Step 3: Research Your Options

Wondering where to begin? Think about what aspects are most important to you in your study abroad experience. Is it the location? Duration of study? The curriculum? Living with a host family? Internship or community engagement opportunities?

There are many types of study abroad programs, both W&M and non-W&M.

Take advantage of the resources available to you, both on campus and on the Global Education website, to find a program that matches your interests. Talk to people - a peer or staff advisor in the Global Education Office at the Reves Center, your friends, your family, your faculty advisor - and take the time you need to choose a program that's right for you! We recommend you begin researching program options one year before the intended semester abroad.

  • Attend a Study Abroad 101 workshop which will offer tips on finding programs to fit your academic goals and interests.
  • Visit the Global Education Office on the second floor of the Reves Center to learn more about W&M programs and other study abroad options. Our peer advisors are happy to answer any questions you may have. The office is open Monday - Friday from 11 am to 5 pm.
  • Browse the programs on our website to see what different options are available.
  • Attend the Study Abroad Fair, held every fall during Family Weekend. Meet with faculty program directors and students to hear about the experience firsthand.
  • Talk to students who have participated in the programs you are considering.
How To Choose the Right Program For You

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What are your goals for studying abroad?
  • What kinds of experiences are you seeking?
  • Are you open to an entirely new culture?
  • Are there aspects of W&M or your culture that you want to maintain while studying abroad?
  • Do you need special accommodations due to a documented learning, mobility, or physical disability?
  • Would you be comfortable being in a country where the beliefs, values, and views differ from yours?
  • How engaged do you want to be on campus and/or in the community? In the country?

What kind of experience are you looking for?

  • Cultural immersion or time spent with other American students?
  • People you know already or completely new people?
  • English-speaking or a different language?
  • University classes or field experience?
  • Staying in one location or a program that travels? 
  • Large university or small school/program?
  • Theme-based study or a wide variety of course options?
  • Urban or campus setting?
  • Travel on your own or travel with a program group?
  • Homestay, university accommodation, or independent living?
  • Internships and community engagement opportunities while studying abroad?

 Financial Considerations:

  • Are you an in-state or out-of-state student?
  • Consider the cost of various programs and what is included. Programs that cost more may include excursions, meals, internship placements, etc
  • Consider the cost of living in a location. Living in a major city will be more expensive than outside of a city or in a rural area.
  • The dollar is always stronger in some countries than in others.

 Academic Considerations:

  • Are you open to a new teaching style and classroom expectations?
  • Are you open to different kinds of assignments and assessments?
  • Are you choosing a university/program that offers the same academic standards as W&M? The GPA requirement can be good gauge.
  • Look carefully at the programs dates to make sure they will work for you. Many programs, especially in the southern hemisphere, end in July (spring semester) and begin in July (fall semester). Also, some programs in Europe and Asia do not end until late June.
  • Are you flexible with the courses you can take while abroad or do you need specific courses?
Online Resources
  • CIA World Factbook
    Country profiles and comparisons compiled by the CIA. 
  • IIE Passport
    Search for study abroad programs by country, field of study, language, and city in this comprehensive database.
    Database of programs and program reviews.