How to Choose a Program

Know Your Options while studying abroad

First Steps

Ready to learn more about studying abroad? Your first step is to narrow down which program or type of program is the best fit for you. Review the considerations below, and then watch a First Step Session! No preparation is required to watch, but considering the items below will help prompt questions to ask, or bring up things you want to discuss. 

You can also meet with a Peer Advisor one-on-one with no appointment neededPeer Advisors are Tommies who have studied abroad for at least one semester and are a great resource when you are getting started with your study abroad planning. Learn from their experience, ask questions, and explore all of your options. Check out their bios and drop-in hours below.  

Do you already feel like you know which term or program is for you? Visit our How to Apply page to review the application process.

Consider Your Priorities

There are many different ways to approach selecting the best program for you. To assist you in the selection process, answer the following questions. 

Do you want a program that will contribute to your expertise in your chosen major and/or career? If so, a program specific to your field would be your first priority. Such a program might include:

  • major/minor specific classes
  • an internship
  • a location that relates to your major.

Do you have a specific location in mind that fits your personal interests and/or major? If so, focus on location to help you narrow your search.

Do you know what type of program you are looking for? Here are some program components you might consider:

  • program size
  • classes with other international/U.S./local students
  • internship
  • cohort model
  • research/project options

Do you prefer to study abroad for a specific term?

  • J-Term/summer programs offer an intensive experience to fully immerse yourself in the course content for a short period of time.
  • Semester/year programs allow you to actually live in a new country and adapt to another culture while pursuing your academic and career goals.

Create Goals

Why do you want to study abroad? What do you hope to gain from the experience? 

Maybe you just know you want to see the world, or perhaps you have a specific program in mind that supports a career goal. Either way, take some time now to note some broad goals, and consider what is important to you. 

Goals and desired outcomes will change and develop throughout the study abroad process. Beginning to define them now will help shape your experience, and bring a more focused perspective as you consider different options and program types. 

Meet the Peer Advisors

Isabella Baumann '21

 

Zoom Advising Hours: 

Drop in for advising here.

Monday: 10am - 12pm

Wednesday: 6pm - 7pm

Friday: 10am - 12pm

Saturday: 1pm - 2pm

 

First Step Sessions: 

Weekly Tuesday or Thursday convo hour. See Events Calendar for deatils.

The week after the virtual Study Abroad Fair I will be holding extra sessions Monday 9/21 through Friday 9/25:  6pm - 7pm

 

 

Hi Everyone! My name is Isabella Baumann. I am a senior Neuroscience major. I am also an English and Psychology minor. On campus, you might know me through QSA or Neuroscience Club, for both of which I am the president.

I studied abroad my sophomore year (2018) with the Rome Empower Program. As a STEM major, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get the chance to study abroad. Thankfully, St. Thomas has programs for all majors, and with the Rome Empower program, I was able to stay on track to completing my major in 4 years. Taking a science class (especially Ochem of all classes) in another country was daunting, but the friends I made while there made it all worthwhile. Studying abroad definitely helped me develop time management skills so that I could get all my homework done without feeling as though I was missing out on a visiting the many sites Rome has to offer.

I also went on to study abroad during J-Term in Maui to study the Humpback Whales. It was an amazing experience to see these majestic creatures up close. I was worried that being there only for January that the experience wouldn’t be as fulfilling as it was when I went for a full semester. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. For some people studying abroad in January is a better option for them than a full semester. I can share my own experiences for those who may be on the fence whether to do a full semester or J-term to help them decide which is the right fit.

If you are interested in studying abroad, go for it! You never know what you can do until you do it. I would love to chat with you about your interest in studying abroad, explore your options, and answer any questions you may have. Come drop into my scheduled Zoom calls if you have the chance!