Catch flights, not feelings (of stress): The phases of deciding where to study abroad

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When it comes to deciding where to study abroad, the sheer number of choices makes it almost impossible to narrow down your options to just one place. Whether you have already started your search or are just beginning to test the waters, this article will help guide you along the many steps it’ll take to decide on your dream home abroad.

Step 1: PANIC!

The deadline for studying abroad is approaching (FYI, select study abroad programs’ deadlines have been moved to Feb. 24!), and you’ve just decided to take the plunge to study in a foreign country. You only have a few days to decide on a destination, and you have no idea where even to start!

Step 2: Start researching!
You’ve Googled “the most student-friendly cities,” “the most beautiful study abroad campuses” and if you’re limited by your major requirements, “the best places to study (insert major),” and you’ve narrowed your decision down to a general region. Whether you choose to head to Europe, South America, Australia, Asia or Africa, at least you’ve got a plan in mind!

Step 3: Weigh the pros and cons.
Once you’ve got a region in mind, it’s time to start exploring the cities available to live in! You’ll have to consider dozens of factors, including location, cost of living, major availability and housing options. After brainstorming, making lists of pros and cons and consulting with your major adviser, you’ll hopefully narrow it down to two or three top destinations!

Step 4: Choose a destination!
You’ve done it! You’ve found your home for the next six months (or summer or year!), and you get started on the application. Make sure you check all the bullet points needed for your application, especially if the program requires time-sensitive documentation, such as a letter of recommendation.

Step 5: Send it in.
Get your application signed, sealed and delivered. Then wait a seemingly unending eight weeks to get a response as to whether you’ve been accepted into your program of choice. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly. If so, relax and celebrate!

From exploring a different culture to meeting new people, to even learning a new language, the memories you make while studying abroad are sure to last a lifetime! Just make sure not to overly flood your Instagram with study abroad pictures — or do! Live your best life.

Contact Jazmin Cubilla at [email protected].