Mode has some solid tips on studying abroad. She has advice after you have chosen to study abroad. We would like to start out with consider study abroad. Travel is great but living in a country is a far more intense experience. When we lived in Poland we learned more the longer we stayed. We have three bits of advice on investigating study abroad.
First, look for scholarships. MWG is one of those that supports such a scholarship. It is worth investigating scholarships and other support to see if you can afford it because it is a great experience.
Second, consider all the possibilities. The traditional study abroad is to spend a semester or year at another school but there are all kinds of alternatives like summer sessions and guided tours in January. If you want to be with folks from home there are programs like Wisconsin in Scotland where you study abroad but live in a castle with other Americans (we are not sure if it is limited to Wisconsinites). One of the little Gloves did this and loved it. Don’t worry if these programs are not at your school because almost every school is looking for folks to fill their programs.
Third, consider study abroad as early as possible. When you are a junior or a senior you are heavily involved in courses in your major. It is way easier to stay on schedule to graduation and you have more options if you go earlier. The exception is if you are majoring in a language. For example, if you are an accounting major it is extremely difficult to get US taxation abroad but you can probably get Principles of Accounting when you study abroad. It is better to go later than to not go but later usually requires more planning and advice. Once we thought we had finished an advising session for the fall when the advisee said that he was studying abroad in the following spring. We started over again. Work with both your department and your version of International Education to facilitate your program.
As you get more into your planning you can check out Mode and other folks that have gone abroad to help you with the next steps. Start today.