Steps to Study Abroad

The planning stages outlined below will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad.

Meet with a Peer Adviser

Peer advisers are Penn State education abroad returnees who have enjoyed their experiences so much that they volunteer their time to advise other students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each peer adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad.

Choosing a Program/Study Experience

There are many ways to gain international experience while in college including for-credit academic study abroad, internships abroad, and service-learning opportunities. Learn about the different study abroad program options available to you as a Penn State student. 

Program Search

Meet with an Education Abroad Adviser

Education Abroad advisers work with a specific portfolio of programs and can help answer questions about your program of interest including how other programs compare, the application process, pre-departure processes, and cultural preparation.


Academic quality is an important component of any Education Abroad program, and students should select a program that will enrich their collegiate studies. The Education Abroad office encourages students to work closely with both their academic adviser and Education Abroad adviser before, during, and after studying abroad to ensure all academic matters are handled properly.

Costs and Funding

With proper planning and a commitment to exploring funding resources, studying abroad can be affordable for any budget. There are many factors that influence choice in location and program; one important factor is cost.

Application Process

Students interested in participating in a semester or summer education abroad program must submit an online application through Penn State Education Abroad by the appropriate deadline. Students already accepted into a program wishing to extend for an extra semester are required to submit another application for the new term by the appropriate deadline. For most programs, the entire application process is online, though some programs may require submission of hardcopy documents. To assist students with the process, we have detailed application instructions and an explanation of how to request an electronic recommendation.

I'm Approved...What's Next?

Congratulations on your approval for your study abroad program! Your time abroad will be a challenging and rewarding experience academically and personally. However, before you step on the plane and travel to your host country, there are several tasks that will require your attention.

Travel Logistics

There are many considerations students must contemplate before traveling abroad for a study abroad program. Understanding passports, visas, and international travel tips, will help you make the most out of your experience abroad. 

Life Abroad

A key step in preparing to study abroad is to consider how your background, identity, physical traits, and beliefs might be received in another cultural context. Every country, including the United States, may have people that are biased or judgmental. Ensure a smooth transition and adjustment to life in your host country by learning about your host culture(s) in advance, what to expect, and consider how to navigate unfamiliar and potentially uncomfortable interactions. 

Incoming Exchange Students

Welcome, prospective exchange students, to Penn State University! Penn State is a public institution with national ranking in scholarship, research, and athletics. We are excited you are considering us for an international exchange! 

Health and Safety for EA Students