University of Iowa

Define Your Objectives

Give yourself time

The process of selecting a study abroad program is similar to selecting your major or minor.

Begin researching study abroad options by visiting the Study Abroad office and seaching progams online at least 6 - 9 months before you go overseas. Even better: discuss your desire to study abroad with your academic advisor as early as your first year on campus so that you can plan accordingly. It is never too early to start this process.

Set some goals

There are many good study abroad programs, and the best one for you depends on what you want:

  • Why do you want to study abroad?
  • Where do you want to go? Why?
  • When do you want to go and how long would you like to stay?
  • How will study abroad fit into your academic program?
  • Do you want to study in a foreign language?
  • What degree of cultural immersion are you ready for?
  • How much money can you afford to spend?

Prioritize those goals. Consider your long-term academic and professional goals, as well as your on-campus degree requirements. Consider whether a short-term program, a semester, or an academic year program will help you achieve them.

Prepare academically

With proper planning, study abroad can help you prepare for your professional life after college and supplement your education in a variety of ways. You may need to take foreign language or other prerequisite courses for your chosen program, or you may need to fulfill some requirements for your major before you can go abroad.


Next, Explore Programs.