First Steps

If you are interested in studying abroad, there are multiple ways to learn more about the planning process and programs available to you. Take the first step by utilizing one or more of the resources below.


Identify your Goals

Before you get started, we recommend that you take a moment to think about your study abroad goals. We have developed some sample questions below to help you get started. Make sure to bring this information with you when you visit the Advising and Resource Center and it can be used to identify the best program for you.

  • What is your major? Do you want to earn credit toward your major or another area of interest while abroad?
  • Are you interested in studying a single topic intensively or taking a variety of courses from different disciplines?
  • How do you learn best (in the classroom, in the field, independently, with lots of support, etc.)?
  • Do you feel comfortable adapting to different styles of learning?
  • Are you interested in an internship or service learning as part of your study abroad?
  • How do you want your experience abroad to impact your career and professional development?
  • Are you interested in a specific country or region of the world?
  • What excites you most about studying abroad?

Identify Potential Challenges

It is also important to think about any potential challenges that you may face while participating in study abroad. Some factors that other students have found challenging include: family obligations, financial challenges, identity expression abroad, and/or balancing professional, social, academic or athletic commitments. We can provide you with resources or direct you to the right office to help you address these challenges.


Visit the Advising & Resource Center

Stop by the Advising and Resource Center (112 International Studies Building) and speak with a Program Assistant to have your general questions answered about the study abroad process as well as receive resources to help you narrow your program options. Walk-in hours can be found on the Info Sessions, Workshops, and Deadlines Calendar.

If you need additional, specialized advising about specific programs, you can make an appointment to see an Education Abroad Coordinator.

Learn About Advising

Attend a First Steps Workshop

First Steps Workshops are offered twice a week during the Fall and Spring semesters. Attend one of these workshops to learn more about the factors to consider when selecting a program, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, how to research programs, and how to apply. Refer to the Info Sessions, Workshops, and Deadlines Calendar to find dates and times.


Do an Online Program Search

All programs offered by the University are listed in a platform called “My Study Abroad.” All programs, regardless of sponsor, can be found in My Study Abroad. Each program title begins with an acronym that designates its sponsoring unit. Programs we administer begin with the acronym "IAGE" or "SAO." Narrow your search by experimenting with the search parameters. Visit the Program Search page for more information.


Consult Your College's Study Abroad Office

There are several colleges at Illinois that sponsor study abroad programs and advise students. In My Study Abroad, programs a college administers begins with an acronym specific to their name (e.g. LAS, LAW, BUS, etc.). You can find their contact information and websites on the College Study Abroad Offices page. Check their websites for information on their advising policy and walk-in hours and/or contact them directly with questions regarding programs they sponsor.


Meet with your Academic Advisor

Discuss how study abroad fits within your academic plan with your academic advisor. Your academic advisor can answer questions about when to study abroad as it relates to your academic schedule and how study abroad credits will fulfill academic requirements.


Meet with the Office of Student Financial Aid

Many financial aid packages will apply to study abroad, so it is important to understand if and how your financial aid will transfer. Start by visiting the Office of Student Financial Aid website.


Explore Scholarships

There are Illinois-sponsored, donor-funded, and national scholarships available to many students. Explore the Scholarships page for more information and a comprehensive listing.