Start by asking yourself these questions
- Do I enjoy trying new things?
- Am I comfortable being away from home?
- Am I a risk taker?
- Can I adapt to a new surrounding?
- Am I comfortable eating “foreign” food?
Study Abroad is a life-changing experience—and definitely worth all of the planning that you need to do to make it a great experience. Cultural differences are more than just differences in language, food, clothing and art. Culture shapes the way we view the world. Students who study abroad often see their own world in a different light—and find themselves re-examining previously held opinions about other countries and ways of life when they return home.
Not everyone gets the chance to study abroad—so this is the type of experience that can make you stand out in a competitive job market. Potential employers may see you as highly motivated, inquisitive, and a global citizen willing to try new things. People who study abroad also tend to be comfortable taking risks, are willing to put themselves in new situations, can solve problems under challenging circumstances, and are able to overcome the fear of the unknown to move ahead.
By leaving your comfort zone, you’ll likely discover a lot about yourself, your limits, your ability to improvise and solve problems, and how to overcome obstacles on your own. You may discover strengths you never before knew you had. Study abroad can change your life.
Things you had previously only read about in a book or learned about in a classroom will become your own personal experiences. And you’ll also find that you’ll make long-lasting friendships all over the world. Can you think of a better way to get free accommodation (okay, comfy sofas) around the world for the rest of your life?
This is without doubt the best time in your life to study abroad. So let’s get started!
Most programs will require a GPA of 2.0 cumulative or higher to qualify for study abroad. You should also be in good academic and disciplinary standing and have completed at least one semester at Illinois Tech at the time of application. If you don’t meet these requirements, please let us know so that we can see if work out a plan.
Eligibility requirements for faculty-led programs are also determined by the organizing faculty member.
International students can work with an advisor in the International Center to ensure they will maintain their immigration status before, during, and after studying abroad. In addition, there may be different visa requirements to enter a host country than a domestic student. So start early!
Due to the rigorous and structured nature of a graduate degree, there are not many study abroad programs available for graduate students unless they are arranged by the IIT academic program in which the student is enrolled. Many graduate students who go abroad do so through “unofficial” opportunities arranged with their academic advisors. This may include collaborating on a research project with international colleagues of their advisor, or exchanging places with a foreign graduate student or teaching assistant for a semester or a year. Summer is also a popular option to go abroad because it does not usually affect one’s degree progress; it can end up being a great time to work on one’s thesis or to study for comprehensive exams.
Graduate student opportunities to study abroad are usually less structured than those available for undergraduates. There may be no classes or organized excursions, and you may need to arrange your own housing. On the plus side, you may be able to stay in your host country for an extended period of time, which can give you the chance to be more integrated into the local culture. It’s also a great time to meet colleagues with whom you can develop long-term working relationships.
Funding opportunities include Fulbright Grants, NSEP awards, and graduate student association grants. If you are interested in earning academic credit for your study abroad, please complete the External Study Abroad Initial Permission Form. Your advisor and someone from your department (usually the Department Chair) will need to approve of your courses in advance.