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Prepping for Prague: Choose, Apply, Accept

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

The First in a Series!

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you: I’ve been talking about studying abroad since before I started at UW. Sure, some might think it’s cliché, others unsure if it’s worth the money, or even more who just aren’t sure they have the time to take such an opportunity. All of these concerns are valid, but on a personal level, I am both excited and grateful to be able to go abroad. 

I want to preface this article by saying that spending an extended period abroad is not the right decision for everyone, and that is perfectly fine. Given my majors and interests (international studies and political science), my desire to go abroad shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, with all the considerations that go into studying abroad, it was something I started planning for in my earliest semesters of college. This is a brief walk-through of some of the earliest steps in the decision-making process, to provide some context about the preparation process for making such a big move. 

Disclaimer: This list is targeted toward UW students, but it is applicable more generally as well.

1.Think about the funding

Studying abroad is expensive, and financial considerations are one of the first things you need to process when deciding whether or not to go. Make sure you are thinking through costs like housing (both abroad and on-campus), down payments, visa and passport fees, as well as traditional costs such as tuition. Similarly, I’d also recommend that you start budgeting on campus once you decide you want to go abroad. You never know what surprises might be in store, and there are a lot of things you will need to get in preparation before you leave.

At the same time, I was astonished to learn how many opportunities there are for scholarships and grants abroad, particularly when your experience includes research or an internship. In the WiSH portal, there is a wealth (literally) of funding for UW international experiences, and combined with the UW Study Abroad website, one of the best resources to investigate this. UW has one of the highest study-abroad rates in the Big Ten because they make it fairly easy to get at least some form of financial aid to go abroad, so please don’t get discouraged!

2.Pick a Program

Once you decide that studying abroad is feasible for your studies, plans and finances, you’ll need to select a program. This is the area I struggled the most with. While I do not know how it works at other institutions, you are only able to apply for one program a semester through UW. At first, I was frustrated about this, but after going through the application process, I respect why they have set it up this way. To get to know a program and make sure it is the best fit for you, you need to be able to take a close-up look at the location, culture and requirements. Secondly, the application process is program-specific. They want to know how and why the program and location you select will match your goals, interests and personality. It’s difficult to do this if you are trying to handle multiple applications at once. 

When you’re trying to find a program, make use of your resources! Talk to your advisors, ask peers who have gone abroad and use the depth of the internet to research your potential locations. You also need to consider other factors such as the type of housing you are comfortable with, how you feel about the language barrier and of course, how the specific programs are set up.


This might be the most intimidating part of the decision process. Make sure you start the application early, are cognizant of deadlines and requirements and are in touch with study abroad advisors throughout the process. 

Make your essays personal. I know that is the circular advice you receive for every application, but it is important. The admissions committee wants to know that the program you chose is both a good fit and one you can be successful in. Take your time in deciding what to write about; putting the work in on the front end is much more rewarding in the long run. 

Side note: If you’re still worried about putting all of your eggs in one basket, you can always apply to outside or alternative programs; just make sure you consult with your advisors to stay on track.

4.Wait…and (hopefully) Accept!

Correcting myself from earlier, this may be the most challenging part of the application process. Waiting can take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on the program and application method. Be patient! Make the most of what’s left in your semester and take each moment in. When you do hear back from your program, take time to read over all the materials, meet with advisors, and be a hundred percent confident in the decision you make. You aren’t bound to anything until you fill out all of your forms, so make sure going abroad is still the right decision for you.

Ultimately, studying abroad can be a great experience if it is something you are looking for! I have grown a lot during the pre-departure process, so I can only imagine how much I will grow when I touch down in Prague next fall. I hope you keep following my journey as I prepare to leave!

Madison Weiner

Wisconsin '24

Hi, I'm Madi! I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I am currently a senior at Wisconsin studying international studies and political science. If I'm not writing for Her Campus, you can find me traveling, exploring new coffee shops, or finding new ways to stay active.