional checked bags for airline credit card-holders and members of qualifying organizations (such as AAA).

Student Identification & Discount Cards

Student ID cards are an effective way to save money on dining, accommodations, and various activities abroad. Most countries also recognize these cards as official forms of identification. These are two of the most common student ID cards used by international students today:

International Student Exchange (ISECard) International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
Services Included
  • Discounts at museums, tourist attractions, and product retailers
  • 24-hour assistance
  • Airline bankruptcy protection
  • Discounts on travel, entertainment, technology, and other products and services in more than 130 countries.
  • A mobile app for Android and iOS devices
Cost $19.50 per year Between $4 and $25; cost varies by issuing country
Requirements
  • Student ID or tuition receipt
  • Recent photo
  • Photocopied front page of passport
  • Current student ID card or other proof of full-time enrollment status
  • Recent photo
  • Driver’s license, passport, or other ID showing birthdate

Insurance, Vaccinations, and Prescriptions

Health insurance is a must for any student who goes abroad. If current medical coverage is not accepted in the study abroad location, then international student health insurance will probably be the best option. InternationalStudent.com offers three different student health insurance plans accepted worldwide; policy-holders can manage their health information using the Student Zone portal. Compass Benefits Group also offers similar services.

Many countries require incoming travelers to present an International Certificate of Vaccination (also known as a Yellow Card). The U.S. State Department provides an interactive map with country-specific immunization information. Prescriptions should be ordered and obtained in advance of departure, as common medications are not readily available in certain countries. Some countries also place restrictions on select prescription and over-the-counter medications, so a signed physician’s letter may also be required.

Financial Preparations

U.S. citizens that live abroad (including students) may receive a two-month extension on the deadline to file and pay their annual taxes. An additional extension of up to four months is to available U.S. citizens who provide an estimate of their tax liability using Form 4868.

Most international ATMs accept U.S.-based credit and debit cards. International ATM fees vary by bank, but usually fall between $2.50 and $5 for each withdrawal. Additionally, each debit card transaction will carry a 1% to 3% surcharge. For this reason, international travelers are encouraged to obtain the equivalent of $100 to $200 in the currency used in their destination country. Most major banks in the U.S. offer foreign currency services at reasonable exchange rates. Once in-country, large cash withdrawals are recommended in order to minimize ATM fees (although large amounts of cash should not be carried around at all times).

Traveler’s checks are still widely used today. These are considered the safest form of “protected cash” for those traveling overseas. Traveler’s checks never expire and will be replaced at no cost to the owner. They are also redeemable for the current exchange rate at most banks.

Academic Credits

International programs that offer more than one course may require students to complete a study proposal. This proposal will outline the program’s format and course-load, and explain how studying abroad fits into the student’s degree plan. Signed approval from an academic advisor, dean, or other faculty member may also be required for students who plan to study abroad.

Cultural Expectations

Every foreign country offers unique cultural differences, and those who plan to study abroad are urged to research the everyday customs of their planned destination. International etiquette guides are a handy resource for learning about eating and drinking customs, phrases and gestures to avoid, and other norms in the new country that are not usually encountered in the U.S.

Knowledge of local laws is fundamental to the study abroad experience. While most major crimes in the U.S. are also illegal in other countries, students may encounter differences related to minor offenses; these may include curfews, consuming alcohol, or protocols for pedestrian street crossings.

Final Checklist

Carry a money belt for passports, cash, credit cards, and other valuables at all times. These should be lightweight for daylong comfort and small enough to discreetly fit beneath a shirt. A money belt ensures that travelers will have backup funds if their wallet or other belongings are lost or stolen; many travel experts recommend an empty “dummy” wallet to thwart pickpockets.

Another key purchase for studying abroad is an electrical adapter. Different countries’ electrical outlets and voltage amounts differ. Universal adapters are relatively inexpensive, and they allow U.S. travelers to charge their electrical devices anywhere in the world. Voltage converters may also be needed to avoid damaging devices. REI provides a thorough guide for selecting adapters and converters.

In addition to money belts, adapters, and converters, the Study Abroad Blog offers a comprehensive checklist for any student who is set to attend school internationally. Students may be able to ship supplies and personal effects to their abroad destination ahead of their departure. This will cut down on the amount of airplane luggage carried on.

While You’re Abroad

Communication

Many students opt to purchase a cell phone while studying abroad, and some cell phone providers offer international calling, text messaging, and wireless services for account-holders in the U.S. AT&T and T-Mobile, for instance, provide monthly plans for travelers that include discounted rates on roaming calls in more than 150 countries. Cell phones must be able to access the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks for overseas use; AT&T and T-Mobile devices work on these networks, but phones from other major carriers are not GSM-compatible.

SIM cards for specific countries may be used in certain types of cell phones. These generally provide data usage and call activities at a lower rate than cell phone providers. Students will usually be able to purchase SIM cards in their host country, or through online providers like HolidayPhone.

International calls are quite expensive, so students with computers can use face-to-face video chat apps to contact family and friends in the U.S. Popular video chat apps include the following:

Cost Uses Availability
Skype Free video calls; calls to landlines/mobile phones in over 100 countries are $13.99/month. Video, text services, and group calls with other Skype users; voice services to anyone with a mobile device or landline phone (check country listings) Skype works across all devices including Mac, Windows, and Linux computers; mobile devices; tablets; landlines; TVs; and video game consoles like XBox and Playstation
Viber Free calling/text to other Viber uses, Small fee for non-Viber uses Phone calls and texts to other Viber users over WiFi or 4G Viber is compatible with Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and Nokia devices
WhatsApp Free for cell phone users with access to Wi-Fi Group chats, photo exchanges, videos, and audio media messages WhatsApp is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Nokia devices
Pinger Free texting in 35 different countries; free calls to the U.S. and Canada Phone calls and texts Pinger is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows mobile phones, as well as tablet devices

Culture Shock

Culture shock occurs when individuals encounter unfamiliar environments and cultural norms while traveling abroad. Previous travel experience can lessen culture shock to some degree, and international students can prepare for cultural differences by researching their destination country in advance (see previous section). However, culture shock is common among travelers, and students who plan to live and study in a foreign country can probably expect these feelings to arise at some point during their stay.

According to Mary Ann Santoro Bellini, a PhD who specializes in counseling individuals living or working abroad, there are four phases of culture shock:

  1. Honeymoon Period: Newly arrived students tend to get caught up in the excitement of their new environment. As a result, they may at first be delighted and fascinated by the host country’s noticeable differences to their home country.
  2. Rejection: Initial feelings of euphoria may begin to fade as students regularly encounter unfamiliar situations or roles. These experiences can trigger feelings of frustration, irritation and resentment.
  3. Regression & Isolation: As feelings of rejection sink in and everyday frustrations become routine, students may become critical of the host country’s cultural norms and settings. This period is marked by anxiety, loneliness and homesickness.
  4. Adjustment & Adaptation: The final phase of culture shock finds students feeling more comfortable about their surroundings and engaging with locals on a more regular basis. Adapting to the host country is crucial to a positive study abroad experience, so students are encouraged to keep and open mind — and a sense of humor — during the unpleasant stages of culture shock.

Homesickness

Homesickness may be a byproduct of culture shock, but this feeling is normal and expected for any student who leaves the U.S. for an extended period of time. In addition to the tips listed above for communicating with friends and family in the U.S., Study Queensland suggests the following strategies for coping with homesickness:

  • Diverse friendships: Getting to know local residents in a host country helps with cultural immersion, but acquaintances who are fellow U.S. citizens and/or English speakers offer a familiar support system. A balanced mix of local and foreign friends is recommended.
  • Dining: In addition to trying new local cuisine, students are encouraged to find restaurants that offer American-style meal options. Familiar food and drink can help ease feelings of homesickness.
  • Busy schedule: Remaining active outside of the classroom will allow students experience their host country to the fullest. Social functions, regular exercise, hobbies, and outdoor activities will keep homesick students busy and distracted.

Eating Abroad

Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to enjoy foreign food and experience new dining settings. Students who follow a reasonable budget will be able to enjoy a wide range of their host country’s local cuisine, from a gourmet meal at a swanky restaurant to hot-and-ready dishes from food trucks and street vendors. Here are a few tips for eating and drinking abroad:

  • Splurge with a Fancy Meal: Students who follow their budget should be able to afford an occasional meal at a fine dining establishment. Consult with local residents to learn about the best spots.
  • Scope out the Street Scene: Many countries are famous for meals prepared in food trucks or by street-side vendors. These meals are usually inexpensive and quite tasty. However, street food may increase health risks associated with bacteria and foodborne illnesses. Cooked food is safer than raw options, and students in countries with unsafe drinking water should avoid menu items containing fresh produce.
  • Frequent the Grocery Store: For most students, buying food from the grocery store and preparing it at home is the most reasonable way to minimize dining costs. Family-owned markets and convenience stores are typically cheaper than chain grocery stores. Open-air markets may also be an inexpensive source for meat and produce.
  • Invest in Proper Cooking Utensils: A fully stocked kitchen can help students resist the urge to dine out too frequently. Students are encouraged to bring some extra spending money for basic kitchenware once they’ve arrived in their study abroad accommodations. This tends to be a cheaper and more convenient option than packing these items in airline luggage.
  • Leftovers: If possible, students who cook meals at home should prepare an extra portion for the next day’s lunch. Bringing a lunch to school will significantly cut down on food costs, freeing up space in their budget for outside dining options.

Financial Emergencies

Misplaced or stolen debit/credit cards and other financial emergencies are an all-too-common headache for international travelers. Students who lose their valuable cards should first attempt to retrace their steps just in case the items have fallen out of their pocket or bag. Most banks and financial institutions will mail cards free of charge, but this may take several weeks for students living in a foreign country. PayPal offers instant, secure money transfer services for online and mobile app users. In addition, students with urgent financial needs while studying abroad can take advantage of the following services:

  • Wire Transfers: Money can be wired between most financial institutions, even for non-account-holders. The person wiring the money contacts their bank directly with the transfer amount, currency type, and address of the receiving financial institution. Additionally, Western Union and other wire services are available in many countries worldwide. These options tend to be more expensive than bank-to-bank transfers, however.
  • Banks: If a financial emergency involving lost credit/debit cards occurs during business hours, students with U.S. dollar bills can exchange them for local currency at most local banks. Many countries also offer currency exchange bureaus. However, students should always avoid exchanging money on the street; this activity is illegal in most places, and the rates tend to be very unfavorable.
  • Cash Exchange Booths: In addition to bank exchange services, many airports, hotels, and other establishments in foreign countries have exchange booths that convert U.S. dollars into local currency. The exchange rates at these booths tend to be rather unfavorable, but they will provide financial support in a pinch for students with U.S. bills in their possession.

Safety Abroad

As with any traveler in an unfamiliar location, international students occasionally encounter trouble away from home. Potential danger shouldn’t deter students from considering overseas programs, but they should take precaution while living abroad. Here are a few tips from leading international travel experts:

  • Travel in Groups: The term “safety in numbers” definitely applies to travelers experiencing a new location. Travel with others as often as possible, particularly after dark. Also be sure to give a detailed itinerary to someone who is not in your party; this individual will be able to notify authorities if an emergency occurs.
  • Watch out for Pickpockets and Scam Artists: Pickpocketing and tourist-scamming are common problems in tourist-heavy areas. In addition to the money belt mentioned previously, tourists can better protect their belongings by wearing their backpacks and totes in front of them. Avoid transactions with strangers asking for donations or offering discounted goods.
  • Try to Blend In: Tourist activities and attractions play integral roles in the studying abroad experience, but students are urged to emulate local residents in order to avoid sticking out in crowds. Also be mindful of camera usage, since pickpockets and scam artists typically target tourists.
  • Drink Wisely: Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to poor decision-making anywhere, but this is especially true for students in foreign countries. Always designate a sober driver for outings involving auto transport, and avoid drinking too much by setting a spending limit for the night. Illegal drugs should also be avoided at all costs; in many countries, penalties for drug offenses are much more severe than in the U.S.
  • Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, this free program offers live updates for travel warnings and alerts put out by the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Enrollees may also use this program to replace lost or stolen passports. Additionally, students should identify the locations for embassies, consulates, and other U.S. government locations in their host country; these facilities tend to be located in national capitals and major cities.

Returning Home

As your study abroad experience comes to a close, feelings of sadness and disappointment may set in. “Reverse culture shock” is common for U.S. citizens who live abroad for extended periods of time. While most returning students will be thrilled to see family, friends, and familiar locations again, it’s important to come to terms with the conclusion of a memorable, positive study abroad experience.

In your final days abroad, try to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” for all of the new places you’ve seen, foods you’ve tried, and people you’ve met. Write down the memories that you don’t want to forget and take plenty of photographs. Also keep in mind that goodbye for now doesn’t necessarily mean goodbye forever. Be sure to exchange contact information with your host family, fellow students, new friends, and other individuals who have added to your positive abroad experience.

Below, browse the online resources for students in all stages of the studying abroad experience, from initial research and program application to returning home.

Study Abroad Resources

  • Study Abroad 101: A study abroad review site that features comparison tool and directory of study abroad programs with data collected from students.
  • Global Scholar: The Center for Global Education offers a collection of online courses and resources for students preparing to study abroad.
  • Institute of International Education: The Institute of International Education offers a $5.95 eBook that serves as a comprehensive study abroad guide for before, during, and after your trip.
  • Studentuniverse: This travel blog run by Studentuniverse provides study abroad tips and weekend blog posts for student travellers.
  • The Center for Global Education: The Center for Global Education offers a number of study abroad resources, including a safety handbook, travel information, and a portal with access to study abroad research.

Safety Resources

  • Study Abroad Safety Tips: This organization provides a bulleted list of safety tips, along with other travel resources and support for U.S. and Canadian students.
  • Safety Abroad First: Safety Abroad First – Educational Travel Information (SAFETI) is a Clearinghouse Project organized by The Center for Global Education. SAFETI resources include a comprehensive health and safety index, travel tips and guides to local laws.
  • The Study Abroad Parent Guide: A list of useful tips for parents of international students that has been sourced from the “It’s Your World” travel handbook.

Travel Resources

  • FareCompare: This site features a user-friendly flight comparison tool that can be used to find affordable airfare, as well as flying tips and an airline fee chart.
  • The Study Abroad Blog: A comprehensive blog with numerous posts aimed at students in foreign countries, including a handful of helpful travel guides.
  • International Studies Abroad: International Studies Abroad (ISA) provides students with a comprehensive set of links to travel guide books, financial information, embassy and consulate contacts and other useful resources.

Housing Resources

  • Study Abroad Apartments: Students can use this interactive and user-friendly site to search for apartments and roommates in their new host country. Study Abroad Apartments also provides relocation services to help universities and programs find safe student housing.
  • Student Mundial: Student Mundial is a search platform where students can find housing (including host families) and roommates all over the world.
  • Student Accommodation One: Student Accomodation One organizes accommodations by country and city, providing students with detailed descriptions and pictures of available housing.

Financial Aid & Scholarship Resources

  • Study Abroad Scholarships: This comprehensive site provides an organized list of scholarships and other funding opportunities for abroad programs.
  • National Association for International Educators: NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, provides a number of question-and-answer financial aid resources, along with several other related links and resources for international students.
  • International Education Financial Aid: The International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) website provides a thorough list of scholarships, loans, and other financial aid resources for students planning to study abroad.