What To Know Before You Decide to Study Abroad

If you’re thinking about studying abroad during your time at Vanderbilt, stop thinking and do it!

    I was on the fence about it for months, but over the summer, I let go of all my anxieties and started the process. It was daunting at first, because I didn’t know where I wanted to go, how to go about applying, who I needed to contact, and so on and for forth.

    So, to keep you from going gray stressing about all this stuff, too, I’ve made a list of all the things you need to plan to do. That way, the only thing you shouldn’t have to think about, is whether or not to study abroad.

  1. Check your passport expiration date! Make sure it’s not going to expire while you would be abroad. If it is, go here to learn how to renew your passport. Applying for a new passport can take up to 8 weeks, so plan accordingly.

  2. Since we’re all about the 4-year graduation plan, figure out what classes you’d need to take during the semester you’d be abroad. Check the “Degree Audit” link on the YES homepage if you’re not sure.

  3. Visit the GEO website  and learn about all the countries/cities where they have programs located, and start making a list of your favorite places. Don’t be afraid to put new or unfamiliar places on your list either!

  4. Keep mom and dad happy by making sure you’re getting credit towards your majors/minors while abroad. Course equivalencies can be found by going to the “Study Abroad” tab under Student Registration on YES. I suggest organizing the programs by school to find which programs are most compatible with your majors/minors.

  5. Once you have narrowed down your list to a maximum of three programs, start filling out the applications on the GEO website by logging in and building your profile. The applications include essays, personal and emergency contact information, and health care information.

  6. Reach out to the GEO staff if you have any questions. Each has their own expertise in a different program/country so make sure to reach out to the right one to get the most helpful advice.

  7. If you need a letter of recommendation, try to reach out to your reference at least 4 weeks prior to the application due date, just to make sure they have plenty of time to say all the wonderful things they can about you.

These are the major things that you need to keep on your radar as you embark on what will likely be some of the best memories from college.

Good luck, have fun, and never stop travelling!