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Things to Consider

Choosing a Study Abroad Program

What do I want/need out of this experience?

Before you start looking at all the program opportunities available through TLU, you should realistically assess your academic objectives, language abilities, and personal goals. Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide what program best fits your needs and wants.

  • What do I want or need to study? What courses do I need to take?
  • Do I need to earn credits toward a major, a minor, or General Education while I am abroad?
  • Am I fluent enough in a foreign language to take classes in it or will I need to take at least some — if not all — of my classes in English?
  • Where do I want to go? Why do I want to go there?
  • Do I want to live and study in a large city or would I prefer something smaller and more personal?
  • How much structure do I want? How comfortable am I with being self-directed?
  • Do I want to directly enroll in a foreign university? If so, would I feel comfortable in a very large university (30,000+ students) or do I want something a bit smaller?
  • What kind of living experience do I want — living in a dorm with other American students? Living in an apartment and cooking for myself? Being completely immersed staying with a host family?

Assess Your Options

Once you have answered these questions for yourself, you have some guiding principles to help you assess the options available to you. The next steps are to begin looking at the study abroad programs TLU offers and to make an appointment with the TLU International Education office to speak with someone who can help you sort through your options.

Compare Programs

Choosing the right program for your needs can be a difficult task and requires careful thought. As you sort through the many options, you will want to assess the programs using the criteria that are important to you. The questions listed above are a great place to start, but as you are comparing programs, you should also consider the following issues:

Field of study

Does the program offer the kinds of courses you need and offer a wide variety of them? Is your field of study a particular academic strength for that program?

Academic credit

What is the average course load for the program? What credit unit does the program use and how will those credits transfer back to TLU? 

Language requirements 

If the program has a language requirement, are you at the appropriate level of proficiency?


What are the program’s start and end dates? Will those dates interfere with your return to TLU? Will they interfere with other plans such as summer internship or work?

Experiential opportunities

Does the program offer internships or volunteer experiences? Do you have the opportunity to conduct independent research? 


What would the total cost — not just tuition, room, and board — be for the program? That is, what are the additional “expected” costs (i.e., round-trip airfare, ground transportation, additional insurance, visa fees, etc.)?

After you've considered these questions, the International Education staff can help you further explore. Contact Charla Bailey to schedule an appointment. 

Contact Us 

Charla Bailey
Director of International Education

Office: Tschoepe Hall 107
Phone: 830-372-8098

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