Excited to go abroad? Tips for Planning Ahead

What to expect: A timeline of the abroad process

Generally, students study abroad sometime in their junior year, but really anytime starting the summer after your freshman year is fair game. Here’s what the process will look like once you get there.

  • Take Abroad 101. First things first. Once you’ve completed this – by watching our video online and then taking the quiz, or by going to an in-person sesh – you’re ready to start your trek off into the wild blue yonder. When this is completed, we’ll create an account for you in the MyCUAbroad system. Until that happens, you can’t even have us open an application for you – so we recommend you take this as soon as possible.
  • Keep track of deadlines – Depending on what term you’re applying for – fall, spring, summer, or even winter break – your application deadlines will vary. As a general rule, upcoming fall/winter students will need to have their apps in March of the spring term before, and spring/summer students will need to apply in October of the fall semester before.
  • Get your passport ready! –  Even if you haven’t even applied yet, it’s wise to get your passport (if you don’t already have one) or ensure it’s renewed as soon as you know you want to study abroad.
    ARGENTINA, Jujuy- by Martha Obermiller, 'Jujuy 2' - 2012.jpg
    Argentina, by Martha Obermiller

    Sometimes this process can take longer than expected, and it’s better not to be caught off guard. Plus, you know you have one big thing checked off your abroad to-do list!

  • Once you’ve applied –  Your application is in, and the waiting game begins. You’ll receive an email from us (abroad@colorado.edu) when you’ve been accepted, and then you can start the real process of getting abroad.
  • Book your tickets – While flight expenditures are included in your program cost breakdown, Image result for plane taking off gifit’s still up to you to book them. The first thing to do when you know you’ve been accepted is to book your tickets in order to get the best price. Kayak, Skyscanner, and STA Travel are some alumni faves to find good deals. These sites will even allow you to bookmark a specific flight and send you an alert at the best time to buy. Keep in mind time changes and make sure you book the correct start and end date for your program!
  • Attend orientation – Take this opportunity to hear the important details from coordinators of your program and alumni like you, Image result for excited gifand ask all those burning questions you’ve been wondering about.
  • Start packing – This. Is. HAPPENING! Pack your bags and prepare – you’re off to an incredible experience abroad!

While these things can feel like a far-off dream, it’s really never too early to start planning for a semester, year, or summer abroad. If you’re stoked now, get the ball rolling with these early steps:

What you can do in the meantime:

Start or continue language studies.

If you know you’ve always dreamed of living in Paris, but you don’t speak a lick of French, now’s the time start honing your language skills. If you have high school language credit under your belt, continue your studies at CU.

FRANCE, Paris - Niki Fochtman, 'Montmartre' - 2016.jpg
Montmartre, by Niki Fochtman

For those with no language experience, CU offers excellent beginning level language classes (anything from Farsi to Spanish are available and can be continued throughout your undergraduate career!). But, if you don’t have any language background or a desire to start one – don’t worry. We have plenty of options for you, be it an exchange in a country that speaks English too, a U.S. study center, or even an internship abroad. You’re not limited to just England and Australia, either.

Get the budget ball rolling.

By planning ahead, you can make your experience abroad all the more fulfilling. Start making a budget now, you’ll be better set up to pick the perfect program without breaking the bank – and, you can even start saving up for those weekend excursions and late-night takeaway runs!

BHUTAN, Takstang-by Lindsey Weaver, 'Takstang Lhakang  (Temple) 2'-2006.JPG
Takstang Lhakang, by Lindsey Weaver

You can compare extensive breakdown costs between different programs here, and peruse our affordable travel tips here. Our program cost breakdown sheet is an excellent place to start a budget. You know how much those sections will cost – now try to make a breakdown of how much you want to spend on food for the semester, bus passes, or even concerts and other fun activities. With a good breakdown of costs, you can ensure you get in on the option that works best for your finances.

Research programs.

Our website is a one-stop shop for anything you could ever wonder about going on a CU study abroad program. Start looking at programs now, so you know what kinds of things you do and don’t want in your study abroad experience. You might find out a program you love can only cover 3 major credits,

AUSTRALIA, Cairns - by Madison Sankovitz, 'Barbie on the Esplenade' - 2016.jpg
Barbie on the Esplenade, by Madison Sankovitz

and then you know to start socking away humanities and elective credits that will be a breeze to gain abroad. But, there are plenty of ways to gain major/minor/certificate credit abroad as well.

If you know your major, check in on your audit and cross check it with our course approval list.

Use your resources.

Education Abroad alumni love to chat with their fellow future Global Buffs! No one knows the in’s and out’s of your program better than a fellow Buffalo that did it themselves a semester previous. Seek them out – either through our Facebook page or our office – and ask questions to your heart’s desire!

Got a question? Come on in and ask! We have walk-in’s from 9-4:30 in the Office of International Education in the C4C whenever you’re ready.

But, if you’re feeling a little less social, our online resources won’t let you down. Live chat us from our website to answer quick, easy questions, toggle around abroad.colorado.edu to get a feel for the different things to keep in mind, visit our Instagram to see what our current Global Buffs are up to, scroll the Facebook page to find alumni and other buddies to help you out, get tips about everything from the region you’re studying in to travel journal inspiration on our Pinterest, and read alumni stories and advice on our WordPress blog.


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