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Getting Started


Studying abroad can be one of the most significant experiences of your undergraduate education. Studying abroad is an opportunity to discover new aspects of yourself, increase global competency skills, and build your resume.

The following guide takes you through some of the steps you may want to consider as you prepare for studying abroad. It is meant to help you through the process, both the steps leading up to selecting a program that is right for you, and the practical aspects of applying for a program.

What Do You Want to Get Out of the Study Abroad Experience?

Since studying abroad often involves a significant amount of money and time, taking time to reflect upon what you hope to gain from the experience is an important first step.  The following are some statements that are intended to help you hone in on your reasons for studying abroad and what you may hope to gain from the experience:

  • I want to increase my cross-cultural communication skills
  • I want to increase my language skills in a language (French, Spanish, Chinese, etc.)
  • I want to travel as much as possible in a particular country or region and see specific sites (the Vatican, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu)
  • I want to learn how to do business in a particular region of the world
  • I want to do research overseas
  • I want to explore the culture of a particular country and have inter-culture experiences such as learning about traditional Chinese medicine, the role of women in the Middle East, liberation theology in El Salvador, etc.
  • I want to do an internship in another country to build my resume
  • I want to meet people from other countries and have fun!
  • I want to take particular courses that will build my resume
  • I want to stretch myself and try to live in a culture that is very different from my own

Ashley Jump

Before your appointment

Narrow your options

  • Research available programs on the Types of Programs Page. Your search should take location, time of year, and length of program into consideration, but your focus should remain on the academic fit for your study abroad with the major/minor/area or other degree requirements you have remaining to fulfill for graduation.
  • Limit your options to a few programs that interest you and appear to fit your academic and personal requirements. Think about your personal goals for study abroad, such as independence, language fluency, a specific course fulfillment, or heritage-seeking goal. These aspects should also guide your search and help narrow your options.

Prepare questions

  • Program questions: How do the programs you have chosen compare with each other academically, logistically, and financially? Are the programs you have chosen group programs or more independent programs and how do those compare? Can a friend participate in the same program?
  • Academic questions: How will the program count toward academic requirements for graduation? What specific courses are appealing on one program more so than another program? Is there a specific Faculty member you would like to study abroad with?
  • Financial questions: What is provided within the program fees for each program, such as flight, visa expenses, meals, specific excursions, and local transport passes? How will you pay for the program? When will payments be due? Are you eligible for Federal Financial Aid, i.e., Stafford Loans or Pell Grant? Do you have additional scholarship sources that will be able to contribute to the cost of the program? Have you saved from a local job or cut expenses elsewhere to save for the program expenses for your study abroad?
  • Additional concerns of yours or of your parents. Bring a list so you don’t forget anything.

Have patience

  • Remember that we may not always have all the answers and that we may have to direct you to someone else on campus, such as the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office or your Academic Advisor. 
  • It is a good idea to set up appointments with Financial Aid/Scholarships and your Academic Advisor around the same time as your Study Abroad Office advising appointment in order to get all of the information you will need to make a wise selection. 

/ Study Abroad

The Center for Student Success is located at 172 West Main Street.

Office Hours
M-F: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

p/ 614.823.1624
f/ 614.823.1325

Michelle Dippold 
Study Abroad Coordinator
e/ studyabroad@otterbein.edu

/ Application Deadlines

  • Fall - March 1
  • Spring - October 1
  • Summer - Rolling: Contact the Study Abroad Coordinator


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