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Setting your Goals

When considering a study abroad option, it is always best to set your goals. Think about the following factors when making your decision.


  • Which semester is better for you to study abroad?
  • Do you want to learn a language?
  • Do you want to study one topic intensively or take a variety of course?
  • Do you have classes that need to be taken in sequence?
  • What do you think you need to do to prepare yourself for study abroad?
  • Can you afford to study abroad?

 Learning Style 

  • Do you learn better in a classroom or outside of the classroom?
  • Do you like independent or guided learning?
  • Are you able to adapt to different style of learning?
  • Do you like small or large classes?

Geographic Interests

  • Are you interested in a region of the world or a specific country?
  • Is there something happening in the world today that you want to learn more about?
  • Is there a political system that intrigues you?

Personal Identity

  • Do you want to explore family roots?
  • Do you want to live in your home country?
  • Are there historical or current factors in places around the world that may impact your experience there?

Career Path

  • What will help your graduate school applications or make your resume stand out?

Other Considerations

  • Do you want to study abroad more than once?
  • How immersed in the culture do you want to be?
  • You may have other ideas; include them all.

Identify Challenges

Now think about what, if anything might prevent you from studying abroad. Use the same sort of brainstorming technique to record the challenges. Identify the factors you'll have to consider:

  • Family
  • Money
  • Job obligations
  • Social, academic, or athletic commitments
  • Psychological, emotional, or physical issues

Set Priorities

Once you have completed this list, you can start setting priorities. Try ranking the factors. You may rank geographic location first if that that is extremely important to you, and then perhaps list money second if affordability is a major factor. You aren't making final life decisions here, just setting down on paper where your priorities lie.

Preliminary Goals Worksheet