When it comes to choosing a study abroad program, there is no “one-size fits all,” nor is there only one program for you. There is likely more than one program that fits your personal and academic interests!

The first step in exploring these programs, is identifying your study abroad goals. Ask yourself, “What do I want out of this? What are my goals?” Consider the following questions:

  • Are you interested in satisfying academic requirements? (i.e. major, minor, GE, elective and/or foreign language?
  • Would you like internship or research experience?
  • Do you simply need units?
  • Are you seeking personal growth or professional development?
  • Do you wish to attend a highly ranked university abroad?
  • Is your primary goal to live abroad and explore a different culture?

While there is no right or wrong program, it is important to choose a program based on a well-informed decision. Here are four top factors to consider in identifying the best study abroad program for you.

Program Experience

Consider:

  • Would you like to study abroad with local students, UC peers, students from the U.S., or international students from around the world? Who you study abroad with varies by program.
  • Are you searching for a program that offers a wide range of courses and subjects to choose from, or pre-selected courses tailored to a specific subject (i.e. physics, psychology, history, etc.)
  • Are you interested in learning on-the-go where classes can be walking tours, site-visits, and day trips?
  • Would you like a program that has built-in activities and excursions?
  • Housing abroad varies per program, is the type of accommodation important to you?

Next Step: View individual program pages for information on the type of experience each program has to . Here is an overview of what you can generally expect from the programs we offer:

UCLA Travel Study – Learn on-the-go taking 2-3 set courses led by UCLA professors. Enjoy pre-planned excursions primarily with UCLA students as your peers.

UCEAP – UCEAP offers almost every combination of study abroad experience imaginable; yet they specialize in university immersion, where you study alongside local students and professors.

UCLA Global Internship Program – Experience what it’s like to work abroad by interning for academic credit tailored to select UCLA majors. The Global Affairs track is open to all.

UCLA Summer Global Cities – Unique exchange where UCLA students study abroad and network with local students. Both cohorts then return to UCLA to take courses during Summer Session C.

Costs

Consider:

  • The cost of a program abroad can be less than, equal to, or more than studying at UCLA. Factors that contribute to the overall cost of studying abroad can include: term abroad, destination, length of study, and total units expected to receive.
    • For example: A fall term at International Christian University (ICU) in Japan is about the same cost as studying and living in UCLA dorms. ICU is also half the cost of a fall term in Prague!
  • Total cost estimates include fees students are expected to incur including tuition, housing, travel insurance, and budgets for airfare, transportation, and meals.
  • UCLA financial aid and scholarships are available for eligible students.
  • Out-of-state students: The non-resident supplemental tuition is still required when attending a UCEAP program during the academic year, as students remain a currently enrolled UCLA student while abroad, but does not apply to summer programs.

Next Step: For a deeper dive into funding study abroad and identifying affordable options, check out our Money Matters videos! Afterwards, prepare a budget, compare program costs, and apply for scholarships!

Term Abroad

Consider:

  • How long do you wish to be abroad? The IEO offers summer, quarter, semester, and year-long programs.
  • Most program start and end dates do not perfectly align with the UCLA calendar.
Summer Programs Do not overlap with UCLA’s three quarters but vary widely from as short as three weeks to as long as eight weeks!
Fall Programs Generally start in late summer and end in December, in time for UCLA’s winter quarter.
Spring Programs Most are semester-based, which start in January and continue through spring  quarter. An exception are a few programs in Japan which start in spring quarter and run through early summer.
Quarter-only  Programs There are about a half dozen programs that run fall quarter, winter quarter, or spring quarter only.
  • There is no one universally right term to study abroad for all UCLA students, however, your individual major or minor requirements may dictate recommended times to study abroad or even terms where it is absolutely not possible.
  • Think about your academic and personal commitments. What term abroad best fits your schedule?
  • Consider the weather during your term abroad. Would you prefer a warmer or colder season?

Next Step: Review study abroad program estimated dates and term offerings on individual programs.

Destination

Consider:

  • What are you are seeking out of a location?
  • Would you like to be in a metropolitan city, a college-town, the countryside, or near the coast?
  • What languages are spoken in the host county? Some countries, like Japan and Chile, offer classes in English or the opportunity to learn another language.
  • Do you have identity or lifestyle concerns (e.g. diet, health, religion) that can be accommodated outside of the United States?

Next Step: To help you decide which part of the world is right for you, you can:

  • Check out student blogs or YouTube videos out there.
  • Peruse travel guides.
  • Visit individual study abroad program pages.
  • Contact our office and ask to be connected with study abroad returnees!