Sample questions to ask your study abroad advisor before you go abroad

By Bonnie Bottner
Published June 24, 2013

Studying abroad can be exciting, adventurous, and life-changing. But it can also be daunting, especially when going somewhere where English isn’t the native language. While it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, figuring out a few key points beforehand can help quell your anxiety.

Don’t fret—as Alexander Graham Bell once said, “Preparation is the key to success.” Here are some sample questions to ask your study abroad advisor before you go.

  • How much will it cost? offers programs for a range of budgets. Depending on the location of the school offering your program choice, length of program, and amenities such as housing and meals, your advisor can help you pinpoint the program that is right for you.

    After applying to your study abroad program, contact the financial aid office to see what options are afforded to you. You may be eligible for a scholarship, grant, or work-study program. Check out our Financial Aid page for more details.

  • What do I need to do before I go?
    For each institution and program, you’ll need to check on if you need a specific GPA and language aptitude to qualify. Additionally, you should work with your advisor to identify each host country’s requirements for passports and visas, if necessary, as well as vaccinations.
  • What length of program should I choose?
    Your study abroad advisor will help you determine the program best suited to your needs. Whether staying for a year, a semester, a summer, or even intersessions, there are many selections to choose from. Among other things, we’ve got gap year, teaching, and volunteering programs, too.
  • Will my study abroad credits fulfill any of my requirements?
    Most study abroad programs offer courses with credits that will transfer, but it’s important to work with your advisor to determine if and how your credit hours will fulfill any major or elective requirements.
  • How can I get the most from my experience?
    Your advisor will be able to tell you that beyond credits, a stimulating schooling experience, and travel to a new destination, studying abroad can offer you the opportunity to learn about industries and interests that are more prominent in different areas.

    For example, it’s a given that island countries like Antiqua and Barbados, Bahamas, and Belize appreciate a popular tourism industry. But those interested in design and fashion may do well to look into programs in London, England, or Barcelona, Spain. Writers may find their muse in Rome, Italy, or Prague, Czech Republic. And those with a concentration in marine sciences may flourish in Auckland, New Zealand, or Bamfield, British Columbia.

    During your program, make sure to go outside of your comfort zone by exploring the local culture, tasting new foods, and meeting new acquaintances. Not only will this give you a chance to practice the language (if different than English), but it’ll give you a different perspective on another way of life.

  • Are there safety concerns where I’m going?
    Discuss with your advisor the region in which you’re planning to study, and research together what the U.S. State Department has to say about travel and warnings in that particular area. Make sure you have a good feeling about your housing situation and familiarize yourself with the local laws and legal system.

Feel free to take a look at our Student Travel Essentials page as well for tips on things like insurance, travel gear, and financial aid. Your study abroad advisor can give you a better understanding of this information and will help arm you with the knowledge to make your experience a positive one. Now, go forth and study!

Ready to find a program? Get started now!

Bonnie Bottner has a B.A. in English with a concentration in Communications from the University of Tampa. She has worked in marketing and communications for over ten years, and has taken continuing education courses at Georgetown University and College of Notre Dame of Maryland.