Determine Your Goals and Priorities

The decision to study abroad needs to be a thoughtful one. There are many options available and different variables to consider. Depending upon your individual goals and priorities, your study abroad advisor can help determine the right program for you. Here are some questions to consider when choosing a program. Don't worry if you don't know the answers now because your study abroad advisor will guide you through the decision-making process.

What am I looking for in the study abroad experience?

Do I want to: Learn a foreign language? Enhance my language skills? Get a new perspective in my field of study? Gain volunteer experience? Gain international work experience? Build my resume? Immerse myself in another culture? Learn about my family roots? Have an adventure?

What do I want to study?

Do I want to: Earn credit toward my major and minor? Fulfill degree requirements? Take electives? Complete the University Program requirements? Complete an internship? Take courses not offered at CMU? Learn a foreign language? Study a subject that interests me? Study a specific subject or take a variety of courses? Am I flexible with class selection? Do I need to take a specific course?

For how long do I want to study abroad?

Do I want to study abroad for a semester, for a year, or over the summer? Do I want to enroll at a foreign institution or participate in a short-term faculty-led program?

Where do I want to go?

Is there a continent, a region, or a country in which I am particularly interested? Am I attracted to exotic locations? Am I independent and adventurous? Do I prefer to study in a big city or a small town or village? Do I want to attend a large or a small university? Am I willing to consider another country if it is a better academic fit?

What type of program would I prefer?

Do I want to study together with students from the host country? Only with other American students? Do I want to take courses only in English? In a foreign language? Mainly in English but take some language courses too? What level of language skill do I have? Do I want planned field trips? Do I prefer a structured program? Am I looking for a more independent experience?

What type of living arrangements work for me?

Is interaction with people from the host country important to me? Do I want to live with a host family, in a residence hall, or in an apartment? Do I want to cook my own meals? Do I prefer to eat out? Am I willing to commute and take the local transportation to get to my classes?

How much can I afford to spend on study abroad?

Is money/budget a concern? Am I planning to apply for financial aid? Loans? Scholarships?