Center for International Programs - Semester/Year Abroad

Getting Started

It is best to start planning your study abroad experience as early as possible.  Ideally, it is advisable to consider a semester or year abroad during your freshman year.  In this way, you can better plan your course of study in the semesters preceding your study abroad experience. 

We strongly recommend that every student planning to study abroad for a semester or year schedule a meeting to speak with the Study Abroad Advisor prior to submitting an application. 

After you have reviewed the Program Information, use this planning document to help you consider different programs.

Please come prepared to your meeting with answers to the following questions:

Questions to Ask During the Planning Process


•   What kind of off campus experience am I looking for? Domestic, abroad?

•   Do I want to do integrated coursework with local students and faculty?

•   Do I want to take coursework with other US students?

•   Do I want a program with a specific academic theme or focus?

•   Will I be able to do an internship?

•   Will I be able to pursue my research interests? 

•   Are their opportunities for service learning or volunteerism?



•   Is there a language requirement?

•   Is there a major requirement?

•   Is there a GPA requirement?



•   What are my academic goals?

•   Do certain programs have a specific academic focus?

•   Do I want to earn major and/or minor credit?

•   What are the policies of my major/minor department with regard to earning credit?

•   Does my Academic Advisor support my plans to spend a semester or year abroad?

•   Does the program allow students to take the combination of courses I want to take?

•   How will my work be assessed?

•   Will I be able to study a language and if so, at what level?



•   What are my expectations with regard to cultural integration and assimilation?

•   What opportunities do I have to meet local people?


Location & Housing

•   What regions of the world match my academic interests?

•   Do I want to be in a large city or in a more rural setting?

•   Where do students on the program live - dorms, apartments, homestays?

•   With whom will I be living - a local family, local students, other international students?

•   What opportunities will there be for travel (in-country and in the region)?



•   What is the best semester for me to study off campus?

•   How long should I stay off campus?

•   What is the academic calendar of my study abroad destination?

•   Is the academic calendar congruent with Saint Joseph’s? Does that matter to me? On which dates does the program begin and end?