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General Advice on Studying Abroad

The Planning Process: It is never too early

Start planning right away—the earlier, the better! While most CALS students study abroad during their junior year, students who begin planning during their first semester at Cornell benefit considerably. Attend a Study Abroad 101 session or the International Fair during your first semester(s) at Cornell or discuss your plans to study abroad with your faculty advisor!

Consider your situation, interests, and goals

Academics: What are your academic goals while abroad? Do you want to take classes to fulfill your major, or take general electives? Are there classes or subjects taught abroad that you cannot take at Cornell?

Hot tip: Set aside one or two Humanities and Social Science CALS Distribution Requirements so that you can take a culture and/or language class abroad. What a great way to learn more about the country you’re living in and make progress toward your degree! (Please note that we do not recommend students to take the Human Diversity requirement abroad due to the special approval process.)

Program Model: Do you want to take classes alongside local students? Do you want to study in the local language? Would you like to experience another education system, or take classes designed specifically for U.S. study abroad students? Are you interested in an internship, service-learning, or research while abroad?

Location: Where do you want to study? Have you always had your heart set on a specific country or continent? Or are you flexible in terms of location but want to focus on a particular topic while you study abroad?

The Global Learning and Exchange advisors, as well as your faculty advisor can discuss these questions with you and offer helpful advice that will make it easier for you to choose the program that fits your individual needs.

Learn about other students’ international experiences

In addition to speaking to friends who have studied abroad, there are online resources to find out what it is like to study abroad. The Office of Global Learning has compiled a list of students who have returned from their time abroad—and who are willing to be contacted by students who are considering programs. Reach out to them. You’ll see how many will passionately encourage you to study abroad.