How to Study Abroad

Your guide to finding the right study abroad program.
Your guide to finding the right study abroad program
with 3,738 listings and over 10,300 reviews for you to explore.

Guide to Studying Abroad

Study abroad is a game-changer for students. Many agree: it’s the best decision of their lives. It can affect the course of your entire life, but even if your path remains the same, the global perspective you gain is invaluable.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably the type of person who wants to travel the world and have new adventures. You’re open to a change of pace and maybe want to master another language. Even if you feel shy sometimes, you know the right environment can totally bring you out of your shell.

Can you imagine going to school during the week and exploring a whole new country on the weekend? Or intertwining your lunch break with a casual convo in a second language?

That could be your life, or at least one semester of it!

Study abroad is about stepping out of your comfort zone, embracing a new culture and way of life, and coming home with unforgettable memories -- all while not missing a beat with your school requirements or plans to graduate.

Studying abroad is one of the most powerful ways to advance academically, improve your resume, and connect with the world (and yourself) on a deeper level. Here you’ll find everything you need to know to start your study abroad journey.

Why Study Abroad

Research shows students who study abroad are more likely to excel academically, broaden their world views, and prepare for an impactful career. An international education enhances your academic performance by supplementing coursework and textbooks with hands-on experiences.

Study abroad is important if you want to be competitive in a job market that values candidates with international work experience. Global exposure is not only vital to a well-rounded education and successful career, though -- it is also an effective step in becoming a better world citizen.

When you study abroad, you are able to:

  • Face fears and biases fueled by stereotypes and oppression
  • Embrace diversity and recognize the beauty in our similarities and differences.

While going overseas to study may be one of the best times of your life, you’ll quickly learn the long-term benefits of study abroad are even better. In a world of globalization, study abroad prepares you with the skills needed to excel beyond borders (and impress future employers).

International exposure promotes language-learning and cross-cultural immersion, expands your network, and can even offer career opportunities.

When and Where to Study Abroad

The When: Though there is no perfect time to study abroad, you’ll find certain school years and semesters to be most common for students seeking an international academic experience.

While it isn’t unusual to hear of high school graduates going overseas before their freshman year in college, sophomore and junior years are often popular for study abroad. By this time students have realized why everyone should study abroad, and are more likely to have narrowed down the direction of their major.

Once you’ve chosen which school year to spend abroad, it’s time to choose what time of the year to go. Students either study abroad for one semester, the whole school year, or summer break. Though less common, some even elect to spend their school breaks (like Christmas or Spring Break) to join a shorter program.

The Where: With nearly 200 countries in the world, how do you choose where to study abroad?

First: congrats on having the best dilemma, ever!

At Go Overseas, we continuously research, review, and compile lists of study abroad opportunities to bring you up-to-date suggestions on the best destinations to visit in the world.

Our recent list of the 10 most popular countries to study abroad include destinations in Asia, Europe, and even down under -- all rated by real students. So whether you’ve been itching to pair your studies with surf in Australia and New Zealand, or master love languages in France, Italy, and Spain, there’s plenty to choose from.

Still undecided? Elect to visit the most popular destination to study abroad in 2020: Spain!

Ways to Study Abroad

The two most popular ways to study abroad include direct enrollment and using a third-party provider.

Direct Enroll: When you directly enroll in a study abroad program you can either apply through your home university and let their program facilitate the process, or apply for direct enrollment with a university overseas. Just remember that the latter option is more likely to have a language requirement and may not offer transferable credits.

Here’s what students think about the benefits of studying abroad through direct enrollment.

Third Party Programs: These are independent programs that have relationships with international schools. There are program advisors who assist you with the entire process, often charging an all-inclusive price to study abroad -- which is less of a headache, but may cost more.

Here’s what students think about the benefits of studying abroad through a third-party provider.

The Costs of Studying Abroad

If you are paying for full-time tuition at a large university, you’ll find that the cost to study overseas may be equal to or even less than the cost to study stateside! While this varies by school and destination, rest assured: we have all the resources you need to map out a realistic budget for study abroad.

Despite it often being a more economical decision for university students, study abroad still isn’t cheap:

  • In addition to a base tuition fee, the cost of an international education includes books and materials, meals and housing, transportation, visas, and other personal expenses while there.
  • You may also pay additional fees if you study abroad through a third-party provider. (What’s a third-party provider? Learn more here.)

On average, students spend $5,000-$15,000 per semester to study in some of the world’s most popular countries. Review Go Overseas’ international expense breakdown to learn more about what it costs to study abroad.

Scholarships to Study Abroad

The truth about costs: The cost associated with study abroad is an important factor in deciding whether or not to go overseas. Luckily, times are changing and study abroad is no longer exclusive to the elite class. In fact, if you aren’t looking for transferable credits, some programs don’t even require you be enrolled in a university at home to take an international course.

Scholarships and grants: Thanks to resources on the Internet and program databases like Go Overseas, more students are learning about the benefits of study abroad and finding financial support along the way.

So don’t let the idea of study abroad make your pockets cringe; take advantage of the many need-based and merit-based grants and scholarships available for study abroad students.

Check out this list of current Go Overseas scholarships to apply to right now.

How Go Overseas Works

Go Overseas is your trusted source for travel abroad programs: here you can browse and discover thousands of vetted providers. Just like a trusted travel buddy, we want to help you find the right information and feel excited and confident about your first or next culturally immersive trip overseas. We know sometimes having an abundance of options can be overwhelming, so we have a few tips on how to use Go Overseas to find the perfect transformative travel program for you.

  1. Browse 16,000+ programs: Narrow your search results by using filters, such as program type, location, and length.

  2. Read 46,000+ Reviews: Real people have gone on these programs, and have experiences to share. Read alumni reviews on any program that interests you to get an idea of what it's really like to be on the ground, overseas.

  3. Read 5,700+ Interviews: For any program that really sparks your interest, read personal stories and in-depth accounts from travelers like you. If you'd like to reach out and hear more from the traveler who left an interview, let us know and we'll help connect you.

  4. Browse community photos: Pictures of food, accommodations, adventures, and people (oh, the friends you'll make!) in program community galleries will help you visualize yourself abroad.

  5. Wish List 💙: Not ready to commit to a program? Click the Wish List heart icon to bookmark programs and save them for later. Then, compare programs side by side.

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