Steps to Study Abroad

Step 1: Academic Planning

Knowing where one stands, academically, can help narrow down program possibilities and determine the most appropriate time for when to participate in international experiences. You should work with both your academic advisor and study abroad advisor to determine:

  • what kind of experience you want (study, research, or internship)
  • what courses you can take abroad
  • how long you can be abroad

Students with declared majors should work with their academic advisor to map out their academic track at TAMU-CC. Students currently “undeclared,” should meet with the Islander Transition Center to discuss potential academic majors, or programs.

Note: Most programs require students to be at least sophomore standing (24+ credits or more) by the study abroad program start date. It is also not recommended that students study abroad during their last semester at TAMU-CC either as residency requirements, specific degree requirements not met while overseas, or the delayed transfer of credits may lead to the possibility of delayed degree completion.

Step 2:  Financial Planning

There are many projected expenses that students need to plan for, and making sure that you are financially prepared to meet these financial obligations will help you in the long run. Start planning and saving as far in advance as possible!

Projected Expenses:

  • Tuition fees: All programs will be encompass a tuition fee; however, depending on the program, the institution which will assess the fee will vary. Exchange and faculty-led program participants will be assessed TAMU-CC tuition by TAMU-CC while abroad on their program. Tuition fees and deadlines will follow TAMU-CC deadlines for the term abroad. Students participating on provider programs will be assessed tuition by the provider program, or their host university. Tuition fees and deadlines for provider programs are determined by the provider or host university.  
  • Program fees: Program fees usually encompass the major amenities that may be provided to students for a program (i.e., housing, in-country transportation, meals (if included), scheduled excursions, etc.). Different programs will include various amenities, and program fees may be collected at different times based on the program selection. Some provider programs may include tuition in the overall program fees that they assess to participants, so check with your provider program to be sure.
  • Out-of-pocket Expenses: Out of pocket expenses are individual expenses that students will need to be responsible for as the expense is specific to each participant and not something that can be assessed to a group as a whole. Out-of-pocket expenses will vary; however, may include some of the following: meals (if not provided by program), textbooks/materials, passport or visa fees, personal spending, additional excursions. 

Types of Financial Resources Available:

  • Financial Aid: Federal or state grants or loans available through the TAMU-CC Financial Aid Office.
  • Scholarships: Department Scholarships/ TAMU-CC Scholarships/ Private Scholarship/ Regional, National, International Scholarships
  • Other sources: Parent(s) or guardian(s), Family or friends, Fundraising campaign (through community organizations or online)

Step 3: Program Search

There are a lot of program options available to students; however, TAMU-CC utilizes three main program types: Exchange programs, Faculty-Led Programs, and Provider Programs. 

Exchange Programs

  • Direct partnerships, bilateral exchange agreement, with a specific university overseas
  • Best for a semester or academic year students
  • Offers the most consistency with course options
  • More affordable tuition option for students

Faculty-Led Programs

  • Short-term programs
  • Study with TAMU-CC faculty & students
  • Specific TAMU-CC courses offered
  • Most affordable, short-term tuition option for students

Independent/Provider Programs

  • Independent study abroad organizations, or other U.S./TAMU schools
  • Offers more course options for different academic majors
  • Offers more worldwide locations & host institution options
  • Short-term, semester, & academic year
  • More expensive tuition option; however, may include more program amenities, services, and flexible payment plans

Students should attempt to utilize exchange or faculty-led options first. If none of the available options is a match, then students are encouraged to utilize an approved provider program. Stop by the Office of International Education talk to one of our staff members about your program choice. Be sure you select the option that is best for you.

Step 4: Apply For A Program

All students, regardless of program selection, will need to submit a Study Abroad Application , Internal Records Release Form, and an Unofficial Transcript to Office of International Education.

Additional application materials required will vary depending on which program students select. See list below for additional application materials: 

  • Exchange program checklist
    • Personal Statement
    • 2 Recommendation Forms
  • Faculty-led program checklist
    • Additional materials will vary based on program
  • Provider program checklist
    • Application to provider

Submit documents on time. All programs have pre-established deadlines, so students should research not only WHAT application materials are due, but also WHEN they are due, and WHOM the items need to be submitted to.

  • TAMU-CC Summer, Fall, or Academic Year Programs Deadline is March 1st. 
    • Summer Faculty Led programs are usually the Fall semester prior to the program start date.
    • Exchange programs have a February 15th priority deadline date. 
  • TAMU-CC Spring Programs Deadline is October 1st. 
    • Exchange programs have a September 15th priority deadline date.

Apply for, or renew, your PASSPORT NOW. If you are thinking about studying abroad, apply for your passport NOW, rather than waiting until after you have submitted an application or been accepted to your program.

Passports have to remain valid for at least six months after the program end date for your study abroad program.

Step 5: Conditional Acceptance & Travel Approval Paperwork

All students will be considered for conditional acceptance into their study abroad programs after completing the initial application materials required for the TAMU-CC Office of International Education.

Official acceptance into a program will come after students have either submitted their confirmation deposits (for faculty-led programs), or after students have completed and submitted all necessary application materials to their host institution (exchange university) or provider program. 

  • Note: Students applying for exchange or through a provider program will receive their "official" acceptance into the program from the host institution or from the provider program.

After being conditionally accepted into their program by the Office of International Education, ALL students must complete and submit the necessary documents to the office in order to complete TAMU-CC's travel approval process. All students must have their international travel documents approved and on file at least one week prior to their departure. 

  • Note: Students will receive information on what documents to submit after they have been conditionally accepted into their programs.  

Step 6: Post Acceptance

The post-acceptance phase will vary based on program. Students may have to complete one or more of the following after they have been accepted into their program: 

  • Apply for a visa (Usually for programs longer than 90 days)
  • Secure housing and/or flights (Exchange and provider programs)
  • Attend Pre-departure orientation (All programs)
  • Complete other pre-departure items
    • Health/Dental Exam
    • Vaccinations
    • Notifying banks, landlord, housing, etc. of study abroad program
  • Pay tuition and/or program fees (will vary by program)

 Step 7: While Abroad

  • Make a list of goals that you want to accomplish while abroad and put an actual plan together to make sure you accomplish those goals while abroad.
  • Keep in touch with family in friends so they know you're okay.
  • Be safe!
  • Take time to explore your new surroundings, interact with the locals, and learn more about the local customs and culture.

 Step 8: Return Home

  • Students who participated on exchange and provider programs will need to make sure that they have requested that transcripts be sent back to TAMU-CC.
    • Some students may need to complete the additional transcript evaluation process in order to have their classes, grades, and credits, transferred back to TAMU-CC. 
  • Consider how your international experience can impact your career and professional goals and find ways to share your experiences with other classmates. 
  • Network with fellow study abroad returnees and new study abroad students
  • Enter photos into the Annual Office of International Education Photo Contest
  • Complete the survey on your experience abroad
  • Update your resume
  • Consider going abroad again

 Download our Study Abroad Planning Guide, to keep in your pocket what things students should be considering before study abroad.