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Study Abroad Office
Thornton International House
344 W. Woods Street
San Marcos, TX 78666-4616

Telephone: 512.245.1967
Fax: 512.245.1644

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Step-by-step Guide to Planning Your Study Abroad Experience

Step 1

Congratulations on your interest in studying abroad! Finding a study abroad program can seem overwhelming, but it's easy if you know what to do.

If you want to study abroad but don't know where to start, follow our step-by-step guide to planning your program, and you will be enrolled for the experience of a lifetime.
 
Step 1: Decide when and where you want to study.
 Study abroad sessions include but are not limited to the summer, spring and fall, semesters, as well as the academic year. Keep in mind that the longer your study abroad program lasts, the more you will be immersed in your experience.

Step 2

Step 2: Choose your courses.

 Meet with your academic advisor. To make sure that you qualify for admission, find out if there are prerequisites before enrolling in a program. Also find out how studying abroad might affect your graduation plans.
 If you choose to enroll in a non-Texas State/independent program and you need the credit transferred back to Texas State, you must complete a Transfer Credit Agreement Form. There is no guarantee that the credits earned abroad will be accepted unless you obtain approval for your courses from the Study Abroad Office and the Admissions Office. Always look for alternate courses so you can have the flexibility to change your schedule as needed, without having to wait for new approvals from Texas State while you are abroad.

 

Step 3

Step 3: Find out which program is right for you.

 Taking time to research your options is crucial for a successful experience. Read all the program information and learn about the academic structure of the curriculum, housing options, services provided and opportunities for cultural activities or excursions. Learn about the host city and find out what it has to offer you as a student and traveler.
-Find out what is included and not included in the cost of the program. Request a detailed explanation of what the cost of the program covers.
-Request names and contact information of former participants from each program you are considering. These students will have valuable information about the program that will help you make your decision.
-Do not send any money to a program provider before you are certain that you have made the best choice for you and have confirmed that Texas State has approved your course transfer.
 
When Selecting a program, ask yourself:
-What are my goals for studying abroad?
This is a big decision, so think about what you wish to achieve and how the location, program length and course offerings will help you reach your goal(s).
-Have I exceeded my transfer hours?
If you are uncertain, contact your academic advisor.
-Do I want to study abroad through Texas State, through a third0party provider or through direct enrollment in a foreign university?
-How do costs compare among programs?
-Are any excursions planned and/or included as part of the program?
-What housing options are available? Do I feel comfortable with those options?
-Does the program offer internship or volunteer opportunities?
-Are references available from previous participants?
-Are students attending the program primarily Americans, or can I expect a multinational environment?
-What is the refund policy in case of cancellation?
-Is there an on-site program director who can provide me with assistance 24/7?
-If going for language instruction, what is the student-instructor ratio?
-Is the program accredited by the Ministry of Education of the host country?
-Is the program able to provide me with a transcript upon program completion? If so, who will issue the transcript? Does Texas State accept credits from that institution? 
-Does the program offer a pre-departure orientation?
 
Texas State Programs vs. Independent Programs at a glace:
 
Texas State Programs
Application process through Texas State
IEFS Scholarship available for qualified students
Limited number of programs
Financial aid available through Texas State for qualified participants
Depending on type of program, Texas State classmates
 
Independent Programs
Application process on your own
If an accredited approved program, IEFS Scholarship is available
Great array of program options
No financial aid available through Texas State
Most likely very few or no Texas State students as classmates

Step 4

 

Step 4: Plan ahead!
Being making your plans as soon as possible. Generally, a year before you intend to go abroad is a good time to start your plans. Keep in mind that choosing an independent program will probably require more planning time on your part.
You will need to apply for a passport. Also, check with the closest consulate of your host country and ask about visa requirements and eligibility. Do this at least six months before you leave.
Make sure that you have appropriate health insurance coverage. Most programs require that medical evacuation and repatriation of remains be included in your policy. Visit our web site for links to companies that provide insurance for study abroad students:

 

Step 5

 

Step 5: Look for Financial Resources
There are many ways to fund your study abroad program. Visit our website for links to financial resources that might be available to you at ww.studyabroad.txstate.edu.
As a Texas State student, you may qualify for the International Education Fee Scholarship. If you are receiving loans or other funds, check with Financial Aid and Scholarships at Texas State to find out if you will be eligible to receive your financial aid for study abroad. You also need to consider that students who enroll in the independent programs do not qualify for financial aid. For those students, private loans as well as scholarships might be available to help you fund your program.

 

Step 6

 

Step 6: Study the culture of the country that you are planning to visit
Take time to read and learn about the culture, customs, values, and language of the places you plan to study. The more prepared you are, the more you'll be able to enjoy the host country beginning with your very first day.
Before you go, try to find people form your host country who might live in your own community or on campus. 
Contact the International Office to see if any international students from that country are studying at Texas State. If they are, try to meet them. Most likely they will be more than happy to tell you about their home country.
Inquire about and prepare yourself for culture adjustments.
Before you select a program, research health and safety issues in your host country. Visit the Department of State website for more information: www.state.gov/travel

 

Step 7

Step 7: Start packing! Have a study abroad experience! 

 
Check out our pre-departure page: