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Questions to Ask Yourself

  • When can I study abroad?
    Most students study abroad in their junior or senior year; some, however, study abroad during their sophomore year or even during the summer of their freshman year. As for the time of year, shorter study abroad programs available during the winter and summer sessions. There are also programs during the fall and spring semesters or for an entire academic year.
  • How much does it cost?
    The cost of study abroad varies from program to program, depending on four factors: tuition, international airfare, the local cost of living and program fees. (Program fees include such costs as field trips, entrance fees, local travel, administrative fees, etc.) Financial aid can often be applied to some of your study abroad costs; file your FAFSA on time and ask your study abroad advisor about whether your
  • Do you speak a foreign language?
    If so, how proficient are you? Would you be comfortable taking courses in that language, or do you plan to study in English? Don’t be deterred if you don’t feel ready to study in a language other than English. Many programs are designed to allow you to study a foreign language while taking other courses in English.
  • Can I earn credits toward my degree?
    Yes! If you plan carefully and get the necessary course approval before studying abroad, it is possible to earn credit toward your major, minor, general education requirements, foreign language requirement and electives. To maximize flexibility, we recommend saving your electives for your time abroad.
  • What are your personal goals, preferences and priorities?
    Is there somewhere you have always dreamed of going? What kind of climate would you enjoy? Would you like to be in a large city or a country town? What are your housing preferences? Would you like to live in a residence hall with other students or with a local family? Think about what you are comfortable with.  In addition to these personal factors, think about how your study abroad program will fit into your resume and what impression it will make on potential employers and/or graduate school admissions committees in the future.  Does its academic focus complement your current studies or the direction you plan to take in the future?
  • Where would you like to study?
    There are study abroad programs all over the world. Your home college is likely to sponsor programs in a variety of locations each year, and many other CUNY colleges offer programs to other countries. Some students choose programs from other colleges and universities that provide study abroad programs.
  • Are you eligible to study abroad?
    Are you in good academic standing? Are you in good disciplinary standing? Do you have any stops or holds on your record? Check the requirements of the programs you are interested in.

Step by Step

Step 1: Schedule an appointment with your study abroad office

schedule-appt In this meeting, you should be prepared to give some ideas of where you wish to study, the types of courses you would like to take and when you are interested in studying abroad (summer, winter or semester). You will become familiar with your home campus requirements and procedures.

Step 2: Meet with your major advisor

_0003_meet-advisorTell your major advisor that you are interested in studying abroad. Together, you can work on your future course schedules to make sure a semester, summer or winter away will not interfere with major or minor requirements. Some majors have more flexibility than others in terms of when you can study abroad. Your major advisor is the best resource for helping you determine which term works best with your academic schedule.

Step 3: Apply for your passport

_0001_complete-permitIt can take eight weeks to have your passport processed, so the sooner you apply, the better. Passports are valid for 10 years, so you can never apply too early! If you have a passport, check its expiration date. Most countries require that your passport be valid for six months after your program ends. Also, keep in mind that many countries require a student visa. A visa is a travel document used in conjunction with the passport, and you cannot apply for a visa without having a passport. Your study abroad program will inform you of the need for a visa and will send you information on how to apply for it. Visa processing times vary from country to country and consulate to consulate, so advanced planning is imperative. For information on applying for and renewing your passport, visit http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html.

Step 4: Research program options

_0000_research-programsYour study abroad office can provide you with information as well as websites to help you with your search for the perfect program.

Step 5: Submit the program’s application

_0002_scheduleEach program has its own application requirements, procedures and deadlines. Many programs operate on rolling admissions, so it is best to submit your application before the stated deadline. Follow the instructions carefully and contact the program director.

Step 6: Complete the PERMIT/CUNY E-PERMIT Process

When you receive your acceptance letter from the program in which you wish to participate, inform the your study abroad office of your plans. If you are participating on any study abroad program other than your own college program, you will be required to submit a PERMIT or E-PERMIT.

A PERMIT course is a course taken at another college (non-CUNY) for which students receive credit at their college. Students must earn at least a C or better for the credit to transfer. A grade earned on a PERMIT course does NOT calculate into the GPA.

An E-PERMIT course is a course taken at another CUNY college. Students must earn at least a D- for the credit to transfer. A grade earned on an E-PERMIT course IS calculated into the GPA.

For guidelines and instructions on submitting a PERMIT or E-PERMIT, ask your study abroad office.

Step 7: Pre-departure orientation

orientationAttend the pre-departure sessions offered by your study abroad program. These are usually mandatory; even if they are not in your case, they provide valuable information for anyone traveling abroad.

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