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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.

Learn About the Study Abroad Process

Complete a First Steps Workshop

First Steps Workshops are offered during the Fall and Spring semesters. Complete one of these workshops to learn about what it means to study abroad and the factors to consider when selecting a program. Check the Study Abroad Calendar to find dates and times for the in-person or online workshops. You can also watch a previous session via the screencast below.

Contact an Illinois Abroad Ambassador

Contact an Illinois Abroad Ambassador, current students that have studied abroad and can provide information about the application process, insight into their time abroad, and advice how to make the most of your time abroad.

Identify Your Goals & Create a Plan

Meet with Your Academic Advisor

Discuss with your academic advisor how study abroad fits within your plan of study. 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.

  • You can earn major/minor, elective, and/or gen ed credit while abroad. Check each program's online brochure page in My Study Abroad to find a list of available courses on that program.
  • You will complete a course approval process to determine the credit equivalency for each course you take abroad.
  • Some programs may offer a vast course catalogue, where you can take courses in many disciplines, while others may focus on a specific discipline and will have a more limited course selection.

Talk with the Campus Study Abroad Office

Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange (IAGE), the campus study abroad office, is available to answer general questions about the study abroad process. Visit the Advising page to schedule an appointment with an IAGE staff member. You can also get in touch by phone (217-333-6322) or email (

Talk with Your College Study Abroad Office

Many colleges have study abroad offices and programs designed for their majors and disciplines. Staff in the college study abroad offices can provide specialized guidance when selecting a program.

Explore Your Program Options

Do an Online Program Search in My Study Abroad

All programs offered by the university are listed in an online platform called My Study Abroad. Visit the Program Search page for more information.

  • All majors can study abroad, including STEM majors!
  • Some programs are open to specifc majors, but many programs are open to all majors. Check each program's eligibility requirements in My Study Abroad.
  • Don't forget to talk to your academic advisor about how study abroad fits within your academic plan. Your major may impact the courses your advisor recommends you complete abroad.

Narrow Your Program Options

Schedule an Advising Appointment

Once you have a couple of programs of interest, make an appointment with the study abroad staff member(s) who advises for those programs. Talk to them about the goals you have for study abroad and they can help you choose the program that will best fulfill those goals. Click the button below for more information on how to make an appointment.

Learn more about Advising

Understand Your Finances

Meet with the Office of Student Financial Aid

Most financial aid packages will apply to study abroad program costs, so it is important to understand how much of your financial aid will transfer. Start by visiting the Financial Aid page.

Apply for Scholarships

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