Getting Started

Choosing a Program that is Right for You

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

  • Research, Research, Research your program options – There are many program options available to you and it is important that you consider them all in selecting a program that best fits your goals.
  • Program Cost – While you may find that your financial aid applies to most programs, and often scholarships opportunities are available, all programs have a different cost and may cost more, less or about the same as it does to attend UCSC.  Cost of living varies greatly from location to location around the world and plays a large factor in program cost.  Consider your finances when looking at program options and review itemized program budgets to determine what additional expenses you may need to be prepared to pay, such as extra travel and shopping.  Visit Finances & Scholarships to learn more about upcoming workshops, financial aid, scholarship opportunities, and other resources related to finances.
  • Eligibility – Determine if you meet program eligibility requirements. Every program has different requirements that students must meet in order to apply, which may include to class level, minimum cumulative GPA, academic standing, minimum age, language pre-requisite, and/or course pre-requisite.
  • Language – Do you want to immerse yourself in a foreign language?  Learn a foreign language for the first time or continue language study?  Do you want to take courses only in English?  There are many locations where the local language is not English, yet you can courses taught in English.
  • Academics – Do you want to focus on your academic needs by earning credits toward your degree or taking courses in and for your major(s)/minor while abroad?  Satisfy GE requirements?  Or do you want to focus on your personal interests, professional goals, or find a program that satisfies all three?
  • Identity – Consider your identity when choosing a study abroad program.  It is important to consider and anticipate possible challenges you might face while abroad. Visit Diversity Abroad to learn more and access resources that will aid in your study abroad journey.
  • Rural or Urban Environment – Would you rather be in a big city or small town?
  • Classroom Setting – Do you want to take classes with UCSC students, UC students, and/or local students?  UCSC faculty, UC faculty and/or local faculty?
  • Career Development – Beyond the classroom, are you interested in programs that offer internships, service learning, and/or volunteer experience?  Or, do you have career interests that could be pursued via other means in particular locations?
  • Term(s) Abroad – Consider how long you want and can be abroad given any academic, financial, or other limitations you may have.  There are quarter, semester, summer and year-long programs.
  • Housing – Do you want to live in a homestay, university residential hall or apartments?  Study abroad programs have many different options and in some cases your program will offer you a choice while other programs may have set housing.
  • Health and Safety – As with any travel, whether domestic or international, there are health and safety risks.  It is important for you to familiar yourself with local customs, regulations, and laws in addition to potential risks associated with your program location.  We recommend you review U.S. Department of State information for Students Abroad as well as country specific information in addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for relevant traveler information and our Health & Safety information.

Study Abroad Advisors and Student Outreach Liaisons are also available to assist you in selecting a program. See the Advising Hours page for general advising and contact information.