Selecting a Study Abroad Program

student abroad in Graz

Your journey starts here! Study Abroad & Global Engagement offers international study, internship, research or service programs for students of all majors in more than 70 countries.  Where will you go?

Many students know that they want to study abroad but are not quite sure when, where, what or how to begin exploring the opportunities available to them. Below are some questions to help you define your goals and identify those study abroad program(s) that will work best for you.


  • Have you discussed studying abroad with your academic advisor at KU?
  • Do you know what courses you can/need/or want to take abroad?
  • Would you like to take courses in English, or courses in a foreign language?
  • Would you like to complete research or field work while abroad?
  • Would you like to take courses with host-country students, international students, or both?

For more on integrating study abroad into your academic plan, visit our Academics Abroad page.

Cost, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

  • How much do you currently pay to attend KU each semester, and how does that compare to the cost of potential study abroad programs?
  • Do you utilize federal, state, or institutional financial aid (loans, grants, scholarships, other)?
  • How will your financial aid and scholarships apply toward your study abroad program?
  • Do you plan to secure additional financial aid to finance your term abroad?
  • What funding sources do you rely on that you may not have access to while abroad (like a job)?
  • What can you do now to secure finances for your term abroad (e.g. save money, apply for scholarships, etc.)?
  • What study abroad scholarships are you eligible to apply for?


  • Semester or academic year programs may offer more "bang for your buck" as students frequently have greater access to financial aid, more scholarship opportunities exist and scholarship amounts may be higher for longer duration programs, and many of the additional costs associated with international travel (such as airfare, passport, etc.) don't vary based on the length of time that you are abroad.  
  • Several academic year, semester or short-term programs have large scholarships available.  If these programs meet your academic, professional or personal needs in a study abroad program, consider applying for one of these options.
  • If you receive a Federal Pell Grant, apply for the Gilman Scholarship.
  • Explore all of the various scholarships available for study abroad on our Study Abroad Scholarships page.

For more information visit our Costs and Funding page.


  • Are you flexible as to when you study abroad, or has your academic advisor recommended a specific term for study abroad within your degree plan?
  • What is your ideal program length?  Students can study abroad for the academic year, semester, summer, winter break or spring break. Summer programs range from 10 days to 8 weeks, offering a variety of timeframes to meet student needs.

Review the information on our Study Abroad in Your Major for program and term recommendations for your field of study.


  • Where do you want to study? Where do you not want to study?
  • Are you open to any location as long as you can meet your other objectives (for example, academics, cost, etc.)?
  •  Are you comfortable with the health and safety environments in the countries in which you are interested?
  • Are you comfortable with how your identities may be viewed in your host country? See our Identity Abroad pages for more information.
  • If you would like to travel while abroad, what are the travel destinations accessible to you from your host city, transportation options to get there, and approximate cost?
  • Do you prefer a lively, cosmopolitan city with a vibrant social scene or a smaller “Lawrence-esque” location?
  • Does the cost of living in your host city and country fit into your financial planning?

Review the information on KU International Travel Policies if you are interested in studying abroad in a country with a U.S. Department of State Level 3 or Level 4 travel advisory.  These countries have unique health or security contexts which must be considered when selecting a study abroad program. 

Life Abroad

  • What type of accommodations do you prefer while abroad (for example, a host family, residence hall, or student apartment)?
  • Would you like to live on your own or with a roommate?
  • Do you prefer to have meals provided for you or would you like a program where you provide your own meals?
  • Would you prefer a program that plans excursions and field trips for you, or do you prefer to travel independently?
  • To what extent do you wish to immerse yourself in the local culture through participation in local events and projects, volunteer work, joining student organizations, or engaging in other activities that will bring you in contact with locals?
  • Do you seek a program in which there is an on-site office and staff dedicated to assisting students or one in which you work directly through offices at the host institution?
  • Would you like to be in classes and participate in extracurricular activities with mostly local students or students from U.S. universities?

Once you have considered the above questions, you will be better prepared to begin your program search. You can search for programs by academic term, country, region, academic discipline as well as many other criteria. To begin your search, visit the Program Search section.

Were you unable to find a KU program that fits with your goals? Don't worry! There are hundreds of study abroad programs that are run by other U.S. universities or study abroad program providers.  As a KU student your options are endless!  Visit our Drop-In Advising Center to learn more about these program opportunities and the process of applying to non-KU programs.