Not sure where to start? The following section will help you navigate the study abroad process, from thinking about your goals to exploring programs and meeting with an adviser.
Step 1: Complete First Step Advising
This brief session is designed to give you an overview of study abroad at Northwestern. It will provide valuable information about the different types of study abroad opportunities, academic and financial planning, the application process, and choosing the program that best meets your goals.
Step 2: Identify Your Goals
Why do you want to study abroad? Some students explore a particular academic field in greater depth; others work toward greater proficiency in a foreign language. What do you hope to achieve? The study abroad goals assessment worksheet can help you think through some of these questions as you get started.
Step 3: Explore Programs
Along with the broader goals you've identified, consider some of the more practical issues that might influence your program selection and then use our program search tool to find programs that meet your needs.
When would you like to go abroad? Summer, fall, or even for the full year? Find data about when and where most students study abroad.
- Location and Size
Do you prefer to live in an urban or rural setting? Small town or big city? Western or non-Western country?
- Program Type
There are various program types, including direct enrollment in a foreign university, taking courses only with other study abroad students, service learning, spending most of your time on research or an internship, or a combination of these. Find which program type most interests you.
- Academic Offerings
Do you want to fulfill major, minor or distribution requirements abroad? Do you need to earn Northwestern credit? Learn more about planning for your academics abroad during this initial phase.
Are you interested in taking courses in a foreign language, in English, or both?
Do you prefer to live in a student residence hall, with a host family, or independently? Do you prefer to live with study abroad students or local students?
Step 4: Determine Your Eligibility
Northwestern encourages all students to consider study abroad; however, each school and program has their own requirements. Learn more about these requirements and policies for study abroad to determine your eligibility.
Step 5: Research Program Cost and Ways to Pay
The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid & ULA are committed to finding an affordable path for every student, including students on financial aid, Pell Grant recipients, and first-generation students. With proper planning, your study abroad and financial aid advisers can help you find a study abroad opportunity that fits into any budget. Check out the Money Matters section to learn more about the financial considerations of studying abroad, including program costs and billing, financial aid, scholarships, and managing expenses.
Note: If you currently live or are considering moving off campus, please keep in mind that financial aid cannot cover the cost of your Evanston housing while you study abroad. Start planning early to find a subletter or budget to cover your rent while away.
Meet with an Adviser
- ULA Advisers
We encourage you to meet with a study abroad adviser. From helping to navigate the process to specifics about programs of interest, they’re a great resource!
- Financial Aid & Funding
Meet with Krista Bethel, Senior Assistant Director of Study Abroad Financial Services, to discuss how your financial aid applies to study abroad and to learn more about scholarships and additional funding opportunities.
Learn from Past Participants
One of your best resources is learning from other students about what their experience was like abroad.
- Connect with Ambassadors
ULA Ambassadors are trained to answer your questions about study abroad opportunities at Northwestern, and are happy to talk about their experiences and/or answer questions via phone, email, or in person.
- Contact Past Participants
In many cases your fellow students are the best resource for getting the inside scoop.
- Read Program Evaluations
Program evaluations are available online, and are a great way to see what your peers have to say about the programs.
Apply to Study Abroad
All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.