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How to Study Abroad?

Studying abroad can teach you about more than just another country or another culture; the experience of studying abroad is often cited as a major factor in a student’s personal development, in truly coming to know oneself. Students who study abroad tend to graduate at higher rates, have higher GPAs overall, are better problem solvers - all qualities that are sought-after by employers after graduation.

See our helpful guide below on how you can get started on your study abroad journey. This information is a general guideline and should not substitute the information provided on the Clayton State study abroad program websites or a programs website at a host university.

Please note that some of these steps may differ when looking at programs outside of Clayton State University. If you have questions about how to study abroad outside of Clayton State, check out our Studying Abroad in Georgia web page or contact the Study Abroad Office via email at for more information.

  • Students who study abroad graduate at a higher rate and they develop academic and career skills that stay with them for the rest of their lives.
  • Clayton State offers some excellent study abroad programs that run just a few weeks and won’t disrupt your semesters. These are called short-term programs which are led during the Spring Break or Maymester (the break between the Spring and Summer semester). If we are unable to find a program at Clayton State that meets your objectives, we will help guide you on finding a program outside of Clayton State at another university in the State of Georgia.
  • You can apply your Clayton State financial aid to your study abroad program and there are also scholarships based on merit and need.

You’ve made it to college, now where else will life take you? Take advantage of all that Clayton State has to offer you and expand your horizons by studying abroad. You’re ready for this! You’re going to grow in ways you never could have imagined, while also having the time of your life. The Clayton State Study Abroad Team is here to help you along your journey!

Why do you want to study abroad? Some students explore a particular academic field in greater depth; others work toward greater proficiency in a foreign language. What do you hope to achieve?

  • Where do I want to study abroad (country, city, region)?
  • Do I want to choose a program that will work well with my major?
  • What courses will I be able to take abroad?
  • How will study abroad fit in with my major or course requirements? Should I save some elective credits so that I can choose a program based on its location, or should I look at programs for their course choices?
  • How long do I want to study abroad (full semester, full year, summer session, short-term program - about two weeks)?
  • When do I want to study abroad (Spring or Summer)? When should I begin the application process? See the study abroad programs website for deadlines to aid in your planning.
  • How can I explain the benefits and safety of study abroad to my family? Tip: Check out our Parents, Safety & Security and Travel & Medical Insurance web pages. Also, you can discuss these concerns during your advising appointment.
  • How will I know if I’m on the right track in the planning process?

Students who are interested in studying abroad should begin planning early on in their college career. However, not having considered study abroad during freshman year certainly does not mean that it’s too late to start.

  • Begin researching programs that you might be interested in. Check out the Clayton State Study Abroad Website for more information.
  • Download a free comprehensive guide to Study Abroad: "A Student Guide to Study Abroad"
  • Schedule a study abroad advising appointment with the Study Abroad Office, drop-in to a Program Director’s info session, check out the study abroad fair, or schedule an appointment with the Program Director to inquire about the program.
  • Schedule an Advising Appointment: Get more specific information from the Study Abroad Team about study abroad programming opportunities at or outside of Clayton State. Visit our Contact Us website to learn how to book an appointment!
  • Apply for your passport if you don’t already have one. If you do already have a passport, check the expiration date to make sure you won’t need a new one before you depart. Your passport should be valid for at least six months AFTER your intended stay in the host country. Check out our Passport & Visa web page for the most up-to-date information.
  • In your research, be aware of the costs for each program. Budgets for each program are available in the program brochure and website. Create a budget of possible expenses for your time abroad and begin putting money away in a savings account for your time abroad. Remember you can use your financial aid toward study abroad, but if finances may still be an issue, perhaps think about choosing a program in a country that might be less expensive. The Study Abroad Office can help you with this. Check out our How Much Money Do I Need for My Study Abroad Program? Budget Worksheet.
  • Identify application deadlines for programs and scholarships. They might be different.
  • Begin researching and applying for scholarships. Many scholarships have varying deadlines, so keep track of when they are due.
  • International Students: Meet with the International Student Advisor to discuss re-entering the U.S. after your study abroad program. Research visa requirements for your intended host country.
  • Check-in with the Study Abroad Office if you have additional questions you need to discuss before submitting your study abroad application and required documentation.
  • Submit your application for the study abroad program before the appropriate deadline. Application deadlines are determined based on the program and which semester you’re planning to be abroad. You can find the specific deadline for each program listed on the programs website.
  • Start the required program documents (application, Health Clearance Form, Course Selection Form, submitting a copy of your passport, and any other docs) and begin to make program payments.
  • Meet with your Academic Advisor to obtain study abroad course approval for your program abroad. This is to see that the course will meet with your graduation requirements and is also part of the Course Selection Form.
  • For short-term, faculty-led programs, students should consult their Academic Advisor to determine how the credits will apply toward their Clayton State graduation requirements. This should be done in advance before applying for any program. This is also a part of the Faculty-Led Programs Course Selection Form.
  • Once accepted into the program, you must officially commit to the program to reserve your place and pay the study abroad program fees billed to your student account.
  • After you commit to participate in a program, follow instructions from the Study Abroad Office and the faculty member (the Program Director) leading the program.
  • For a short-term faculty-led program, the Program Director will schedule group meetings to discuss travel to the destination and other necessary preparations. These meetings may be part of one large Pre-Departure Orientation or may be broken down into smaller sessions over several weeks. You will also have a Pre-Departure Orientation with the Clayton State Study Abroad Office. These orientations are required of all participants attending a program.
  • Finalize any program documents and program payments.
  • Check your Clayton State email account regularly (and read it carefully) for important trip, program, and course information.
  • Continue to save whatever money you can in a savings account. Contact your bank to determine the best way to access your money abroad and any associated fees when using your debit/credit card abroad.
  • Attend mandatory Clayton State Study Abroad Pre-Departure Orientations.
  • Prior to departure, students are required to register their trip with the U.S. Department of State STEP program.
  • Learn about your host country; being aware of differences in the culture may help you experience less culture shock. Culture Crossing is an excellent resource to help prepare you for everything from typical gestures to gift-giving to common greeting customs. Also, The University of Arkansas has some excellent suggestions for preparing for a new culture.

Can I Afford Study Abroad? Did you know that you can use your Clayton State University Financial Aid towards your study abroad program?

Studying abroad can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many scholarships available for study abroad, as well as scholarships awarded through community organizations, service clubs and national competitions, such as the Boren and Gilman programs. However, it does take time and research to find the right scholarship opportunities for you.

  • Our Financial Aid and Scholarship website will help breakdown the scholarship process, what you need to know, and resources to start looking into.
  • We also offer a Clayton State Study Abroad Scholarship called the STARS Scholarship. Check out the scholarship information to learn how this could apply to your study abroad experience.
  • Identify application deadlines for programs and scholarships. They might be different.

Study abroad programs may seem expensive but with time, budgeting, and planning, students can succeed with paying for a program by doing one or more of the following:

  • Applying early to a program will allow more time to look into resources and review your options.
  • Research to see if you are eligible to use federal student aid and/or federal grants.
  • Do you have a 529 college savings account? If so, see if you can use those funds to study abroad.
  • Don't forget to research viable scholarships!
  • Research to find a private study abroad loan with an organization. Search for an organization to find the lowest rates for private student loans.
  • Consider taking up a part time job to pay for your program expenses and other needs for the program.
  • Plan ahead! Start working and saving now for a program. Consider saving one to three years in advance.
  • Choosing an inexpensive destination is also a great way to save money on a program. Some countries are more expensive than others.
  • Consider crowdfunding! These days, there are ways to raise money from your network to help you pay for your study abroad program. Your friends and family might be able to chip in some funds to help you meet your financial goals. Check out resources like GoFundMe, DonateKindly, Kickstarter, or other alternative fundraising platforms to raise money.
  • Do you use VA Education Benefits? Check to see if there are any financial resources for a study abroad program.