Study abroad and gain wonderful and life-long personal, academic and professional benefits. Studying abroad is exciting and a very wise and personal decision.

Follow these simple and easy first steps to become a foreign exchange student

International College of Management-SydneyCredit: Wikimedia public domain image by user Ohalls

Make the most of studying abroad and the myriad of study abroad programs available to students.

Steps I Took to Study Abroad

1.  Research study abroad and foreign student exchange programs, international study abroad countries, overseas education courses and studying abroad costs

Think about where to live and what to study overseas, what language to learn and what academic courses would most help or advance your educational goals and career options?

Consider what international countries you would be most comfortable living in and in what living conditions you could adapt to and accept while residing overseas? What classes would be most complimentary to the major you are already studying and what course selections are most applicable to the degree you are pursuing for graduation?

There are a vast number of international destinations for studying abroad and hundreds of study abroad programs for students to consider. Many U.S. universities also offer their own academic study abroad or overseas internship programs. 

There is a wealth of information on studying abroad available on the Internet. Wikipedia and the University of Michigan, for instance, offer two good starting points for comprehensive lists of study abroad resources.
2.  Check to see if your own university stateside offers any study abroad programs. Many universities have their own study abroad programs and overseas partner universities. If they do not, seek foreign exchange programs hosted by other universities and educational institutions across the U.S.

I was a CSU student and graduated from Cal State University Northridge in California. However, I completed my international studies with Boston University in my junior year of college at CSU through Boston University’s London Internship Programme. UCLA, USC and many other universities across the United States have excellent and established foreign exchange student programs. Search UCLA study abroad or BU study abroad and the like for further information.

3.  Talk to your university or academic counselor to see what study abroad programs are most easily credited by your university and which of their respective academic courses will count towards your degree.  Be sure that the classes you propose to study, from any study abroad program, are in compliance with your degree requirements before you move ahead with your plans to study overseas. Some courses or an overseas internship may cut the total number of courses needed for graduation.

4.  Start saving money and look for study abroad scholarships and for other student funding and other student loan options. Study abroad financing and study abroad scholarships are available and they can help make your plans to study abroad possible. Get your parent’s support and your family’s assistance, too, to make your plans come about. You might be surprised at how much your parents may endorse these plans and by their efforts to help you finance your study abroad experience. 

5.  Get advice from former foreign exchange students at your university and any tips from peers, friends or family that also studied abroad previously. Ask them for suggestions and ideas to help make your plans come to fruition.
International Study Abroad StudentsCredit: University of Salford Press Office Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Image
6.  Get some applications from a couple of different foreign student exchange programs to see what universities are looking for in their applicants and to learn about the study abroad application process. Increase your chances of being accepted by your first-choice university or study abroad program.

7.  Most importantly, document your course selections and secure the required approvals for your own university first before even applying to any overseas study abroad programs. Most study abroad applications have a non-refundable deposit. Avoid spending any unnecessary money, yet, to study abroad and make sure that you will be able to receive transferable credits to successfully complete your degree from your own university before you do anything else.

One of the deans at your university, a department head and one or more of your professors within your major will more than likely need to consult with one another and approve the courses you intend to study, collectively. Or you may need approvals from all of these individuals to signify their agreement on the appropriateness of all courses being considered for graduation in your particular major.

8.  Get a letter of recommendation or two such letters. You may need personal letters of recommendations from personal acquaintances and from your professors. This is part of the application process for any entrance into college and for many study abroad programs as well.

9.  Apply and get accepted to a study abroad program.

10.   Make the most of your time studying abroad.  Enjoy your studies and living overseas. Your decision to do this will result in life long-advantages that you are yet to realize. Study abroad and these benefits will ensue shortly and in the years ahead.

For additional study abroad information please see the related article below:

Why Study Abroad? 10 Reasons to Consider Studying Abroad