First Steps

Congratulations on your decision to study abroad! As a student, you have a variety of study abroad options and many factors to consider when selecting a program. Before you apply, think about your academic, personal, and even professional goals — this will help you find a program that is a good fit for you.

Begin your study abroad journey by following these steps:

  1. Register on SlugsAbroad, Study Abroad's application management system.
  2. Attend a mandatory First Steps session
  3. Compare UC Santa Cruz faculty-led, UCEAP, UC summer abroad and non-UC programs
  4. Apply for a passport

First Steps

First Steps are information sessions designed to help you begin your study abroad journey. Attendance is mandatory!

  • Attend an in-person mandatory information session offered each week during the academic year at the Division of Global Engagement
  • Complete a First Steps session to help you gain an overview of study abroad at UC Santa Cruz

Visit SlugsAbroad to view the First Steps calendar.


SlugsAbroad is the UC Santa Cruz Study Abroad application management system.

If you want to study abroad you will need to set up an account on SlugsAbroad

Sign in with your CruzID to complete your interest profile, search for programs and locations, and apply for scholarships.

Once you select a program that you like, you can upload the program’s application and other important documents into your SlugsAbroad account.


Program Comparison

UCSC Faculty-Led

  • Term: Summer
  • Opportunities: Internship, research
  • Credit: Receive UC credit1
  • Funding: UC-based funding, state/federal financial aid**
  • Led by UCSC Faculty

UCSC Exchange

  • Term: Fall, spring***, year-long
  • Opportunities: Volunteer*, research
  • Credit: Receive UC credit1
  • Funding: UC-based funding, state/federal financial aid**


  • Term: Fall, winter, spring***, summer, year-long
  • Opportunities: Internship, work*, volunteer*, research
  • Credit: Receive UC credit1
  • Funding: UC-based funding, state/federal financial aid**

UC Summer Abroad

  • Term: Spring, summer
  • Opportunities: Internship
  • Credit: Receive UC Credit1
  • Funding: UC-based funding, state/federal financial aid**

Non-UC Programs

  • Term: Fall, winter, spring, summer, year-long
  • Opportunities: Internship, work*, volunteer*, research
  • Credit: Receive transfer credit2
  • Funding: Not eligible for financial aid

1 Units and letter grade factored into GPA and appear on UCSC transcript
2 Only course titles and units appear on UCSC Transfer Credit Report
*Work or volunteer opportunities are not offered through the program, but students may be able to find work and/or volunteer options alongside their studies
**Refer to the UCSC Financial Aid Office for information about individual aid eligibility and how aid will work
***Spring terms abroad may overlap both Winter and Spring Quarter



» Detailed program comparison chart

Apply for a Passport

Time required: Up to 8 weeks

  • All students need a valid passport to participate on Study Abroad. If you do not have a passport you will need to apply for one. If your passport will expire sooner than 6 months after the end of your program, you will need to renew your passport.
  • Students will be required to upload passport scans during the application process. These passport scans must be clear and legible in order to be accepted by our office. Please be sure to avoid common mistakes and problems with passport scans.
  • If you have any concerns about this requirement, please contact Study Abroad at