University of California, Riverside

UCR Study Abroad - Other UC & Non-UC Programs




Program Considerations


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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Program Abroad

Use these questions to clarify your objectives for going abroad. There are no right or wrong answers.

Personal Considerations

  1. Why do you want to study abroad ? (To foster personal growth, to experience a different academic environment, to develop facility in a foreign language, to contribute to career development, to have the opportunity to travel, etc.?) What do you hope to gain from the experience?
  2. What personal experiences can you draw upon that would contribute to your success abroad? Have you already had an overseas experience? Have you had foreign friends or exposure to other cultures and languages? How familiar are you with the country/countries you are considering? Have you lived or traveled in a poor or developing country?
  3. How well do you adjust to new situations? Do you need an extensive support network? Do you have friends who are planning to be abroad at the same time?
  4. Which countries, regions, climates, etc. would you be comfortable living or studying in, and where would you definitely be unwilling to go? To what extent do you want to become more familiar with your own cultural heritage? How much do you want to build on what you already know culturally, and how much do you want to experience something altogether different?

Academic Considerations

  1. How important is it for you to receive academic credit for your course work abroad?
  2. Do you want/need to pursue coursework primarily or exclusively toward your major? Your minor? GE requirements? A combination? Do you want/need to emphasize study of the language and culture of your host country or something else?
  3. Would you rather pursue a traditional university-based academic program, or a program involving practical experience, research, fieldwork, or independent study?
  4. Do you want to be fully immersed in the academic life of your host country, studying alongside students of that country? Or would you rather study with a combination of host country students and foreign students? With only other foreign students? With only other Americans?
  5. Who will teach you? University professors from the host institution? Other host country nationals? U.S. faculty members? What are your teacher's qualifications?
  6. When in your academic career would it be most logical or pratical for you to study overseas?
  7. How will this experience assist you in attaining graduate school and/or career goals?

Practical Considerations

  1. Which country or countries interest you? City or cities? Do you want to be in a large, cosmopolitan city, or would you prefer a small town or rural environment? Are you looking for challenge and adventure, or a more predictable experience? How healthy is the location (air, water, personal safety)? Do you want to be in more than one location? What are the pros and cons of that?
  2. How long are you interested in being abroad? A year, semester, quarter, summer, a few weeks? How long are you willing to be away from your family and/or friends?
  3. Would you like to live only with people from your host country, or would you be more comfortable with other foreigners and/or Americans? Do you want to live with a family? In a boarding house? In a dormitory? In an apartment? Are you willing to live in less luxurious conditions than those in California?
  4. Will you need to know a foreign language to live and study successfully in your host country? What foreign language skills do you have or will you develop by the time you are abroad? Are you willing and able to pursue an academic program completely in a foreign language? Would you prefer to combine language studies with other coursework in English?
  5. How much money do you have at your disposal to participate in a program abroad? Do you have other resources that you can use if necessary? Can you qualify for financial aid? Are you willing to spend some time and energy applying for special scholarships? Or to work extra hours before going abroad?
  6. Do you want to study abroad in the context of a "program" where housing, meals, and administrative arrangements are taken care of for you, or would you prefer to work things out on your own?
  7. Do you have health concerns or special needs that must be considered (current health conditions that could pose problems while abroad, physical disability, learning disability, eating disorder)?
  8. Are there opportunities for community service and/or work in the host country? Are you interested in such an experience?
  9. What medical care facilities will be available overseas? Will you need additional health insurance? Do the programs you are considering include insurance as part of their program fees?

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Education Abroad
0321 Surge Building

Tel: (951) 827-4113
E-mail: educationabroad@ucr.edu

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