Making a new/custom study abroad with your university

Graduate students are special. Heck, all graduate things are special and unique and I mean that honestly. Each program, department, university etc. have different schedules, requirements and outlooks on graduate education.

Let’s say you:
1. Want to study abroad (Woo!)
2. Get support for it from your adviser/ department (fist bump!!)
3. Look at your class plans and see a couple of months in year X of your program that you could see a study abroad happening (planing is…caring?)

Now you need to make it a reality! Ideally, there might be something set up already between your university (or university system) and a university in your study city/country. In the likely situation where your dream study abroad experience is not set up for what you need or when you need to travel, it’s time to design your own study abroad experience!

  1. Start with your Study Abroad office. They may have contacts to help you get started making the program you want. They can also be a great help when it comes to facilitating paperwork for approval in your university and department.
  2. Work that network!  Ask around to find a faculty member or lab/group that could host you. The goal of graduate student study abroad really is to get the skills or work accomplished that you need for your degree, not just classes. The support of an outside person can help assure your university that what you plan to do is realistic and useful.
  3. Funding: Money, money, money! Your Study Abroad office might be a good place to start if there are some general sources of study abroad funding. Ask your lab, department, and even Graduate Student Association if they have funds for study abroad/research opportunities. (Or go big, like looking into a applying for a Boren fellowship)

After you get some of these elements together, work it! You have to be on top of this type of situation: emailing everyone, researching university criteria, etc. Advocate for yourself! I hope that you will find a champion in one of the offices you go to but it could be that you have to be your own champion.

You can do it! Study on!



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