Study abroad planning
The opportunity to study abroad will enrich your college experience in ways you never imagined.
It offers wonderful opportunity to not only see the world, but also advance the way you learn about your major, yourself, and your opportunities in an increasingly interconnected world. Planning is essential to reach your goals for your time at the University of Illinois and augment your study abroad experience.
Here are five steps to help you plan to study abroad while at Illinois.
Step 1: Why study abroad?
An international study abroad enriches your college experience in ways you never imagined! Not only because it offers an opportunity to see the world, but it also advance the way you learn about your major, yourself, and your opportunities in an increasingly interconnected world.
For many students, studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is not only a chance to visit new places, but also a chance to merge your interests into an international experience that enhances your development and understanding of how the world works.
However, planning is essential to maximize any study abroad experience, from considering study abroad to planning your re-entry to Illinois. For example, before you consider a program or location, first consider your own interests. They could be one or combination of these factors:
- Personal: You want to challenge yourself, be independent, discover empathy for others, or build friendships
- Academic: Acquire another language, witness sites and artifacts you've been studying, conduct field work, participate in particular lab, or gain an international perspective of your field
- Professional: Perhaps you want an opportunities for an internship abroad, networking events, or observing international work cultures
Considering your interests and goals can help you pick the program that is best suited to you.
Step 2: Choosing a program
You have many choices when it comes to studying abroad. You should consider what type of program you think would be the best fit for you. For example:
- Length of program: Multiple programs offer different durations that span an entire academic year to just a few weeks. How long do you think you can be abroad?
- Type of program: When considering a program, it is important to think about what type of learning environment you desire. For example, do you want learning to be more self-directed or independent with other international students? Or, would you prefer to learn with other study abroad students from the University of Illinois?
- Living arrangements: Different programs offer different choices, from living in a dorm with local students or an apartment with fellow study abroad participants, to living with a local family. When considering living arrangements, think about your goals.
- Meet with a study abroad staff member: Plan to attend a Study Abroad Information Session in Lincoln Hall, where LAS International staff members can help you explore the options available to you based on your goals. They're available between 4-5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays in 1060 Lincoln Hall. Or, visit the LAS Life + Career Design Lab.
Then, search for a program that fits your lifestyle and goals:
Step 3: Academic and financial planning before you apply
Once you've narrowed your choices, you should meet with your academic advisor to discuss how a certain study abroad program might affect your path to graduation. Discuss your goals for the program with your advisor and bring a list of potential courses that you might take.
Step 4: Apply to study abroad program
You've made an informed decision and you're ready to apply. You can apply on the program pages where you found your program of choice:
Simply click the apply button on the brochure page of your chosen program. The application process is a two-step process:
- Pre-decision: You'll submit a preliminary application to be reviewed. Be sure to check the application deadline and the materials you may need to submit, which may include a copy of a valid passport, transcripts, or other documents. After you complete your preliminary application, it will be reviewed by a range of study abroad faculty and staff.
- Post-decision: Upon acceptance to a program, you must complete a new set of application requirement specific to particular programs. Requirements vary based on the location of your host institution and the administrative practices themselves.
Pay attention to the deadlines. Most program applications require electronic recommendations to be submitted on your behalf, be sure to request any recommendation at least two weeks prior to the application deadline.
Step 5: Preparing to depart
After being accepted to a program, you'll still need to manage:
- Research on the passport and visa process
- Make health and safety preparations
- Register for LAS 291/292, our study abroad orientation course
- Research your host destination
- Create a communication plan with family and friends
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