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Choosing the Right Program

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Why Study Abroad?

There are numerous academic, professional and personal benefits of studying abroad…
  • An intellectually challenging experience
  • Greatly increase your level of fluency in a specific foreign language.
  • Become intimately acquainted with another culture and way of life.
  • Attain a new worldview.
  • See your home country with a different set of eyes.
  • Make friends from different cultural backgrounds, which will last a lifetime.
  • Increase your marketability, when looking for a position (a definite "resume-builder").
Remember, you will get out of a study abroad experience as much as you yourself put into it. You should have some clear goals in mind when considering studying abroad. Look beyond simply travel as a reason for leaving the country. You will certainly do that and have fun as well. The real key, however, is to profit from your experience in a more profound manner, which will be beneficial to you for the rest of your life.  Need more reasons?  Hear what SJU Faculty have to say about study abroad!
Steps To Plan for Study Abroad


1.  Attend a Study Abroad 101 information session.  These sessions are typically offered multiple times throughout the semester and will provide you with basic information about studying abroad and an overview of the options for SJU students. For the list of upcoming information sessions and special events, view the Study Abroad Event Calendar

2. Explore the CIP website for more in-depth information.  Use the "Advanced Program Search" feature to find programs by eligibility requirements, location, major, language, co-curricular and more!  

3. Begin reviewing possible abroad courses by looking at each program's website and the lists of "Pre-Approved Courses" on on the individual program pages of our website.

4. Meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss departmental policies and which classes to take (or not take!) while abroad.   

5. Make an appointment with the CIP.  Contact us at to schedule an advising appointment to discuss your program in greater detail, review SJU policies and procedures, and discuss any specific questions or concerns.  Please note that students will not be able to complete the application until they have had this advising meeting.

6. Obtain (or renew) a U.S. Passport. The process can take 4-6 weeks and you will need your passport before you can apply for a student visa, which some counties require. If you already have a passport, make sure it is valid for 6 months beyond the return date of your program. For detailed instructions, visit the U.S. State Department website.

7. Start planning your budget. Meet with your Financial Aid Advisor to discuss how your study abroad plans will affect your current financial aid package. Discuss study abroad scholarships with the Center for International Programs. Talk to your family about program expenses, the cost of living in your host country, and what you hope to accomplish while abroad.

8. Complete your application.  Per the SJU Semester Abroad Policy, a limited number of applications are approved on a first come, first serve basis.  Early applications are encouraged (once the CIP has announced that the cycle is open).

9. Know that the CIP office is hear to help you and your family through the study abroad process, however we do require students to take responsibility for meeting the deadlines and expectations provided to them in order to prepare for a successful semester away from Hawk Hill. 


Questions to Ask During the Planning Process

About the Program:
•   What kind of off campus experience am I looking for? Domestic, abroad?
•   Do I want a program with a specific academic theme or focus?
•   Will I be able to do an internship?
•   Will I be able to pursue my research interests?
•   Are their opportunities for service learning or volunteerism?

Eligibility Requirements:
•   Is there a language requirement? 
•   Is there a major requirement?
•   Is there a GPA requirement?

•   What are my academic goals?
•   Do certain programs have a specific academic focus?
•   Do I want to earn major and/or minor credit?
•   What are the policies of my major/minor department with regard to earning credit?
•   Does my Academic Advisor support my plans to spend a semester or year abroad?
•   Does the program allow students to take the combination of courses I want to take?
•   How will my work be assessed?
•   Will I be able to study a language and if so, at what level?

•   What are my expectations with regard to cultural integration and assimilation?
•   What opportunities do I have to meet local people?

Location and Housing:
•   What regions of the world match my academic interests?
•   Do I want to be in a large city or in a more rural setting?
•   Where do students on the program live - dorms, apartments, homestays?
•   With whom will I be living - a local family, local students, other international students?
•   What opportunities will there be for travel (in-country and in the region)?
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